Aga des janissaires
||Art / Oil paintings
||1699 - 1737
||Oil on copper
||330 x 241 mm (13 x 9½ in)
|Place of origin
This is one of a large set of early eighteenth-century costume illustrations of Turkish men and women from the Court of the Ottoman Empire. At Sissinghurst there are fourteen framed sets remaining, each with five vividly painted copper plates. Originally by or after Jean-Baptiste Vanmour, sets like these were popular in the 19th century as part of the revived vogue for Orientalism. Vanmour went to Constantinople (Istanbul) when the Marquis Charles de Ferriol (1652 – 1722) was appointed the French Ambassador there in 1699 during the reign of Sultan Ahmet III (1673-1736), known as the Tulip Era.
The Sissinghurst set were owned by Marie-Gabriel-Florent-Auguste Choiseul-Gouffier (1751 - 1817); bought by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800–1870) and by inheritance, via Lady Wallace (1819–1897), to Sir John Murray Scott (1847–1912). The latter, affectionately known as ‘Seery’, was a favourite of Victoria, Lady Sackville (1862–1936) who seems to have somehow obtained them from him and passed onto her daughter, Vita Sackville-West (1892–1962) who apparently gave at least one panel away as a wedding present.
Oil painting on copper, Aga des janissaires by Jean-Baptist Vanmour (Valenciennes 1671–Constantinople 1737), 1699/1737. A man standing ouside, in high turban and fur-lined robe.
Sissinghurst Castle, The Nicolson Collection (National Trust)
Makers and roles
Jean-Baptist Vanmour (Valenciennes 1671–Constantinople 1737)