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watercolour drawing - Portrait of Mehmet Ali Pasha
  • Portrait of Mehmet Ali Pasha
    Lewis, John Frederick RA POWCS, born 1804 - died 1876
  • Enlarge image

Portrait of Mehmet Ali Pasha

  • Object:

    watercolour drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Cairo (Painted)

  • Date:

    1844 (Painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lewis, John Frederick RA POWCS, born 1804 - died 1876 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and watercolour

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of Mrs Elliott-Lockhard and Mr K G Whigham

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 74, box R

Muhammad Ali Pasha, an Albanian Muslim, known as Mehmet Ali by Turks and Albanians, was Governor of Egypt, theoretically owing allegiance to the Turkish Sultan, but in fact ruling, and ruthlessly modernising the country as an autocrat. He had treacherously slaughtered the leading Mamluks, the previous rulers, in 1811. David Wilkie was commissioned by Mehmet Ali to paint his portrait, and Lewis also sketched him and members of his family. Lord Elphinstone, Governor of Madras, mentions this portrait in a letter to Lewis’s brother Frederick Christian in Mysore, dated 24 September 1845. “...I had again the pleasure of seeing your elder brother on my way out last winter. He was living in the most Ottoman quarter of Cairo – in a house which might supply materials for half the Oriental Annuals and manuals of Eastern architecture that appear in London & Paris. He showed me a very spirited sketch of Mehemet Ali – the best, & in fact, the only good likeness I have seen, & I saw it within a quarter of an hour of leaving the original. …’

Physical description

Watercolour drawing

Place of Origin

Cairo (Painted)


1844 (Painted)


Lewis, John Frederick RA POWCS, born 1804 - died 1876 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil and watercolour


Height: 104 cm from catalogue, Width: 95 cm from catalogue, Height: 1154 mm plain wood frame, Width: 1044 mm plain wood frame, Depth: 35 mm plain wood frame

Object history note

This is probably the drawing that was No. 86 in the sale of the remaining works of J F Lewis at Christies on May 4-5th 1877.

Descriptive line

Portrait of Mehmet Ali Pasha, watercolour drawing by John Frederick Lewis 1804-1876

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

Taken from Departmental Circulation Register 1930

Labels and date

John Frederick Lewis 1804/5-1876
Portrait of Muhammad Ali Pasha
About 1841

Muhammad Ali was an Albanian Muslim who became governor of Egypt in 1811. His vision and energy were remarkable, and he became more powerful than his nominal sovereign, the Ottoman sultan. In 1841 he accepted the authority of the sultan and in return was recognised as the hereditary ruler of Egypt.

Pencil and watercolour

Given by Mrs Eliot-Lockhart and K. G. Whigham 1930
Museum no. Circ.16-1930 []




Watercolour drawing




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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