The artist Lorna Selim painted this picture of a typical Baghdadi qasr — “castle” or “palace” — from sketches she made in the late Sixties when the Iraqis were busy tearing down their architectural heritage and beautiful old homes such as this were coming under the wrecker’s ball.
Lorna contacted us after reading “Memories” and said, from Violette’s description of her old family home and the map we produced, she was sure that this was indeed the building in question. We were so excited by her news we tried very hard to discover if it was the actual qasr. Sadly, of course, Violette is no longer with us but we have shown it around to the very few remaining members of the Shamash family who might be able to recognize it.
Well, the jury’s still out. We have had two negative replies and a few “don’t knows”; but so far not one positive ID. We very much wanted to include it in the new American edition of “Memories” which is being published in the United States this month (see previous post), but because of the uncertainty had to leave it out.
It’s too good not to share, though, so here it is. Let’s settle for calling it “a typical qasr of the day.”
If anyone can help identify it PLEASE let us know!