Philip Mansel is a historian of France and the Ottoman Empire, courts and monarchs. He was born in London in 1951 and educated at Eton College, where he was a King’s Scholar, and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Modern History and Modern Languages. Following four years’ research into the French court of the period 1814-1830, he was awarded his doctorate at University College, London in 1978.
His first book, Louis XVIII, was published in 1981 and this - together with subsequent works such as Paris Between Empires 1814-1852 (2001) - established him on both sides of the Channel as an authority on the later French monarchy. Six of his books have been translated into French.
Altogether Philip Mansel has published nine books of history and biography, mainly relating either to France or to his other main area of interest, the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East: Sultans in Splendour was published in 1988 and Constantinople: City of the World’s Desire 1453-1924 in 1995. Philip Mansel’s latest book, Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean (John Murray), was published in November 2010 in Britain and in April 2011 in America. Greek, Turkish, Italian and Russian editions will shortly be appearing. www.philipmansel.com
Philip Mansel on the future Edward VII’s Ottoman expedition
She has long lived in France, but Turkey has inspired ‘pangs of longing’ since her first visit in 1946. The celebrated author of The Wilder Shores of Love and The Sabres of Paradise, talks to Philip Mansel about a life of adventure and the landscape of the heart
Istanbul exhibits British Orientalist paintings
As Turkey and the Netherlands celebrate 400 years of fruitful trade with a series of spectacular exhibitions in both countries, Philip Mansel, author of a new history of the Levant, reflects on the curious role of the Dutch at the Sublime Porte.
The world’s grandest chalet was built by Abdülhamid II for the visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1889 and was a powerhouse of political activity in the final years of the empire. Today the house in the grounds of Yıldız Palace, on a hill in Istanbul, is all but forgotten. Philip Mansel treads softly through its silent halls. Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg
Philip Mansel on the Topkapı’s show ‘Selim III: Reformist, Poet, Musician’
The pictures that fired Europe’s imagination with their visions of Istanbul and the Ottoman court returned to the city for the first time in more than 250 years. Philip Mansel looks at the extraordinary paintings of Jean Baptiste Vanmour