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Watercolour - A Solak or Kulkethüdagasi
  • A Solak or Kulkethüdagasi
    Anonymous Greek artist.
  • Enlarge image

A Solak or Kulkethüdagasi

  • Object:

    Watercolour

  • Place of origin:

    Istanbul (Painted)

  • Date:

    about 1809 (Painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Anonymous Greek artist. (Painter)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Water- and bodycolour

  • Museum number:

    D.27-1895

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case BOX 83

A Solak was the name given to one of the Sultan's guards who wore the distinctive ostrich plume headdress. He may have been a Kulkethüdagasi or a colonel of a Janissary regiment.
This picture was one of a series commissioned by Stratford Canning (later Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe), 1786-1880. He began his long diplomatic career in Turkey as first secretary to Robert Adair on his mission to Istanbul in 1808. On arrival Canning soon arranged to see officially (and unofficially) all manner of Ottoman institutions, buildings and customs. What made his curiosity really valuable is that he hired a local artist to make this large series of views and studies of what he had seen. The identity of the artist is unknown, though Turkish scholars believe that he was part of the studio or circle of Konstantin Kapidagli. His style combines the dense and brilliant water and bodycolour used by Ottoman artists with European conventions of representation and perspective.
As a young man, the artist and future neo-classical architect Charles Cockerell went to Istanbul in 1810, stayed at the embassy, and even met Byron there. There Cockerell (with an interpreter) met and discussed painting technique with this Greek artist whom, frustratingly, he did not name in his letters. Cockerell’s copies of the Greek’s architectural views are now in the British Museum. The Victoria and Albert Museum finally acquired the original set of drawings from Canning’s daughter Charlotte in 1895.

Physical description

Portrait of a Turkish official in full ceremonial robes and elaborate feathered headdress, walking to right.

Place of Origin

Istanbul (Painted)

Date

about 1809 (Painted)

Artist/maker

Anonymous Greek artist. (Painter)

Materials and Techniques

Water- and bodycolour

Marks and inscriptions

Numbered 5

Dimensions

Height: 32.3 cm, Width: 18.6 cm

Object history note

Originally the paintings in this series [D.23-150-1895] were bound in a volume. It was bought by the Museum in 1895 from `Miss Canning' [i.e. Charlotte Canning, daughter of Stratford Canning] for 10 Guineas.

Descriptive line

A Solak or Kulkethüdagasi, about 1809. Anonymous Greek artist.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Charles Newton `Stratford Canning's Pictures of Turkey', The V&A Album, Vol. 3, 1984, pp.76-83

Subjects depicted

Kulkethüdagasi; Solak

Categories

Watercolours

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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