The Wallace Collection

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The Turkish Patrol
  • Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps (1803 - 1860)
  • The Turkish Patrol
  • France
  • c. 1830
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 114.5 x 179 cm
  • Signature: 'DECAMPS.'
  • P307
  • Oriental Armoury
Further Reading
  • Decamps was one of the leading artists of Orientalist scenes, although he only visited the Middle East once, in 1828. Although his ambitions to be a history painter on a grand scale were never realised, many contemporary critics ranked him with Ingres and Delacroix among the foremost painters of his time. This painting, exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1831, was his first important painting with an Oriental subject. Nine men of a foot patrol are shown accompanying Cadji-Bey, the chief of police, on his round of Smyrna (now Izmir), the principal seaport of Asia Minor (see Decamps, 'The Anchorage of Smyrna', P353). There is an element of caricature in Decamps’s treatment of some of the figures, particularly the pompous Cadji-Bey. The critic Heinrich Heine wrote of the chief of police: 'His Impertinence on horseback, surrounded by dog-like, obedient followers, is an everyday spectacle ... we feel transported into the land of absolutism'.