Westminster (Borough of)

London – Westminster (Borough of) – Wallace Collection (Arabs Travelling in the Desert by Horace Vernet)

There are some rather lovely colours in this artwork, painted by Horace Vernet (1789-1863) in 1843 and exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1844. I like thinking that this was displayed in Paris with thousands of people looking at it, crammed as the walls were at this arts festival.

The gallery’s version (copyright of the Wallace Collection) is much better. The painting was acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway (1800-1870) after it went on display in Paris, later being given to the nation by Lady Wallace in 1897. Vernet had the interesting claim to fame that he was born in the Louvre, where his parents were staying during the French Revolution. And he can also claim to be the first person to take photos of the island of Malta when he visited there in 1840, although, unfortunately, these appear to have been lost.