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Connoisseur 10

From the art capitals of the world, a round-up of Islamic and Orientalist art

  • Left: 16th/17th-century Uşak rug from Turkish Carpets from the 13th to the 18th Centuries, at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art (1996). Right: Mustafa III (reigned 1757–74) from Sultan, Shah and Great Mughal, at the National Museum, Copenhagen
  • Lady in pink: a watercolour by Zonaro, from a 1908 folio


Featuring one of the most important displays to date of early Turkish masterpieces, this exhibition includes many exceptional mosque carpets rescued from storage for the show. Scholars will welcome this chance to see textiles familiar only from books. The pieces will be joined by similarly rare Turkish rugs from museums in Berlin and Budapest. Related paintings from Warsaw and Berlin will provide historical context and permit more accurate dating. The glorious Uşak (above left) from the host museum has a distinctive scale pattern also found on armour and Iznik pottery. Two other Turkish museums are contribution, the Vakıflar, just across the Hippodrome, and Mevlana Museum in Konya.


Three Danish museums are cooperating this summer to portray different aspects of Islamic culture through Denmark’s rich store of Islamic art and artefacts. The Arabian Journey, at the Moesgard Museum, in Jutland, is named after an expedition despatched by Frederick V in 1761. Sultan, Shah and Great Mughal, at the National Museum, Copenhagen, examins art, worship and daily life across the Islamic world. On display is the wonderful 17th-century miniature of Mustafa III (above). By the Light of the Crescent Moon, at the David Collection, also in the capital, views the Near East through the eyes of 19th-century artists and writers, including Hans Christian Anderson.


The watercolour of a winsome Istanbul aristocrat in a diaphanous yashmak was painted by the underestimated court artist Fausto Zonaro. It came up this spring in Gros et Lettrez’s Orientalist sale in Paris, the only watercolour in a folio of photogravures of Zonaro oil paintings bound in sumptuous morocco. The folio, Devri Se’adet ou Stamboul, porte du bonheur scènes de la vie turque, which fetched FF130,000, was issued in an edition of 300, each with an original watercolour. The text is by Adolphe Thalasso, writer and poet, who described Zonaro in his book L’Art d’Ottoman: les peintres de Turquie as one of the greatest Orientalist painters. Born in Padua in 1854, Zonaro used small brushstrokes without mixing colours, influencing his Italian contemporaries. In the 1880s, he moved to Paris, where he met the Impressionists. Returning to Italy in 1890, he married, and, at the suggestion of his wife, Elisa, set off at once with her to Istanbul – she had visited the city after reading De Amici’s Constantinopoli and knew her husband would be bewitched by the city. By 1891 the couple were residing in a wooden house near Taksim…

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Issue 10, 1996 Ingres and Lady Mary
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Other Highlights from Cornucopia 10
  • Travels with my Yurt

    The traditional tent of Central Asian nomads is a pleasure dome fit for the gods, says Tim Beddow

  • Water’s Edge

    Hekimbaşı Salih Efendi was the last Chief Physician to the Ottoman court, a scholar and a reformer. But plants were his passion. His gardens have gone, but the house lives on. By Patricia Daunt. Photographs: Simon Upton

  • Leighton’s Orient

    The Victorian painter Frederick Leighton went to extraordinary lengths to create his pink, black, blue and gold domed Arab Hall in London. By Caroline Juler with photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

  • Foundation of Learning

    Süleyman the Magnificent’s city within a city above the Golden Horn has come to house one of the world’s finest collections of books and ancient manuscripts.

  • Order of the bath

    When the intrepid Lady Mary Wortley Montagu travelled with her husband’s embassy to Turkey in 1716, she recorded the minutiae of life on the road and in her ‘new world’. . Remarkably open-minded, her innocent observations inspired Ingres to paint some of the greatest erotic masterpieces of the Romantic movement.

  • Lycian Shore: Mediterranean Travels

    ‘There are not so many places left where magic reigns without interruption,’ wrote Freya Stark in The Lycian Shore, ‘and of all those I know, the coast of Lycia was the most magical.’ Barnaby Rogerson went with Rose Baring and four-month-old Molly in search of enchantment. Photographs by Faruk Akbas

  • Purple Reign

    Its rich, subtle flavour lends itself to a multitude of melting concoctions. Berrin Torolsan traces the story of this most lustrous fruit and serves up an irresistible feast.
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  • The Consul’s Retreat

    In the early nineteenth century the redoubtable Englishman John Barker built a country retreat in the province of Hatay, close to the present-day Syrian border, planting his estate with exotic fruit trees, watching over the British Empire’s Indian Mail, and entertaining guests with music on the mechanical organ. David Morray looks back on the golden age of ‘Suedia Hall’

Good places to stay
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Issue 10, 1996 Ingres and Lady Mary
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  • War and Peace

    The London Academy of Ottoman Court Music, with Emre Araci

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