In 1883, Evgeny Lanceray, already ill with the tuberculosis that would eventually take his life, traveled to Tunisia both for his health and to make a close study of the local population. The trip proved to be especially productive for his work and he produced a number of sculptures of Northern African riders wearing the distinctive clothing of the region. This figure of a wealthy Arab merchant is actually taken from a larger composition usually entitled Arab Horse Games (see lot 50 in this sale); Lanceray assigned the new title when the figure was cast on its own. See G.W. Sudbury, Evgueni Alexandrovitch Lanceray, 1848-1886, Lausanne, 2006, pp. 23-24, 159-161.