Lot 3
  • 3

Alfred Dehodencq

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Alfred Dehodencq
  • An Audience Outside the Kasbah Gate, Tangiers
  • signed Alfred Dehodencq lower right
  • oil on canvas
  • 96.5 by 131cm., 38 by 51½in.


Sir John Hay-Drummond-Hay (probably acquired from the artist. (Sir Hay-Drummond-Hay (1816 – 1893) was the British Consul-General to the Court of Morocco, 1845-1886); thence by descent to the present owner

Catalogue Note

In this rediscovered panoramic view, animated figures crowd around the Sultan's sage or fortune teller on the steps of the gate of the Kasbah in Tangiers. People of all ages and ethnicities variously stand, kneel, or sit before the wise man, pleadingly, to pay their respects, or in anticipation of the wisdom he is about to impart; a woman, hooded and engaging with the viewer from beneath her robes, is guided towards him by an escort; even a prisoner is manhandled, by two palace guards, to hear his fate or to be granted his last rites.  Dehodencq moved to Morocco by way of Spain in 1853, and settled there from 1854 until 1863, during which time he produced many of his most famous paintings of Moroccan life. All of them are distinguished by their intense colour palette and sense of dramatic movement, a reflection of his own restless, passionate nature and of the influence of his Romantic heroes Chateaubriand, Delacroix, Goya, and Velazquez. Dehodencq lived through a tumultuous time in Morocco, which further fired his artistic imagination: following the death of Sultan Mulai Abderrahmanin in 1859, Morocco went to war with Spain over Ceuta, a conflict which lasted until 1862 and resulted in social turmoil, a strengthening of the Sultans' grip on power, and the persecution and expulsion of Jews and Europeans. 

The present work, which belongs to this series, was probably acquired by its first owner, Sir John Hay-Drummond-Hay, while he was serving in Tangiers. It has remained in the Drummond-Hay family ever since. John Hay-Drummond-Hay’s father, Edward William Auriol Drummond-Hay, had been appointed Political Agent and Consul General in Morocco as early as 1829. Hay-Drummond-Hay joined the Political Service in 1840 as attaché in Constantinople, but in 1844, was invited to serve under his father largely because of his exceptional command of Arabic. He was appointed Consul-General of Morocco in 1845, a post he held until 1886.