Chinese blue and white has had an unparalleled influence on taste in East and West for more than six centuries. Every self-respecting Islamic court had its collection of this precious porcelain, but the Topkapı Palace amassed one of the richest in the world. John Carswell began his own quest in a cathedral in Jerusalem and pursued it to the sands of the Gobi Desert. Here he tracks the march of blue and white from southern China to the Mediterranean and introduces the cream of the Topkapı collection.
Sometime in the early fourteenth century – during the Yuan dynasty that followed the Mongol conquest of China – an entirely new kind of porcelain appeared, painted in underglaze cobalt blue. With hardly any precedent, this blue and white porcelain sprang onto an empty stage, a platform which it was to dominate in the history of world ceramics for the next 400 years.
In 1960 Maureen Freely’s family packed up all they possessed, waved goodbye to Princeton, New Jersey, and stepped out into the unknown. She had no idea why. Their destination was to her merely a name on a map: Istanbul. It was to become the place she still thinks of as home. Her father, John Freely, would write the classic guidebook ‘Strolling Through Istanbul’. More than forty years later, Maureen looks back on a golden childhood of parties, laughter and, above all, adventure
The remarkable photography of Zafer Baran emerged from a hard-edged education in a Bauhaus atmosphere. But Baran’s powers of observation were to lead him into a world of pure colour, moods and associations into which the viewer is irresistibly drawn.
They are a dedicated breed, but not all orchid hunters share the same agenda. Some are driven to record in minute detail the glory of Turkey’s orchid species – all 148 of them. Some are more interested in eating them. The botanist Andrew Byfield joins the quest.
Georgia’s 9,000-year love affair with the grape has produced many a spectacular wine. Here Kevin Gould continues his series on the wines of Turkey and the former dominions of the Ottoman Empire with a visit to the country that boasts 500 grape varieties. By Kevin Gould with photographs by Jason Lowe
Arlette Mellaart recalls her life in her parents’ yalı in Kanlıca, the hauntingly beautiful Safvet Pasha Yalı, with photographs from her album. The house burnt down in 1976, taking with it her husband James Mellaart’s drawing and photographs
The Crimean Church in Istanbul: a monument to Victorian Gothic. By Geofrey Tyack. Photographs by Kerem Uzel