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John Phillip (1817-67)

The Letter-Writer of Seville Signed and dated 1854

RCIN 401188

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The scribe (escribáno) or letter-writer, sits with his back to the viewer, to show his embroidered jacket and flowing cape or manta, an essential part of male Spanish national costume. The costume, architectural details (such as the Moorish tower in the background), objects (for example the amphora) and character types (including the Catholic priest), all contribute to Phillip’s colourful and accurate portrayal of the local setting. Purchased by Prince Albert and given to Queen Victoria for Christmas, 1854