Pleasure of Coffee Through Paintings


Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics collection exhibition “Coffee Break” features not just ceramics but also images of coffee scenes from engravings and paintings, to offer an enhanced experience of the history of coffee culture.

Let’s have a closer look at the paintings from the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation’s Orientalist Paintings Collection, which feature scenes of people enjoying coffee.

Kahve İçen Kadınlar

Women Drinking Coffee, Jean-Baptiste Vanmour, first half of the 18th century, oil on canvas

This picture depicts the serving of coffee, which was an important preoccupation of harem life; the women, among whom there is also a little girl, have been depicted while serving each other food and coffee, and fortune telling by means of reading coffee grounds. The richly ornate costumes, caps and jewellery reflect the fashion of those days. Decoration of the room is very similar to the other harem rooms depicted by Vanmour.


Enjoying Coffee, Unknown painter (French School), first half of the 18th century, oil on canvas

In this painting an Ottoman lady drinking coffee and her servant are depicted in dresses reflecting the fashion sense of the period. Its inspirational source is Vanmour’s Turkish Girl Drinking Coffee on the Divan. Both the necklace of the lady and the ornate headdresses are copied from the pictures of two women in the book Reisen van Cornelis de Bruyn, first published in 1698 by Cornelis de Bruyn, a Dutch traveller and painter who traveled to the region in the 17th century.


Phanariot Greek Ladies, Daniel Valentine Riviere (?), around 1840, mixed media on paper

In this picture, in which the interior of a Greek house in Fener has been depicted, a woman is sitting on a divan like raised platform. Over her baggy trousers she is wearing a shirt of raw silk crepe and üç etek (a dress with a three-panelled skirt), and her cap is tasselled. The pipe held by her servant, the coffee set on the inlaid small table, the fan of ostrich plumes on the floor and the small brazier are all objects reflecting coffee’s place in the daily life of the period.


Servant, Jules Joseph Lefebvre, 1880, oil on canvas

The painting depicts a young girl in front of a wall, the lower part of which has been decorated with ceramic tiles with a floral design. The girl is wearing a white dress with embroidery down its front and a long embroidered belt. She is holding a tray on which there is a decanter and cup of blue-white porcelain and fruits.

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