In February 1909, on his second and last visit to Cairo, Albert Goodwin noted in his diary ‘Tried to get hold of some of the blue sky as seen behind the minarets and mosques of Sultan Hussan [sic]. How illusive that blue is, how difficult to get it and avoid the look of paint’. This watercolour is thought to date from Goodwin’s first visit to Egypt in 1876, with his second wife, Alice Desborough. It is one of a number of works that he painted of Cairo, inspired by the city’s architecture and evening light. A larger version of this work, perhaps made in the studio on his return, was exhibited in London at the Society of Painters in Water-colours in 1877, under the title ‘An Arabian Night’.
Albert Goodwin, oil and watercolour painter of landscapes, biblical and imaginative subjects, was the son of a builder. His elder brother, Harry, and younger brother, Frank, were also artists. Goodwin trained as a pupil of the painters Ford Madox Brown and Arthur Hughes. Brown introduced Goodwin to the art critic John Ruskin and Goodwin travelled to Italy with Ruskin and watercolour painter Arthur Severn in 1872. He later travelled widely, visiting India, Egypt and the South Seas, as well as Europe. The city of Venice became a major theme in his paintings. Goodwin was elected a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1881. He lived for much of his life in Arundel.
Sold through Bonhams, London, 'Watercolours and Drawings' sale, on 1 November 1978 (Lot 232); sold through Christie's, London, 'English Drawings and Watercolours' sale, on 27 July 1982 (Lot 140), for £1026; with Chris Beetles Gallery, London; collection of Stanley J. Seeger in 1986; sold through Sotheby's, London, on 14 June 2001 (Lot 96); from which sale purchased by the Government Art Collection
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