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Claudius James Rich (1786/1787–1821)

Photo credit: The Trustees of the British Museum

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A brilliant linguist, Rich joined the East India Company in 1804 and was appointed Resident at Baghdad in 1808. Here, in addition to his official duties, he collected coins, rare manuscripts and other material with the eventual aim of compiling a history of the area. He visited the site of Babylon on a number of occasions and published ‘Memoirs’ on the ruins. His account of time spent in Kurdistan was published in 1836.

British Museum





oil on canvas


H 76.5 x W 63.4 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from the sitter's widow, Mrs Mary Rich, 1825; on loan to the British Library, since 1990

Work type



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British Museum

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