With Giulio Rosati (for example Lot 1), Ettore Simonetti was one of several highly sought-after Roman Orientalist painters who worked together in the studios of the Via Margutta.
Although best known as a watercolourist, Simonetti was a highly accomplished oil painter, who created compositions from a mixture of photographs, props and his own imagination, often varying the same composition or executing the same composition in two different mediums. Indeed there exists a slighly smaller, but otherwise identical, watercolour of this painting (see C. Juler, Les orientalistes de l'école italienne, Paris, 1992, pp. 238-239).
Here Simonetti depicts the carpet merchant laying out his wares in front of an exotically dressed noble woman, while silk merchants ply their trade in the background.