The Finding of Moses

SIR LAWRENCE ALMA -TADEMA (1836-1912) Biography

The Finding of Moses (England, 1904)

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Oil on canvas
Signed and inscribed with Opus CCCLXXV11


137.70cm high
213.40cm wide
(54.21 inches high)
(84.02 inches wide)
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Sir John Aird (who commissioned the painting in 1902)
Christie's, 3rd May 1935, lot 34, sold to Gooden & Fox
Sir Jeremiah Colman (by 1935)
Christie's, 18th Sept. 1942, lot 55
F.W.Reeves, Bearnett House, Wolverhampton
Christie's, 2nd Dec. 1960, lot 86
Ira Spanierman, New York, 1967
Alan Funt (to 1973), his sale Sotheby's Belgravia, lot 31


Percy Cross Standing, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A., London, 1905, pages 51, 110-113
Rudolf Dircks, The Later Works by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A.,
The Art Journal,Special Christmas Issue, 1010, pages 8 and 32
Clutton Brock, Alma-Tadema, The Burlington Magazine, February 1913, pages 285-286
Jerry E Patterson, The Norman Rockwell of the Pagans or The Return of Alma-Tadema: The Candid Cameraman Collects, Auction, 1971, pages 40-42 illustrated
Vern Swanson, Alma-Tadema, The painter of the Victorian Vision of the ancient World, Ashe & Grant Ltd, London 1977, pages 29 and 43.

Exhibition History

Royal Academy, 1905, no 212
Royal Academy, Winter Exhibition, Works by the late Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, 1913, no 115
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, March\April 1973, no 31

Description / Expertise

Alma-Tadema travelled to Egypt in 1902 as guest of Sir John Aird to attend the opening of the Aswan Dam, which Aird's company had just built. Winston Churchill was another member of the party. Sir John commissioned the picture for £5,250. Alma-Tadema worked on the canvas for two years until, as Standing describes it (pp.110-113), his wife finally pointed out to him that the infant Moses was Two years old, and need no longer be carried! The hieroglyph on the statue base on the left reads: Beloved of Ra, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, and those on the vase platforms (right and centre): The King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Ramases II, and those on the seat of her litter: Life and Dominion.

Many of the Egyptian motifs are found in Alma Tadema's sketchbooks of earlier years.