Thursday, February 26, 2015

Turquerie: An Eighteenth Century European Fantasy

This stunning book by Haydn Williams for the first time gives a historic perspective on the eighteenth century European fascination with Turkish culture in fine art, the decorative arts, and architecture.

Travelers and traders  brought home vivid accounts of the Ottoman Empire, the style, the culture, the exotic! For the first time, translations of books such as One Thousand and One Nights brought to light the imagery of this luxurious magnificence. Turquerie is a theme where we see turbaned figures, elegantly draped and languishing royalty. Art and wall panels often featured palm trees, camels, crescent moons, horsetail standards, elaborate follies and tents. Portraits painted in this relaxed manner was new to Europeans, where subjects stood upright to be painted. The zenith of excitement was realized in France; though Turquerie reached far and wide with the construction of a Mosque Folly at Kew gardens in London and Turkish tents constructed in Dresden along the Elbe to celebrate a Royal Wedding.

One of a pair of  pietre dure plaques of  Turqs, Galleria dei Lavori,  Florence c 1770 colored hard-stones, gilded bronze frame, French c 1780

Turquerie: An Eighteenth Century European Fantasy

by Haydn Williams

Published by Thames & Hudson (November 2014)

Charlotte Grenville, Lady Williams-Wynn, with her three Eldest Children by Joshua Reynolds, c 1778 oil on canvas. Image Credit: Cardiff, National Museum of Wales/ Photo The Bridgeman Art Library

Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes by Antoine de Favray, 1766 oil on canvas.  Image Credit: Istanbul: Suna Inan Kirac Foundation Collection

Front elevation ( detail) of the Mosque at Kew from William Chambers. Surrey, London 1763, Plate 26, engraved by Edward Rooker. Image Credit: Riba Library Books and Periodicals Collection

Salon Turq of Queen Maria Carolina of Naples and Sicily at The Villa Favorita, Palermo early 19th Century. Photo Credit: Dario di Vincenzo

The Hunt Picnic, one of a set of four decorative panels from the chateau de Ognon-en-Valois by Christophe Huet c 1750, oil on canvas Image Credit: Birmingham Museum of Art, Purchase with funds provided by The Art Fund, Inc and the 1992 Museum and Ball, Photo credit: Sean Pathasema

Figure of a Turq on an Elephant, Meissan Manufactory, Model by Johann Joachim Kandler and Peter Reinicke C 1745 hard paste porcelain, contemporary French gilded bronze mounts. Image Credit: Munich: Robbig

The Mastiff's Seraglio, by Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1734, oil on canvas. Image credit: Audap and Mirabaud

      Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes, by Antoine de Favray, 1766, oil on canvas. Image Courtesy of Thames and Hudson         

 Thank you to Harry Burton of Thames and Hudson for the review copy of Turquerie

Turquerie: An Eighteenth Century European Fantasy may be purchased at your local book seller or at 

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