The House of the British Consul, Damascus

Lady Louisa Mary Anne Tenison (1819 - 1882)

Watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour, on paper

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    In the grand reception room of a large house in Damascus three men are conversing. To the left of the composition, a seated man faces a kneeling woman, while sunlight streams in from windows to the right.

    This work relates to a plate titled ‘Great Room, House of H. B. M. [Her Britannic Majesty's] Consul, Damascus’, which was issued as part of a series of 30 lithographic ‘views of the most interesting scenes in Egypt, the Desert of Arabia Petrea [Arabia], Palestine, and Syria’, drawn by Lady Louisa Tenison. The series was published by Dickinson & Son of London in 1846, under the title ‘Sketches in the East’. They were made after Tenison’s drawings, executed during her visit to the East at the time Richard Wood was serving as British Consul General to Syria.

    This work was formerly part of an album of 26 watercolour views, all versions of plates in Tenison’s ‘Sketches in the East’, which were sold through Christie’s, London, in 1967 by an ancestor of politician and poet Francis Egerton, first Earl of Ellesmere. Other works from the album are now in the Paul Mellon Collection, USA and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

  • About the artist
    Lady Louisa Mary Anne Tenison was the daughter of politician Thomas Anson, first Earl of Lichfield. In 1838 she married Colonel Edward King Tenison (died 1878) of Kilronan Castle, county Roscommon. Her siblings included the second Earl of Lichfield, a politician; Lady Anne Elcho and Lady Vernon. In 1843 Tension and her husband visited Egypt, Syria and Palestine and a series of her topographical views, ‘Sketches in the East’, was published three years later. From 1850 to 1853 the couple toured Spain. Tenison’s resulting account, titled ‘Castile and Andalucia’ (1853) was illustrated by Tenison and Seville-based artist Egron Lundgren, ‘under the superintendence of… John F[rederick] Lewis’. Tenison died in Trieste, north eastern Italy, aged 63.
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  • Details
    The House of the British Consul, Damascus
    Watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour, on paper
    height: 30.30 cm, width: 25.70 cm
    Purchased from Sotheby's, 4 July 2001
    none visible
    Collection of politician and poet Francis Egerton [formerly Leveson-Gower], 1st Earl of Ellesmere (1800-1857); by descent; sold through Christie's, London, on 4 July 1967 (Lot 79; as part of 'Oriental Sketches', an album of 26 sketches), as by W. J. Muller; from which sale purchased by Agnew's Gallery, London; sold through Sotheby's, London, on 4 July 2001 (Lot 290), as by Thomas Allom; from which sale purchased by the Government Art Collection
    GAC number