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English School, 18th century
English School, 18th century

Portrait of Mustapha, servant of George I, half-length

Details
English School, 18th century
Portrait of Mustapha, servant of George I, half-length
oil on canvas, unlined
35 ¾ x 27 7/8 in. (91 x 71 cm.)

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Lot Essay

As a young man, whilst still Prince of Hanover, George I (1660-1727) and his brother, Frederick Augustus (1661-1690), fought at the Battle of Vienna, one of the key encounters at the start of the Great Turkish War (circa 1683-1699). Here the Ottoman troops were crushed by the combined force of the Polish and Holy Roman armies, and many Turks were taken captive. Two such prisoners were Mehmet and Mustapha, the sitter in this portrait. The two men became George’s personal servants, especially after his arrival in England, where he relied on them to ensure his protection from unwelcome crowds and courtiers. Here Mustapha is painted in the English model, made fashionable by artists such as Sir Godfrey Kneller and Michael Dahl. His costume is an example of turquerie, the Western fashion for imitating aspects of Turkish garb, rather than an attempt by the artist at traditional Turkish clothing. A portrait of Mehmet, executed in 1715 by Kneller, shows him in much the same clothing (London, The Royal Collection).

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