Ellis, Tristram James (1844-1922)
Inscribed: Cyprus 1879
Tristram Ellis was a professional artist who came to Cyprus in 1878 and stayed for a few months with the aim of portraying the new British acquisition for the British public. He published a book titled Twelve Etchings of the Principal Views and Places of Interest in Cyprus (1879). While on the island, he executed more than eighty watercolours of Cyprus which he then exhibited at the Belgian Gallery in London. In the panoramic watercolour of the walls of Nicosia in which a string of camels plods away from the city and a mounted British officer supervises work in the arid land outside the walls, the artist is primarily concerned with atmospheric effects. A couple of simple huts and the minaret are the only buildings visible inside the fortifications while the city walls recede towards the distant mountain range of Kyrenia. The use of colours is limited, giving greater emphasis to the light. Pink and blue tints pick out features and bright expanses of wash for the mountains accentuate their uneven height with the five finger peaks dominating the centre. The foreground is dusty, the stillness suggesting a dazzling hot day in the desert. The British officer as the colonial master, a few local workmen, the ancient walls and bastion, place the painting in an imperial context and within the sequence of successive colonizations of Cyprus by the Venetians, the Ottomans and the British. The scene is bathed in the colours often found in orientalist paintings with shades of mauve being predominant in the horizon. The contrast of this colour with the dry earth colour of the moat is most successful.
32 x 70 cm
Signed: Tristram Ellis
Landscapes, Architecture, Architecture, Medieval, Fortifications, Animals, Carriages And Carts, Religious Institutions--Buildings, Camel Caravans, Moats, Colonies--Administration
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