Like many late nineteenth century American painters, George Henry Hall explored romantic themes in his works by seeking exotic subject matter abroad. In 1875 Hall spent the year travelling in Palestine and Egypt, where he sketched and painted celebrated sites and picturesque cities of the ancient Near East.
In a Rug Bazaar, Cairo reveals the artist's mastery of detail and his fascination with the forms, colors and textures of Cairo's market quarter. Hall's attention to detail was the result of the training that he received in Düsseldorf in 1849 as well as his interest in accurate depiction of his subjects. In a Rug Bazaar, Cairo evokes the romanticism and exoticism sought by both European and American orientalist painters.