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Watercolour - Mosquée De Sultan Hasan
  • Mosquée De Sultan Hasan
    Coste, Pascal-Xavier, born 1787 - died 1879
  • Enlarge image

Mosquée De Sultan Hasan

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (painted)
    Cairo (painted)

  • Date:

    1822 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Coste, Pascal-Xavier, born 1787 - died 1879 (painter)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil, pen and ink, wash and watercolour

  • 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 90, shelf 8

Physical description

On four of 143 sheets mounted on to 61 leaves of laid paper with watermark of a crowned lion rampant holding a sword, contained in a volume, quarter bound in green morocco, titled and dated (incorrectly) on the spine `Drawings of Old Cairo by P. Coste 1815.' Indentations in the paper and faint pencil lines indicate that compasses and rulers were used for several drawings.

Place of Origin

Egypt (painted)
Cairo (painted)


1822 (painted)


Coste, Pascal-Xavier, born 1787 - died 1879 (painter)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil, pen and ink, wash and watercolour

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed with title and Mosquée assam and Vue, de la grande cour, de la Fontaine des ablutions, et du Sanctuaire. and Vue du Vestibule. and [partly cut away] [...] du 28 avril 1822 Vue de la grande cour et du sanctuaire de la mosquée du Calif assam


Height: 58 cm size of covers, Width: 44.5 cm size of covers

Object history note

Probably in the possession of Robert Hay until 1863; then his son, who offered them to the British Museum; then on the art market, eventually bought by Rodney Searight at Christie's sale 6/5/1977 (207)

Historical context note

Compare plate XXV in Architecture Arabe ou Monuments du Kaire, 1837 and 1839.
While working for Muhammad Ali, Coste obtained permission to draw and measure Islamic monuments in Cairo (see Coste, Mémoires, 1878, pp.30-1). Many of his drawings are now in Marseilles (Bibliothèque Municipale) but SD.272:1-61 comprises a set almost certainly purchased by Robert Hay, probably in 1827 for 12,000 francs (see Coste, 1878, p.44). Hay's intention to publish these drawings led to protracted negotiations between himself, Coste, and E.W. Lane acting as intermediary, revealed in a series of letters from Lane to Hay (see Tillett, 1984, pp.43-5). Eventually communications between Coste and Hay broke down and Coste had his own set of the Cairo drawings engraved and published in Architecture Arabe ou Monuments du Kaire, 1837 (without text) and 1839 (with text). Although Hay's set of Coste's drawings were never published, they were consulted for Hay's own publication, Illustrations of Cairo, 1840 (see Pl.XIII and text, and Pl.XV) and for the illustrations, by William Harvey, for Lane's The Arabian Nights'Entertainments, 3 vols, 1839-41 (see Preface p.xxii). Hay retained Coste's drawings until his death in 1863 and in 1873 his son offered them to the BM (see Tillett, 1984, p.108 and correspondence in Searight Archive). Shortly afterwards they were bound in the present volume, in no apparent order. Their subsequent history until their appearance on the art market in 1977 is obscure. The plates in Coste's Architecture Arabe were engraved by Hibon (probably Auguste Hibon, 1780-1857) and E. Ollivier (probably Emile Edmond Ollivier 1800-1864) after his own versions of many of the drawings in SD.272:1-61. For fuller details see Searight Archive. (Many of the plates in Architecture Arabe are the source for plates in M.J. Marcel, Égypte Depuis La Conquète Des Arabes jusqu'a la domination Française, Paris, 1872.)
N. Pontal, 1983; S. Tillett, Egypt Itself: The Career of Robert Hay, Esquire of Linplum and Nunraw, 1799-1863, 1984; Searight Archive, including correspondence with Selwyn Tillett and Nadine Pontal.

Descriptive line

Watercolour, 'Mosquée De Sultan Hasan', 1822. Architectural drawing from an album of exterior and interior views, elevations, sections, details and plans of buildings in Cairo, for the artist's Architecture Arabe, ou Monuments du Kaire, Paris, 1837 & 1839. Pascal-Xavier Coste

Subjects depicted

Courtyards; Fountains; Mosques


Architecture; Historic Cairo


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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