Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D

The Bosphorus, with the Castles of Europe & Asia. 1846

Watercolour
1846 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Many artists drew and painted the historic shores of the Bosphorus, the deep and narrow channel between Europe and Asia. A favourite subject was the romantic medieval fortress, Rumeli Hisari [Castle of Europe], built by Mehmet II, in a few months before he conquered Constantinople in 1453. It dominates the narrowest part of the straits, opposite its counterpart on the Asia shore, Anadolu Hisari, seen in the distance in Allom’s view. Allom has made a picturesque juxtaposition of the stone crenellations of the castle with the fretted wooden balconies of the houses or yali, that 150 years ago were a distinctive feature of the villages along the Bosphorus.

Although he trained as an architect, Allom is better known now as a topographical artist. In 1834 he was a founder member of the Institute of British Architects, [later the RIBA] of which he became a fellow in 1860. He first drew views to finance himself as a student, but was so successful that he then travelled widely and contributed at least 1500 illustrations to numerous books on places in Europe, the Near East and even China, published during the 1830s and 1840s. Few details of his journeys are known, but between 1828 and 1845 he made extensive sketching tours in England, Scotland, France, Belgium, and Turkey, mainly for the publisher H. Fisher & Son.

Allom obviously delighted in the picturesque details of the Turkish wooden houses, but did not incorporate these ideas into his own architecture. He designed a number of buildings in a wide variety of traditional styles, including workhouses in the Jacobethan manner and neo-Gothic churches, as well as Italianate houses on the Kensington Park Estate in the 1850s.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour over pencil heightened with white
Brief Description
Watercolour, The Bosphorus, with the Castles of Europe & Asia. 1846, by Thomas Allom
Physical Description
Watercolour drawing
Dimensions
  • Height: 19.4cm
  • Width: 30.7cm
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
Signed and dated T.Allom. 1846; inscribed on back with title and date
Credit line
Purchased with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, Shell International and the Friends of the V&A
Object history
According to Rodney Searight: `Bt fr Fine Art Society, Apl.1969, £65 (but in part exchange)'.
Historical context
Formerly there were many decorated wooden summer-houses or yalis along the shores of the Bosphorus. Those seen here are in the village of Bebek at the foot of Rumeli Hisar; opposite, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, is Anadolu Hisar. Another view of Bebek is seen in an engraving after Allom in Walsh, Constantinople, Fisher, [1838 etc.], vol.I, facing p.61.
Place Depicted
Summary
Many artists drew and painted the historic shores of the Bosphorus, the deep and narrow channel between Europe and Asia. A favourite subject was the romantic medieval fortress, Rumeli Hisari [Castle of Europe], built by Mehmet II, in a few months before he conquered Constantinople in 1453. It dominates the narrowest part of the straits, opposite its counterpart on the Asia shore, Anadolu Hisari, seen in the distance in Allom’s view. Allom has made a picturesque juxtaposition of the stone crenellations of the castle with the fretted wooden balconies of the houses or yali, that 150 years ago were a distinctive feature of the villages along the Bosphorus.



Although he trained as an architect, Allom is better known now as a topographical artist. In 1834 he was a founder member of the Institute of British Architects, [later the RIBA] of which he became a fellow in 1860. He first drew views to finance himself as a student, but was so successful that he then travelled widely and contributed at least 1500 illustrations to numerous books on places in Europe, the Near East and even China, published during the 1830s and 1840s. Few details of his journeys are known, but between 1828 and 1845 he made extensive sketching tours in England, Scotland, France, Belgium, and Turkey, mainly for the publisher H. Fisher & Son.



Allom obviously delighted in the picturesque details of the Turkish wooden houses, but did not incorporate these ideas into his own architecture. He designed a number of buildings in a wide variety of traditional styles, including workhouses in the Jacobethan manner and neo-Gothic churches, as well as Italianate houses on the Kensington Park Estate in the 1850s.
Bibliographic References
  • Charles Newton, `Images of the Ottoman Empire' 2007, p. 109
  • Briony Llewellyn, `The Orient Observed' 1989 p. 57
  • Evans, Mark et al. Vikutoria & Arubāto Bijutsukan-zō : eikoku romanshugi kaigaten = The Romantic tradition in British painting, 1800-1950 : masterpieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Japan : Brain Trust, 2002
  • Searight, Rodney and Scarce, Jennifer M., A Middle Eastern journey : artists on their travels from the collection of Rodney Searight, Talbot Rice Art Centre, 1980
  • Darby, M, The Islamic Perspective: Aspect of British Architecture and Design in the 19th Century, London, V&A, 1983
Collection
Accession Number
SD.20

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJune 21, 2007
Record URL