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Royal Commonwealth Society : Portrait of Mr. Mercieca, a typical Maltese gentleman

Fisher, Alfred Hugh (1867-1945)

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>The British artist Alfred Hugh Fisher (1867-1945) was hired by the Colonial Office Visual Instruction Committee (COVIC) to produce a photographic record of the landscape and the people of the British Empire to be used as educational tool for schoolchildren. During his journey, from 1907 to 1910, he took and purchased more than 4,000 photographs and created 200 paintings. From these images COVIC produced a series of illustrated lectures and textbooks which were presented as geography lessons for schoolchildren. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> COVIC’s aim was to promote imperial awareness through photography. Fisher’s images depict the economic, cultural and social life in the British colonies. He was specifically instructed to photograph the native characteristics of the countries and of the people. This oil on board portrait corresponds to a photograph Fisher took during his visit in Malta. The title explains not only the reason why Mr. Mercieca is the subject of the portrait but also that he was specifically selected by the Government. Fisher was a talented artist and this painting portrays Mr. Mercieca in a noble and elegant pose. Although the work is unfinished, at the bottom the artist’s signature is visible, ‘A. Hugh Fisher’. </p>

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