Jean-Baptiste Vanmour (1671-1737) arrived in Istanbul in 1699 as part of the entourage of the French Ambassador, The Marquis de Ferriol. His paintings of Ottoman ceremonies and receptions, and the daily life and costumes of 18th century Turkey provide an illuminating record of Istanbul in this period. In her book A Journey into the world of the Ottomans; The Art of Jean-Baptiste Vanmour (1671-1737), Olga Nefedova notes that a few works by Vanmour were dedicated to one of the most impressive events of everyday life in Ottoman society - the ceremony of the Sultan’s procession to the Imperial Mosque on Fridays when the sermon was preached (Olga Nefedova, A Journey into the world of the Ottomans; The Art of Jean-Baptiste Vanmour (1671-1737), Milan, 2009).
Vanmour executed at least five paintings of grand courtly Ottoman processions. Of these three are headed by the Sultan Ahmed III, and two by his Grand Vizier. A close comparable to the present painting, by Vanmour, in which the Imperial Mosque is seen on the horizon, is illustrated in Nefedosa, op.cit., fig.144, p.142. A similar progression, but of the Grand Vizir and his retinue, is also illustrated there (fig.145, p.142).