The Arab Blacksmith
British and French art audiences of the late nineteenth century appreciated subjects inspired by the nomadic Bedouins, such as those in Thomas Sheard's The Arab Blacksmith, c.1900. Images like this were seen to be related to a biblical past, as the costumes and lifestyles of the people depicted had not greatly changed since the time of Christ.
Little is known about Thomas Sheard, but it is possible that The Arab Blacksmith was painted at an oasis town in north-central Algeria, perhaps Bou Saâda. The blacksmith is shown repairing an item while two clients look on; one man lights a cigarette with an ember held in the blacksmith's pincers. Contemporary viewers would presumably have been drawn into making a comparison between the technologies being utilized in this scene, and the methods of production employed in the West.