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ID number:  BIRRC-A0427
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  The Campus Collection of Fine and Decorative Art
Artist / Maker:  Unknown
Title / Object name:  Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun Moorish Ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I
Object type:  Painting
Culture:  English, Early 17th century
Date made:  1600
Materials:  Oil on oak panel
Measurements:  113 x 87.6 cm
BIRRC-A0427.jpg

The portrait is of Abd el-Ouahed ben Messasud ben Mohammed Anoun, Secretary and Ambassador for Muley Hamet, King of Barbary, to Queen Elizabeth, 1600. This portrait commemorates the visit of the King of Fez’s embassy to London in 1600-1. The Embassy took place a year or so before the agreed date of 'Othello' and the painting, as Bernard Harris says, provides 'ocular proof of what the Elizabethans saw as a Moor of rank'. Although it would be mere speculation to say that Shakespeare based his character on the Moorish visitor it may be assumed that at least a London audience of that day would expect to see a real Barbarian on their stage.

Inscriptions / Translations:  The inscriptions to the left indicate the date of the visit, the name of the sitter and his age, while his title is given to the right. Inscribed '1600 ABDULGUAHID. LEGATUS REGIS BARBARIAE IN ANGLIAM. AETATIS: 42'

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