The sketch for the present watercolour was begun near the end of Lear's trip along the Nile, as the date of 25 February attests. The day before, he had been at Karnac recording the architecture and surroundings. By contrast, here, Lear's interest is in capturing the Egyptian way of life. The present watercolour demonstrates the artist's enduring fascination with the 'magnificent river, with endless villages - hundreds & hundreds on its banks, all fringed with palms, & reflected in the water... [and the] boats which look like giant moths' . (V. Noakes, Letters of Edward Lear, London, p. 122).