Gallery of prints for sale

Monday 11 December 2023

Alexandre Bida’s drawing with watercolour, “Street Scene in Cairo”, before 1850

Alexandre Bida (1813–1895)—a French Orientalist and student of Eugène Delacroix who specialising in scenes of Egypt (as shown here), Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and Palestine, and his illustrations for “Les Saints Evangeles”, published in 1873 (see

“Street Scene in Cairo” before 1850; alternatively, “Commandant Brey in Cairo”, a drawing possibly portraying Ibrahim Bey (aka Abram Sinjikashvili; აბრამ სინჯიკაშვილი) (1735–1817), the Mamluk leader who fought against Napoleon Bonaparte (see at the “Battle of the Pyramids” (1798). or Murad Bey Mohammed (c.1750–1801) who was the commander of the cavalry during the “Battle of the Pyramids” and joint ruler of Egypt with Ibrahim Bey at the time (see

Note that the attribution of this drawing (with watercolour and gouache) to Alexandre Bida, along with the proposed date of its execution and alternative title are all based a faint pencil notation inscribed along the lower edge of the sheet: (be mindful that my reading of this text may have errors) “Alex Bida/ à M Bey Commandant du Cairo/ avant 1850” (“Alex Bida/ to M Bey Commander of Cairo/ before 1850”). Regarding the identity of the portrayed figure seated at left, the inscription, if I have read it correctly as “M Bey”, may be interpreted to be “Monsieur Bey”, but this reading does not seem likely to me (with apologies if I am wrong) as the word “Bey” is not usually a surname, but rather refers to the title of “chieftain”. Consequently, my research has centred on a leader in Cairo who was given the title of being a “Bey”. I would like to believe the most likely leader would be Murad Bey Mohammed which fits in with the inscription “M Bey”, but an extant image of this man suggests that this may not be the case. The historical fact that Bonaparte’s defeat of the “Bey” commanders in Cairo in 1798 suggests that this drawing may be an illustration rather than observation of a street scene, but I have no documentation to support this idea.

Pencil and watercolour with body colour (gouache) on heavy card with a pencil inscription (possibly not by the artist) at lower right.

Size: (sheet) 17 x 12.1 cm.

Condition: the sheet has been cleaned (a sun bath in water with no chemicals), but there are still faint dots and other marks but no tears, holes, folds or significant stains.

I am selling this very beautiful drawing of three figures accompanied by two dogs in a shady alcove on a street in Cairo in the early 19th century for AU$478 (currently US$319.50/EUR289.08/GBP254.47 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this treasure of a drawing by one of the major French Orientalists, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know your thoughts, advice about inaccuracies (including typos) and additional information that you would like to add to any post.