William James Müller, Luxor, a watercolour

Luxor, Egypt, AD 1839

The capitals of a colonnade shown above a dwelling place

William James Müller (1812-1845) was the son of a Prussian émigré from the Napoleonic Wars and his Bristol-born wife. At the age of fifteen he became apprenticed to J.B. Pyne, a follower of Turner. Like his contemporary David Roberts, he was a keen traveller and one of the first artists to accurately depict the monuments of the Near East.

Müller visited Luxor in Egypt in 1839, describing it as:

a grand subject; its temple and obelisk in its solitary loneness [thanks to the French who had removed the companion to the obelisk to the Place de la Concorde in Paris], the gigantic mutilated sphinxes on each side of the entrance, forms a number of objects in which the artist finds full occupation.

The colonnade seen here is from the temple erected by the Egyptian king Amenhotep III in the fourteenth century BC. In Müller's time the site was inhabited as a village and sand had covered half its original height.

Find in the collection online

More information


L. Stainton, British landscape watercolours (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)

F. Greenacre and S. Stoddard, W.J. Müller 1812-1845 (Bristol, Friends of Bristol Art Gallery for Bristol Museums and Art Gallery, 1991)

P. Conner, The Inspiration of Egypt: its (Brighton Borough Council, 1983)


Height: 276.000 mm
Width: 397.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1878-12-28-151


Bequeathed by John Henderson II


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore