Drawing on paper, tinted and coloured with watercolour paints. Depicts two veiled women customers conversing with a male turbanned tradesman selling spoons. A young assistant is in the background. Mounted in a pair in a cardboard frame.
This painting is one of a series of watercolours which depict scenes that are well known in nineteenth century Persian painting and commercial photography. Judging by the fashions worn by the painting’s subjects they were probably painted between 1850 and 1875, quite possibly for sale to tourists. This example shows a stall holder and his assistant selling wooden spoons. Two women wearing white ruband face veils over their chadors speak to the stall holder. Wooden spoons -often made of pear wood- can be found in the collections of several museums in the UK. The Horniman is no exception, our collection of beautifully caved sherbet spoons could well have passed through a stall like the one illustrated here. (See for example 1892c, 1982.451, 6.12.65/620, A167.1, A167.2 and A167.3) Comparable bazaar scenes are illustrated in Henry Ballantine’s ‘Midnight Marches Through Persia’ (1879). The most applicable plate is ‘A Persian Bazar, Ispahan [sic]’ (p162).