This was the first British painting to show Islamic religious practice.The artist William Muller travelled to Egypt in the 1830s. On his return, he produced paintings from sketches made on his travels. This piece may represent a personal memory of halting on journeys for his Muslim companions to perform Salat, the ritual prayer. It is important as the first British painting to show Islamic religious practice, illustrating some of the postures adopted during Salat.
The painting has been given a new meaning through the stories which the Museum's Muslim visitors bring to the work in their own memories and responses:
"The first time I prayed in the desert, it was sunset. I was alone on top of a sand dune. The world felt empty, pure."
"I spent one year continuously visiting this painting. It instilled in me a certain spiritual comfort, that no matter what, no matter where, God is ready to hear you call."
We all bring new meanings and add new stories to works of art through our own experience and response.
This was the first British painting to show Islamic religious practice.