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Selected illustrations of Ottomans circa 1809 from

Stratford Canning's Pictures of Turkey

A Solak



Miri Alem

Devsirme Agayeri

Sultan's secretary


Silâhdar Aga

Bostanci, or
Imperial Guard

[Dilsizi - Mute]

A Peik

Zülüflü Baltacı

Bostancibasi, or
Imperial Guard

Armed man

Arnavut, or Albanian

Sipahi, or
cavalry soldier

Tüfekçi, or
Palace Guard

Nöbetçi, or
orderly officer

Janissaries with soup kettles and the regimental spoon

The Sultan riding out in procession to Friday Prayers

These pictures are from a series commissioned by Stratford Canning (later Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe), 1786-1880. He began his long diplomatic career in Turkey as first secretary to Robert Adair on his mission to Istanbul in 1808. On arrival Canning soon arranged to see officially (and unofficially) all manner of Ottoman institutions, buildings and customs. What made his curiosity really valuable is that he hired a local artist to make this large series of views and studies of what he had seen. The identity of the artist is unknown, though Turkish scholars believe that he was part of the studio or circle of Konstantin Kapidagli. His style combines the dense and brilliant water and bodycolour used by Ottoman artists with European conventions of representation and perspective.
As a young man, the artist and future neo-classical architect Charles Cockerell went to Istanbul in 1810, stayed at the embassy, and even met Byron there. There Cockerell (with an interpreter) met and discussed painting technique with this Greek artist whom, frustratingly, he did not name in his letters. Cockerell's copies of the Greek's architectural views are now in the British Museum. Originally the paintings in this series [D.23-150-1895] were bound in a volume. The Victoria and Albert Museum acquired the original set of drawings from Canning's daughter Charlotte in 1895.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Other Albums:
I Turchi. Codex Vindobonensis 8626 of Bartolemeo von Pezzen, 1586 to 1591
Military Pictures from Peter Mundy's Album, A briefe relation of the Turckes, 1618
Military Pictures from Hans Sloan's The Habits of the Grand Signor's Court, c.1620
Pictures from the Zamoyski Album, 1640-1648
Pictures from the Ralamb Costume Book, 1657
Costumes Orientaux, Monnier's Collection of costumes and clothing of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century, 1786. Ville de Bourg-en-Bresse Ms 65.
Pictures from Heinrich Friedrich von Diez's Album Costumes Turcs, c.1790 [Canning's Pictures may be based on similar Ottoman pictures]
Album of Turkish Costume Paintings Presented to Alexander III, Tsar of Russia, 1867 - NYPL Digital Collections

Other early 19th century Illustrations of Ottomans
Coloured Illustrations of Ottoman Soldiers dated 1805
Illustrations after Octavien d'Alvimart, in Miller's Costume of Turkey, 1802
Ottomans in the Augsburger Bilder, 1802-1810
Illustrations after Octavien d'Alvimart, engraved F.H. Clark, in McLean's The Military Costume of Turkey, 1813

Ottoman Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers in the 15th to 19th Centuries

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