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Watercolour - A Tomb in Lycia, Turkey
  • A Tomb in Lycia, Turkey
    Gandy, John Peter, born 1787 - died 1850
  • Enlarge image

A Tomb in Lycia, Turkey

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Lycia (painted)

  • Date:

    1812 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gandy, John Peter, born 1787 - died 1850 (painter)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour, over pencil, on stiff paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, Shell International and the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case 89, shelf SCX, box 9

Gandy was an architect and drafts man. In 1811-1813 he took part in an expedition led by Sir William Gell, on behalf of the Society of Dilettanti, that investigated and drew antiquities in Greece and south-west Turkey, including Lycia. A large number of drawings from that trip are in the collections of the RIBA. The watercolour shown here was possibly done after that trip, but it has not yet been possible to identify the tomb, despite the distinctive relief on the side. Some commentators believe it may have been destroyed, or that Gandy may have even concocted the tomb from various sources, and placed it in a suitably picturesque setting.

However, the background of cliffs and the towering reeds by the shore of a freshwater lake are reminiscent of fertile places and archaeological sites like modern Dalyan and Caunos. The abundance of small details such as the brown pebbles on the roof of the tomb, the remaining cut stems of the reeds near the feet of the Turk with the billhook, and the almost readable carved inscription on the tomb, imply that if Gandy did invent or conflate real things in his imagination, he was extremely good at it. From this drawing it would be perfectly possible to build a replica of the tomb. In a sense, in some cases that was done, for details of sculpture and construction were borrowed from Lycian monuments and freely used in British neo-classical architecture.

Physical description

Watercolour drawing

Place of Origin

Lycia (painted)


1812 (painted)


Gandy, John Peter, born 1787 - died 1850 (painter)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour, over pencil, on stiff paper

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed on old paper mount J.P.Gandy.


Height: 14.1 cm from catalogue, Width: 25.3 cm

Object history note

According to Rodney Searight: - `Bt fr G.Hulme, Sept.1961 £1'.

Historical context note

SD.412 and 413 were made during (or after) Gandy's Dilettanti Society trip when, in Summer/Autumn 1812, he and Francis O. Bedford investigated and drew antiquities in Lycia, including Myra (Demre) and Antiphellus (Kas). Cf. in the RIBA, a large group of drawings by Gandy and Bedford from the expedition, many published by the Society of Dilettanti in The Unedited Antiquities of Attica, 1817, Antiquities of Ionia, Vol.III, 1840, and (W.R. Lethaby ed.), Antiquities of Ionia, Vol.V, 1915.

Descriptive line

Watercolour, A Tomb in Lycia, Turkey, 1812, by John Peter Gandy (afterwards Deering) RA

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Searight, Rodney and Scarce, Jennifer M., A Middle Eastern journey : artists on their travels from the collection of Rodney Searight, Talbot Rice Art Centre, 1980
Searight, Rodney. The Middle East : watercolours and drawings by British and foreign artists and travellers, 1750-1900, from the collection of Rodney Searight, Esq. London, 1971


Watercolour; Pencil; Paper; Watercolour


Watercolour drawing

Subjects depicted





Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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