- What’s On
When Thomas Dallam, a young organ builder from north-west England, was commissioned to build a musical clockwork marvel, jewel encrusted and with a multitude of wondrous moving parts, he found himself acting as ambassador for Elisabeth I. The organ was to be a gift for the mighty Ottoman Sultan, intended to buy his fabour and cement England’s trading rights across his empire, and Dallam was instructed to present it to the Sultan in person.
Closely following the detailed diary he kept during his year-long voyage, The Sultan’s Organ reveals the extraordinary world Dallam travelled to as he sailed through the Mediterranean and Levant before eventually arriving at the beating heart of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople.
The people and places he encounters – from the pirates of Algiers to the inside of the Sultan’s harem itself – introduce us to a charming and erudite man of his age, as well as shedding light on a part of the world which remains to this day a beguiling, fascinating and challenging place to understand.