Frederick Goodall made his first trip to Egypt in 1858; his experiences there left him with such strong impressions that his work from then on was almost exclusively set in that country. His Arabian Encampment at the Wells of Moses at the Royal Academy of 1860 made him instantly famous. His large canvases sold for great sums, and even his sketches were coveted. When Goodall was unable to submit a finished work to the Royal Academy in 1869, Sir Francis Grant and Lord Leighton convinced the Academy to allow Goodall to show 50 of his oil sketches (painted 1858-9), all of which sold before the end of the exhibition. Goodall paid another visit to Egypt in 1869-1870, when he painted this picture in the district of the Grand Bazaar in Cairo. It depicts a quiet moment away from the bustle of the souk, sheltered from the fierce North African sun. Goodall knew the Egyptian photographs of Roger Fenton, which may have influenced the sharp shapes of the shadows in this painting.