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The Sotheby’s Orientalist Sale

Including works from the Najd Collection

March 30, 2021
15.00 (UK time)
Bidding: March 22 (15.00 UK time) – March 30 (03.00 UK time)

Sotheby’s New Bond Street, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA, UK


Egypt rather than Turkey, but the sale does include a sensational Edward Lear of the road to the Pyramids (Lot 25, est £700,000–1,000,000). As Briony Llewelly writes, ‘It is a highly original variation of the much-painted theme of the Pyramids. By taking a viewpoint at the end of the long avenue of thickly-foliaged acacia trees, planted in 1868, he created a startling composition.’

Lear himself wrote of the road in 1872, when he visited Cairo after abandoning a journey to Egypt. The avenue had been planted with Acacias four years earlier to celebrate the Empress Eugenie’s visit for the opening of the Suez Canal:

‘Nothing in all life is so amazingly interesting as this new road & avenue – literally all the way to the Pyramids… the effect of this causeway in the middle of wide waters is singular… & were one sure of quiet, there is much poetry in the scene, but it wants thought and arrangement.’


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Issue 62, 2021 Travellers’ Tales
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