Egyptian Street Scene

James David Smillie etched Frederick Arthur Bridgman’s painting of a Middle Eastern street scene Lady of Cairo Visiting for the American Art Review issue of June 1881. Commenting on the issue, the New York Times noted that Smillie had been “particularly happy in his drawing” of the donkey, which appears prominently in the print.
A catalogue raisonné of Smillie’s prints has estimated that about 10,000 impressions of this scene were made, primarily for use as art magazine illustrations. To produce such a large number of prints from a copper plate, a soft metal that deteriorates with use, the publishers would have had to face the copper by electroplating. In this process (known as “steel facing”), a thin layer of iron is deposited on the copper plate.
Frederick Arthur Bridgman (1847–1928) trained with Jean-Léon Gérôme in Paris and later was known as “the American Gérôme.” He made a number of trips from his Paris base to North Africa and Egypt to sketch and collect artifacts for his paintings of Egyptian and Algerian subjects.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
original artist
Bridgman, Frederick Arthur
graphic artist
Smillie, James David
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 19.5 cm x 16 cm; 7 11/16 in x 6 5/16 in
plate: 24 cm x 20 cm; 9 7/16 in x 7 7/8 in
sheet: 28 cm x 23.5 cm; 11 in x 9 1/4 in
Place Made
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Ferris Collection
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Ferris Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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