• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7448

    Old Master and British Pictures

    7 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 200

    Jean-Baptiste Vanmour (Valenciennes 1671-1737 Constantinople)

    The Dutch Ambassador with his retinue being received by Sultan Ahmed III at the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Jean-Baptiste Vanmour (Valenciennes 1671-1737 Constantinople)
    The Dutch Ambassador with his retinue being received by Sultan Ahmed III at the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
    oil on canvas, unframed
    39 x 49¾ in. (99 x 126.5 cm.)


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    This canvas depicts the Dutch Ambassador Cornelis Calkoen crossing the second court of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul to present his credentials to Sultan Ahmed III. The event took place on 14 September 1727 and was recorded by Vanmour in three pictures now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. As noted by Boppe, (loc. cit.), the present picture is an autograph version of one of these.

    As the visitors entered the second court, pandemonium broke out as the janissaries (the Sultan's bodyguard) threw themselves at dishes of pilaf that were placed on the ground. This caused a huge amount of noise and was intended to impress the visitors. At the front of the composition is the Ambassador with his retinue following the masters of ceremony who are tapping the ground with their silver ceremonial maces.
    During his time as Ambassador to the Ottoman court, Calkoen tried to stimulate trade by establishing new consulates, one of which was in Egypt, and by attempting to revitalize existing ones (see E. Sint Nicolas, D. Bull and G. Renda, exhibition catalogue, The Ambassador, the Sultan and the Artist - An Audience in Istanbul, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2003, pp. 1-16).

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Provenance

    Auguste Boppe and by descent to the present owner.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN (LOTS 199 AND 200)


    Literature

    A. Boppe, Les Peintres du Bosphore au XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1989, p. 25, illustrated.