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Watercolour - Tlos
  • Tlos
    Müller, William James, born 1812 - died 1845
  • Enlarge image


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Turkey (painted)

  • Date:

    1844 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Müller, William James, born 1812 - died 1845 (painter)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour over pencil

  • 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 2

Muller pursued an active career as a painter of landscapes and genre subjects, but his ambitions were cut short by his early death. While he achieved fame as a rapid and fluent watercolour sketcher, he was disappointed by his failure to find recognition as an oil painter. He travelled to the Near East twice in search of new and exotic subjects, first to Egypt in 1838-39, and later, in 1843-44, to south-west Turkey, where he drew the people, the scenery and the ancient remains of Lycia.

In this watercolour Muller has focused on the Roman arches on the eastern face of the rocky crag occupied by the acropolis of the Lycian city of Tlos. The ruins are seen as part of the rugged mountain scenery, which he has depicted with subtly varying tints of earthy colours applied with broad sweeps of his brush, leaving areas of white paper to convey the transparent elements of light and air.

Physical description

Watercolour drawing

Place of Origin

Turkey (painted)


1844 (painted)


Müller, William James, born 1812 - died 1845 (painter)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour over pencil

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed with title, dated and signed with initials Janr. 8. 1844. WM


Height: 32.2 cm, Width: 53.5 cm

Object history note

According to Rodney Searight: - `Bt. from Prue Heathcote-Williams, March 1975 £250.'

Historical context note

In early January 1844, Müller and Johnson spent several days sketching at Tlos, an ancient Lycian city up river from Xanthus: see N. N. Solly, Memoir of the Life of William James Müller, 1875, pp.210-11; Art-Union, August 1844, pp.209-11; and Searight Archive. The Roman arches occupy the eastern face of the acropolis rock. Müller's Lycian sketches were shown at a Graphic Society exhibition at the Thatched House, London, 1844. Other extant watercolours from Müller's Lycian trip, including several of Tlos, are in the BM, PD (see L. Binyon, Catalogue of Drawings by British Artists..., Vol.III, 1902), the Tate Gallery and the City Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol. For the Lycian ruins see G.E. Bean, Lycian Turkey, 1978.

Descriptive line

Watercolour, `Tlos', 1844, by William James Müller

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


Pencil; Watercolour


Watercolour; Watercolour drawing

Subjects depicted

Vomitory; Citadel




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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