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Robert Hawthorn Kitson
The Market, Kairouan, Tunisia

The Painting
A watercolour measuring 8” x 15¼”. Signed with initials RH.K and dated [19]20. Provenance: by family descent (label verso). Further label verso: E.J. Mather, Artistic Picture Framing, 6 Cornfield Rd, Eastbourne.

About the Artist
Robert Hawthorn Kitson (1873-1947) was the son of J.H. Kitson of Elmet Hall, Roundhay, Leeds. The Kitson family business was locomotive engineering, but Robert chose to become an artist, painting mainly in watercolour. He exhibited regularly at the Leeds Fine Arts Club, the Royal Academy and the Society of British Artists. He was a pupil and friend of Sir Alfred East, who dedicated his book The Art of Landscape Painting in Oil Colour to him in 1906. It was through East that Kitson met Sir Frank Brangwyn and became his friend and patron. Kitson moved to Sicily for health reasons, where he designed his own villa, Casa Cuseni in Taormina. He was forced to abandon the villa during the Second World War but returned there shortly before his death in 1947. His sketchbooks and papers are held at Leeds University Library.

The Subject
The Market, Kairouan, Tunisia. The city of Kairouan in Tunisia is considered by many to be the fourth holiest city in Islam after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. It was founded in 670 and became a great centre of Islamic civilization and scholarship in the 9th century. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The market place (souk) is in the medina quarter (the old city) surrounded by walls. Kitson had a house in Kairouan for a period, as evidenced by sketches from his house in the Leeds University Library.

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