European Ambassador in Second Court of Topkapi Palace

  • About the work
    Country: Turkey
    City: Ankara
    Place: British Embassy

    This painting is the second of a series of four works showing the reception of a European ambassador by the Grand Vizier (the chief minister of the Sultan) and then by the Sultan himself, in Istanbul. Before being admitted into the presence of the Sultan, Ottoman protocol demanded that all ambassadors and their accompanying delegates be fed and dressed at the expense of the treasury of the Sublime Porte (central government of the Ottoman Empire). This work depicts the ambassador on his way to the dinner provided before his audience with the Sultan.(See also GAC 3317, 3318, 3316)

  • About the artist
    Antonio Guardi was born in Vienna, but grew up and established his artistic career in Venice. His father Domenico was a painter, as were his younger brothers Nicolò and Francesco. In 1756, he became a founder member of the Venice Accademia. As the eldest son he is likely to have taken over the family studio at the age of 17, when his father died. Between 1730 and the mid 1740s he produced of a number of works for the German Field Marshal of the Venetian armies, Graf Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg. Among these were portraits of members of prominent European families and copies of masterpieces of the Venetian school. A large number of paintings of Turkish subjects were also commissioned by von der Schulenburg.
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  • Details
    European Ambassador in Second Court of Topkapi Palace
    Oil on canvas
    height: 97.50 cm, width: 130.50 cm
    Purchased from Trustees of the Wharncliffe Estate, February 1959
    Collection of Edward Wortley Montagu of Wortley Hall near Sheffield; presumably by descent to Lady Bute (Montagu's daughter); by descent to James Archibald Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie, first Baron Wharncliffe (Bute's grandson); purchased from the Trustees of the Wharncliffe Estate (having been formerly on loan) by the Ministry of Works in 1959
    GAC number