A Jereed Game in Kağıthane

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In this time of Olympic excitement, take a look at some archery and a game of jereed from the 18th and 19th centuries.

A Jereed Game in Kağıthane, Luigi Acquarone (from Antoine Ignace Melling) Oil on canvas, 65.5 x 120 cm, 1891.

This painting by Acquarone, who was one of the court artists of Sultan Abdülhamid II, is an oil copy of the engraving Kağıthane, published in Melling’s book Voyage Pittoresque de Constantinople et des rives du Bosphore. In this respect, it constitutes an example of the copies made from engravings in the last quarter of the 19th century. According to the description in Voyage Pittoresque, the jereed game played on horses takes place between the pages of Selim III at one of the favorite excursion spots in İstanbul, Kağıthane, referred to as the “Sweet Waters of Europe” by the Westerners.

View of Constantinople and Eyüp as seen from Okmeydanı, Luigi Mayer. Watercolor and gouache on paper, 50,5 x 66,5 cm, late 18th century.

Germany-born watercolorist Luigi Mayer, under the patronage of of the British ambassador in İstanbul Sir Robert Ainslie, is known to have arrived in the city after 1786. In order to create the illustrations to be published in Views in Egypt, Views in Palestine, Views in the Ottoman Empire in London as of 1801, he traveled across the Mediterranean coast, Anatolia, the Aegean, the Balkans, and Egypt and executed hundreds of compositions reflecting ancient cities and genre scenes. Upon his return to İstanbul, Mayer married Clara, who is presumably the daughter of Sir Ainslie’s dragoman Mr. Barthold. Having taken a close interest in painting, Clara thus became her husband’s collaborator and assistant. In their works depicting the final days of 18th-century İstanbul, Clara and Luigi Mayer portrayed the picturesque views of the increasingly modernizing and changing city, as well as details from daily life.

Click for more information on the collection exhibition Intersecting Worlds: Ambassadors and Painters.

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