OIL PAINTING: The Arab Tent, 1866
Although not dated, The Arab Tent was no doubt painted shortly before it was shown at the 1866 Royal Academy exhibition. It shows an arab mare and her foal resting on an eastern carpet with two greyhounds whose sleek and graceful heads wittily echo the heads of the horses. At the top of the composition two monkeys, including one wearing an ear-ring and clutching an orange, lie among palm fronds. The pipes in the turquoise jar and the smoking brazier suggest that the animals' owner is not far away. The painting is unusual among Landseer's works in showing an oriental scene. The precise nationality of the tent and its occupants, however, has been the subject of some confusion. The picture was first exhibited as Mare and Foal - Indian Tent, but it was soon called The Arab Tent and none of the objects shown in it seems to be Indian.