Lot 111
  • 111

Georg Wilhelm Timm

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Georg Wilhelm Timm
  • The Scribe
  • signed in Latin l.r.
  • oil on canvas
  • 64.2 by 55.5cm, 25 1/4 by 21 3/4 in.


Structural Condition The canvas is unlined and is securely attached to what certainly appears to be the original, four member, keyed wooden stretcher. There are two repairs visible in the lower centre of the canvas as viewed from the reverse. There is some slight undulation in the upper left and the canvas requires retensioning. There are six stretcher keys in place and a further two keys are missing and should be replaced. Paint surface The paint surface has a relatively even varnish layer. The canvas weave is quite prominent in some areas, most notably within the upper part of the male figure and within the background. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows some varnish residue in some areas as the painting appears to have been selectively cleaned in the past. Inspection under ultra-violet light also shows some areas of inpainting, the most significant of which are: 1) a long thin line of retouching running from the lower right corner of the composition through the seated girl's green dress, up through the figure of the veiled woman to the upper horizontal framing edge, 2) two further areas that correspond to the two repairs mentioned above, 3) a thin horizontal line running through the seated girl's right foot, and 4) further spots and lines within the run. There are other further spots and lines to the background. Summary The painting therefore appears to be in reasonably good and stable condition and would benefit from cleaning, restoration and revarnishing including retensioning the canvas and the replacement of missing stretcher keys.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

In April 1845, Timm travelled from Paris to Algiers with his teacher, Horace Vernet (1789-1863), on what was to be an influential voyage for both artists. Timm completed numerous landscape, ethnographic and character studies which formed the basis of a series of paintings which the artist completed on his return to France in June 1845, that includes Algerian Woman Teaching a Child to Walk (The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow) . These charming scenes of everyday life in North Africa mark a crucial departure from Timm’s usual repertoire of formal portraiture and battle scenes and demonstrate the artist’s eye for detail and composition.


In the offered work Timm has assembled an exotic still life of typical Ottoman artefacts, would have intrigued and excited a European viewer, such as the silver pen box and inkwell, or divit, which has been placed on top of a beautiful octagonal table with inlaid ivory. Behind the scribe, an Ottoman firman, a royal decree, is attached to the wall adorned with the gold Imperial cypher of the Sultan.