England 1827 – England 1886
Australia 1834-1857, 1884-1886

A Sheikh and his son entering Cairo, on their return from a pilgrimage to Mecca 1874
oil on canvas
139.3 (h) x 244.5 (w) cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne , Presented by a committee of gentlemen 1878

A sheikh and his son entering Cairo was the largest and most ambitious of Dowling’s Orientalist works and the most important work in this genre in Australian art. With the procession of camels and horses, the sheikh, his attendants, musicians and harem women, it makes an exotic public spectacle—one the artist would have witnessed. Dowling also carefully depicts the architecture of that great city of the then Ottoman Empire.