Moroccan State Trumpeters, 1864


This original gouache painting of 1864 is by the celebrated British artist, Sir John Gilbert (1817–97). It originally was thought to depict Moroccan state trumpeters, but many of Gilbert’s paintings are indistinct in terms of time and place and their exact subjects difficult to determine. Gilbert never traveled beyond Europe, but like many Victorian painters he was attracted to exoticism and to tales from Arabia, such as the story of Aladdin, and this piece reflects this interest in the exotic. One of the most prolific painters of his time, Gilbert was best known as an illustrator of Shakespeare, Scott, and contemporary writers such as Wilkie Collins and Dickens. He produced illustrations for the Illustrated London News and exhibited watercolors, oils, and other media at the Society of British Artists and the Royal Academy. The painting is from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection at the Brown University Library.

Last updated: April 1, 2015