His Majesty King George III and the Officers of State Receiving the Turkish Ambassador and Suit
Coloured engraving & stipple engravingpublished 1 January 1797
About the work
This print was taken from an oil painting by Mather Brown, depicting the state visit of the Turkish Ambassador to London in 1794. The Ambassador was Yusuf Agah Efendi, the first permanent ambassador from the Ottoman Porte to the court of St. James. Prior to this, the Ottoman Empire never established embassies abroad. This change was during the reign of Selim III who introduced new reforms at the Porte and favoured cultural exchanges with Europe, corresponding with Louis XVI and as inviting an Italian opera to Topkapi palace.
Efendi descended from one of the distinguished Turkish families of the Morean Peninsula in the Peloponnese and could understand and speak Greek, English and Italian. He was accompanied by a suite of 20 people including interpreters and aides and travelled across Europe by land as far as Oostend, which took them over two months to arrive at Dover in December 1793. The organist W. P. R. Cope composed The Turkish Ambassador’s Grand March in honour of his arrival. In the same year, Haydn’s Turkish Symphony was heard for the first time.
‘The new Turkish Ambassador is about 30 years of age, of a very respectable appearance. We understand that his excellency does not wish to appear in any very great pomp in his country. There are no ladies in his suite’ reported the Times on 23 December 1739.
He resided at the Royal Hotel, Pall Mall and attended various public events: he went to the Covent Garden Theatre to watch a Christmas pantomime, feasted at the London Tavern, witnessed a fireworks display at the Ranelagh Gardens and attended Queen Charlotte’s birthday party. He was received by King George III at St James’ Palace along with the Spanish and Dutch ambassadors and ‘was covered with a scarlet robe, very richly trimmed with gold lace’, as reported by ‘The Times’ in 16 January 1794.
Efendi enjoyed great popularity during his stay in London, introducing new etiquette and habits such as pipe smoking.
About the artist
- Cecil, James, 1st Marquess of SalisburyPitt, WilliamGeorge IIIWedderburn, Alexander, 1st Earl of RosslynCottrell-Dormer, Sir ClementGrenville, William Wyndham, Baron GrenvilleAgah, Yusuf, EfendiMavroudi, ChevalierDervish EfendiRaif, Mahmoud Abdurrhamanunknown man
- royal portrait, ceremonial costume, throne, coat of arms, King, diplomatic meetings & state visits, Foreign Secretary, Lord Chancellor, Prime Minister, diplomat, ambassador, Master of the Ceremonies, Lord Chamberlain, halberd, carpet
- His Majesty King George III and the Officers of State Receiving the Turkish Ambassador and Suit
- published 1 January 1797
- Coloured engraving & stipple engraving
- Purchased from Phillips, 14 April 1986
- Sold through Phillips, London, on 14 April 1986 (Lot 24a); from which sale purchased by the Government Art Collection
- GAC number