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Drawing - Head of a Camel
  • Head of a Camel
    Walton, Elijah, born 1832 - died 1880
  • Enlarge image

Head of a Camel

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (drawn)

  • Date:

    1864 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Walton, Elijah, born 1832 - died 1880 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Black chalk, on pale green 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 8

“The sight of the camel made me pine again for Asia Minor…” sighed Lord Byron, recording in his journal a visit to the Exeter Change menagerie in the Strand. This enigmatic animal has been the symbol of only the desert lands to many in Northern Europe, although Byron knew better. In fact it was a common sight in most of the Ottoman dominions. As well as being the main beast of burden in the caravans, the nomads relied on it to transport their goods and tents between their summer and winter pastures. This is a portrait of the single-humped dromedary, whereas the larger two-humped Bactrian camel was native to Central Asia.

Elijah Walton had begun as a painter of romantic alpine landscapes, but after visits to Egypt in the early 1860s, he developed a special interest in the camel. As well as making many drawings and watercolours of Egypt’s people and landscape, he spent time in 1863-1864 in a Bedouin encampment near Cairo, studying the camel’s habits and anatomy. The following year he published his drawings in The Camel: its Anatomy, Proportion and Paces, comparable in its detail to Stubbs’s Anatomy of the Horse, of almost exactly a century earlier. Here he shows in affectionate detail the furry head of a young camel, with its long eyelashes which protect the eyes by keeping out the wind-blown sand.

Physical description


Place of Origin

Egypt (drawn)


1864 (drawn)


Walton, Elijah, born 1832 - died 1880 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Black chalk, on pale green paper

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed and dated The Tents Gebel El Checkop[?] W. Cairo Feby. 20th. 1864.


Height: 22.4 cm, Width: 29.5 cm

Object history note

According to Rodney Searight: - `Bt fr Abbott & Holder, Oct.1967, £4 '.

Descriptive line

Drawing, Head of a Camel, 1864, by Elijah Walton

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

Conner, Patrick (ed). The Inspiration of Egypt : its influence on British artists, travellers, and designers, 1700-1900 . Brighton Borough Council, Brighton, 1983


Black chalk; Paper



Subjects depicted





Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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