Francis Place (1647-1728)

Zaffia in Barbaria

Francis Place

This is a view of Safi, southwest of Casablanca in western Morocco. The sixteenth century fortress built by the Portugese dominates the town.

Another drawing of this town from a slightly different aspect by Jan Peeters (1624-78) (View of Zaffia in Barbary c.1665, pen, brown ink and grey wash, on paper) also belonged to Sir Bruce Ingram and is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum (PD.587-1963).

Place was the earliest English artist whose main preoccupation was with landscape. He travelled on foot through Yorkshire, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France, and was thus a forerunner of the sketching tours of artists a hundred years later. He knew Wenceslas Hollar (1607-1677), whose topographical work influenced his style and who accompanied an expedition to Tangier in 1669 to make records of the area. Place also worked as a book illustrator, pioneer of mezzotint and experimental potter (see E. Croft-Murray and P. Hulton, Catalogue of British Drawings, vol. I, British Museum, 1960 pp. 456-470).

This drawing is recorded on page 10 of the Drawings Notebook at Hospitalfield House, Arbroath which was compiled by Wadham Wyndham, the artist’s son-in-law.

Inscribed l.c.: Zaffia in Barbaria, pen and brown ink and wash on laid paper, collector’s mark on old backing

23.1 x 33.7 cm; 9 1/8 x 13 1/4 inches

Anna Place, the artist’s widow until 1732;
Frances Wyndham, the artist’s daughter;
Her nephew Francis Parrott;
By family descent to Francis Parrott Jr;
His sister Elizabeth, widow of Captain John Fraser of Hospitalfield, Arbroath;
Her daughter Elizabeth and Patrick Allan-Fraser;
His sale, Sotheby’s,  June 1931, lot 133;
Sir Bruce Ingram, (Lugt, 1405a);
R.E.S. Willison;
Sotheby’s London, 19 November 1987, lot 85;
Michael and Justina Ryan until 2019