Menpes published several illustrated travel books, and held regular exhibitions in London. This picture, painted on a trip to Burma in 1890, was included in his 1891 exhibition at the Dowdeswell Galleries of 121 paintings from his travels. The private view was attended by rank and fashion, from Oscar Wilde to royalty, and was so crowded and stuffy that the papers were reduced to commenting on the visitors and not the paintings: ‘Everyone was there, nothing was seen, and everything was sold’, commented the Pall Mall Gazette (20 April 1891). The galleries were draped with soft pale green silk, the floor had a white carpet, and light was diffused by an awning suspended from the ceiling. The pictures were hung in patterns: ‘the usual rectangular arrangement is done away with... and they are hung in groups that rise and fall obliquely upon the walls’ (Glasgow Herald, 1891). The frames (including this one) were made in Japan, then gilded in London in different tints of gold, green, yellow, or red to suit.
London, Royal Geographical Society, July 1890
London, Dowdeswell Galleries, Paintings, Drawings, Etchings and Diamond Points on Ivory of India, Burma and Cashmere , 18 April-23 May 1891, no.115
Adelaide, Art Gallery of South Australia, 14 June - 7 September 2014