- Marjorie Bassett bequest, 1964
- Oil on canvas
- 1470 x 1120 x 75mm
The model for this work was a busker who performed in Cathedral Square, Christchurch. Aware of the Victorian interest in Orientalism, Petrus van der Velden felt the man had a Near Eastern look to him. His costume and the use of sombre tones give him an appropriate air of exoticism. Van der Velden was struggling financially when this work was painted and the creases in the work are from where he had had a sail maker stitch two old canvases together. Born in Rotterdam, Van der Velden established himself as a painter, particularly of marine subjects, in Holland. In 1890 he and his wife emigrated to Christchurch and the following year he began the series of works based on the Otira Gorge region for which he is so well known. Van der Velden struggled to make a living in Christchurch, however, and went to Sydney in 1898. He returned to settle in Wellington in 1904 but died in Auckland.