The second scene shows the Ambassador being presented to the Sultan at Arz Odasi, the Throne Room, at Topkapi Palace. The ceremony was described in the early 19th Century by another artist, Antoine-Ignace Melling. After describing the arrival at the Palace Melling continues: 'The Ambassador, accompanied by the chief interpreter and ushers of the Porte, and followed by his cortège, is then led in the court under a gallery built between the Chamber of Divan and the Gate of the Throne, Bab-el-Saadet. There the Grand Master of Ceremonies dresses him in a sable robe. The chief members of the cortège are given robes lined with ermine, of kereke and caffetan, being garments of the second order. Meanwhile the Grand Vizier has moved from the Chamber of the Divan to the Throne Room. Soon after the Ambassador is led to it with twelve of fifteen of the chief members of the Embassy; each person is attended by two Capidgi-Bachi or chamberlains. Pages and white eunuchs are drawn up in ranks on both sides of the gallery which leads to the Throne Room. The grandeur of this room far from equals the importance of the ceremonies that are enacted in it; nevertheless it is sufficient, seeing that etiquette allows only very few people to approach his Highness's throne. It is placed along one side of the room: Oriental luxury has exhausted all its art to make this throne more magnificent. It looks like a bed of antique design; gold and fine pearls enhance the splendour of the rich drapery with which it is covered; its columns are silver gilt. The Grand Seigneur takes his position there clad in a ceremonial robe that recalls the ancient costume of the Tartars; his turban is surmounted by an egret enriched with diamonds; he wears yellow boots, his feet being supported on a step. The Grand Vizier and the High Admiral occupy a position to the right of the throne; to the left are the Chief Black Eunuch and the Chief White Eunuch. All remain standing, including the Ambassador, who approaching the throne makes his address to his Highness. His words are repeated in the Turkish language by the Chief Interpreter of the Porte, after which the Grand Vizier, in the name of the Grand Seigneur, makes a reply which the Interpreter translates to the Ambassador. He then takes the credentials from his secretary's hands; he gives them to the Mir-Alem (Chief of the Standard, Commander of the Chamberlains), who passes them on to the High Admiral. The officer presents them to the Grand Vizier, who places them on the throne. The audience immediately comes to an end and the Ambassador retires with his suite. On regaining the First Court he mounts his horse, as does his cortège; and, lined up on one of the sides, they watch the janissaries and the entire Ottoman Court march off. Immediately after the Ambassador begins his march back to his palace in Pera in the same order that he came', A.-I.Melling, Voyage Pittoresque de Constantinople et des Rives du Bosphore, 1808.
All the details mentioned in this text appear clearly in the composition. The richness of the Throne, the diamond egret on the turbans, the size of the room, the sable robes given to the Ambassador and the robes lined with ermine given to his suite. All these details prove that Lespinasse had access to a very accurate account of a ceremony which he never personally witnessed. Yet the artist has clearly misunderstood the nature of the wall decoration of the Throne Room. What Lespinasse draws with perfect regularity are in fact ceramic tiles, the diversity of which is visible in many engravings or paintings of previous receptions of Ambassadors. The floor is equally a problem for Lespinasse: he depicts a carpet the borders of which fits exactly the size of the Throne Room, when in fact a series of carpets would have been thrown over the tiles. The present drawing is therefore again a reconstruction of a scene from an older image such as the engraving of the Reception of the Marquis de Bonnac by Sultan Ahmer III in 1717 or the pictures by Antoine de Favray of the Reception of the Comte de Vergennes in 1755. The virtuosity of the execution, the plunging effect of perspective and the luminosity of the washes contributed to a near photographic effect characteristic of Lespinasse's draughtsmanship. The artist was famous for his bird's eye views of Paris and various other houses around the capital. He had acquired his acute sense of perspective from years of service in the French Army. At the end of his life he wrote a treatise on perspective and the present drawing may well have been an attempt to enrich a genre left in the hands of amateur artists and travelling aristocrats. From the end of the 18th Century these had travelled beyond Europe, exploring newly discovered cultures. Looking at Lespinasse's views, one cannot help but feel that they presage Napoleon's plan, nearly ten years later, to establish a special corps of army engineers to accompany the army in the Middle East and there sketch the monuments of Ancient Egypt. Those officers would then have been able to record their views with a degree of accuracy previously only achieved through the breathtaking virtuosity of Lespinasse's drawings.