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This young woman in theatrical pose was identified as 'The Beautiful Greek' in a print by G. F. Schmidt of 1736. Schmidt also engraved a pendant of a man in Eastern dress called 'The Amorous Turk'. Interest in the East intensified in France after the visit of Mehemet-Effendi, the Ottoman ambassador, to Paris in 1721. 'The Beautiful Greek' may be seen as a ‘role picture’, showing a theatrical character enacting a familiar part. Such subjects had been popularised in print since the sixteenth century in France, and first appeared in painting in the work of Watteau, to whom the present picture was attributed in the Hertford House inventory of 1871.

The Wallace Collection



The Beautiful Greek (La belle grecque)




oil on canvas


H 68 x W 51.1 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, at an unknown date; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

Work type



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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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