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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 (escribano) or letter-writer of the title sits with his back to the viewer, the better to display his embroidered jacket and flowing cape or manta, an essential part of male Spanish national costume. Costume, architectural detail (such as the Moorish tower in the background), accessories (such as the amphora) and character types (including the Catholic priest) all contribute to Phillips’s colourful and accurate re-creation of the local setting. Purchased by Prince Albert and given to Queen Victoria for Christmas in 1854