'As in Evening on the Housetop, Tangier (lot 58), Lavery returns to a familar scheme in the depiction of The Moorish Flag, Hoisted on the German Legation, Tangier. A small upright view of the souk from the roof of the Hotel Continental, produced on his first visit to Tangier in 1891 provides the first example of works of this type. The composition in The Moorish Flag, Hoisted on the German Legation, Tangier, is almost identical to The Market Place, Tangier, Lavery's most important Moroccan scene shown at his exhibition at the Goupil Gallery (Marchant & Co.) in 1908 (no.43) and illustrated in The Art Journal (1908, p.233). A.C.R. Carter's rich description of this work could equally be applied to the present example. 'In a swirl of movement and life' he wrote, 'the crowd lives and breathes in the foreground and middle distance against a noble and reposeful foil of buildings on the rising hill, whilst beyond stretches the belt of cool blue sea' (The Art Journal, 1908, pp.234-6).
A further view of the market place, probably painted on the same day in 1920, from the same vantage point, turning a little to the right, exists. This second canvas is less finished than the present example. Few of the Tangier market scenes are more coloured than this celebratory canvas depicting the military parade and the closure of the German Legation after the Great War. The reds of the uniforms of the guard of honour, matched with that of the flag, are echoed in rooftops and other bright notes of colour across the canvas.
The Laverys had returned to Tangier in January 1920 as part of an extensive Moroccan tour which took them to Fez, Marrakesh, Rabat and Casablanca, during which they attended the wedding of the painter's former model, Mary Auras, to Nigel d'Albini Black-Hawkins. They did not return to London until the end of May. As ever, Lavery was an opportunist. Throughout his career he sought out and reported upon great public occasions. He delighted in parades, festivals and grand spectacles. The hoisting of the Moorish Flag, shortly after his arrival in Tangier, on 15 January 1920, with its associated celebration of the end of the war, brought added colour to the market place and instantly rekindled his fascination for the scene'.
(Kenneth McConkey, private correspondence, 1999).