Ludwig Deutsch's Palace Guard achieves $1.4m at Sotheby's

Ludwig Deutsch's The Palace Guard has realised £989,000 ($1.4m) in an auction of Orientalist art at Sotheby's London.

An Austrian-born painter who spent most of his life in Paris, Deutsch was a fervent devotee of Orientalism - a popular offshoot of the romantic movement. It swept through Europe during the 19th century.

Palace Guard Deutsch
The Palace Guard dates to 1893

The present lot dates to 1893 and depicts a Nubian palace guard in an extraordinary level of detail.

Sotheby's commented prior to the sale: "Although little is known of the artist's working methods, it is likely that only the use of a magnifying glass would have allowed the artist to achieve the extremely fine level of detail visible in the present work, with every link in the figure's chainmail individually rendered…

"Deutsch's Egyptian subjects met with huge critical acclaim: in 1900 Deutsch was awarded a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle, and later the Chevalier de la Legion."

Fausto Zonaro's Bayram (the Celebration) proved another highlight, achieving £941,000 ($1.4m) - an increase of 109.1% on a £450,000 ($676,174) estimate.

Zonaro Bayram
Fausto Zonaro witnessed this scene firsthand

Zonaro was inspired by a Bayram (street festival) he had witnessed in Istanbul. He wrote: "Bringing together all the materials that I could, I start on a painting on the subject of Bayram.

"The drum is coming, and behind it the renowned Armenian who expertly plays the zurna. The dance begins and the young men link arms and arrange themselves in rows waiting for the beat of the drum.

"And then slowly, their movement becomes more exuberant, they get faster, with tiny steps the tiny swaying movements begin."

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