Rare original gouache on paper by famous painter-traveller of Italian origin Luigi Mayer ( 1755 - 1803), it was executed in the late 18th century and depicts scene with Arabs or Ottomans by the ancient monument nearby port town Tortosa (now Tartus) on the Mediterranean coast of Syria ( in that time the part of the Ottoman Empire). Under the image written by the author in Italian (here is English translate): „ancient monument of solid construction formed by large sandstones existing in the vicinity of Tortosa on the mainland in the coast of Soria“. Soria is here one of names of Syria (in Kurdish "Soryan" is a possible derivative name).
This monument was a part of Amrit, the ancient Phoenician port in 7 km. from Tortosa / Tartus (now only ruins are preserved). This is typical original gouache by Luigi Mayer from his travels around Ottoman Empire. In 1810 in London was published the work after after this gouaches under title „ VIEWS IN THE OTTOMAN DOMINIONS, IN EUROPE, IN ASIA, AND SOME OF THE MEDITERRANEAN ISLANDS, FROM THE ORIGINAL DRAWINGS TAKEN FOR SIR ROBERT AINSLIE, BY LUIGI MAYER“.
On our additional photo you can see a print from this work after our original gouache (source: www.art.com).
The author Luigi Mayer (1755 Italy-1803 London ) was an Italian-German artist and one of the most important late 18th-century European painters of the Ottoman Empire.
Mayer was a close friend of Sir Robert Ainslie, 1st Baronet, a British ambassador to Turkey between 1776 and 1792, and the bulk of his paintings and drawings during this period were commissioned by Ainslie. He travelled extensively through the Ottoman Empire between 1776 and 1794, and became well known for his sketches and paintings of panoramic landscapes of ancient sites from the Balkans to the Greek Islands, Turkey and Egypt, particularly ancient monuments and the Nile. Many of the works were amassed in Ainslie´s collection, which was later presented to the British Museum, providing a valuable insight into the Middle East of that period.
Views in Turkey in Europe and Asia (from 1801), by Sir Robert Ainslie, was a multi-volume work based on Mayer´s drawings. There were plates engraved by William Watts. Thomas Milton was involved, producing aquatints of Egyptian views (from English Wikipedia).
Literature: Artist lexicons by Bénézit (in French), Comanducci (in Italian), Thieme/Becker and Fuchs ( (both in German).
Inscription: inscribed in Italian under the image.
Technique: gouache on paper, slightly mounted on old paper base. Antique gilt frame.
Measurements: gouache w 13 1/3" x h 11" (34 x 28 cm); matted and framed w 17 1/3" x h 15" (44 x 38 cm).