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Hand-coloured copper engraving (1819) from the GRANDEST BOOK of VIEWS OF CONSTANTINOPLE.



Title: Grand Place de l'Hippodrome à Constantinople". Duplessis Bertaux & François Denis Née (Engravers), Antoine Ignace Melling (Artist). Publisher: Paris, Treuttel et Würtz. Publication Date: 1819 Binding: No Binding Book Condition: Very Good Edition: 1st Large hand-coloured copper engraving of 1819. Measurement of the engraved part 45.3 x 72 cm. Very mild marginal foxing. Mounted, glazed and framed in attractive, period style frame (104 x 75 cm). Extracted from Antoine Ignace MELLING s Voyage pittoresque de Constantinople et des rives du Bosphore , [Paris, Treuttel et Würtz, 1819] with a vertical crease where it was originally folded into the folio volume. Stunning hand-coloured delineation of the Hippodrome Square of Istanbul, the city's skyline, & members of Ottoman society in the foreground (in the background the Obelisks of the Byzantine Emperors Theodosius II and Constantine VII & on the left the Mosque of Sultan Ahmed I) Melling (1763-1831), having studied architecture, painting and mathematics, went to the Italy and Egypt at the age of nineteen. In 1784, Melling moved to Istanbul as attaché to the Russian Embassy and remained in Constantinople for eighteen years. He was architect to Sultan Selim III and his sister Hatice, with whom he maintained a close relationship. Melling in 1795 designed the gardens and the interior of Hatice Sultan's palace in Ortaköy, and the interior of the newly built palace in Defterdar Burnu, in neoclassical style, as well as jewellery and clothes for the Turkish court. He was consequently granted access to the Sultan's palaces, including the Harem, Melling's sketches of which provided the earliest interior views that soon unfolded before the eyes of Europeans in an unparallelled way( Melling saw Istanbul as an Ottoman citizen but was able to paint it as an insightful Western European). Having completed various projects for Selim III, Melling returned to Paris in 1803. In order to prepare the publication of his drawings, Melling set up an engraving studio, with the assistance of the best engravers of the time. The excellent quality of this edition, in select paper, realized by the best typographers of the time was achieved thanks to Melling's diligence, an impeccable engraving and the originality of the drawings. In order to write the accompanying texts Melling worked and consulted with Lechevalier, P. Deval, Pouquevile, Lacretelle, Choiseul-Gouffier, Barbie de Bocage and others. Production did not start until 1809 and was not completed until 1819 after the appearance of the thirteenth livraison. Later on, coloured versions of the engravings were also published. The outstanding success of the exhibitions on which the work was based earned Melling the title of Painter to the Empress Josephine, Napoleon's wife. Individual prints, least of all the most attractive views such as this, infrequently appear for re-sale. Bibliography: Cornelis Boschma & Jacques Perot, 'AIM', Paris (Carnavalet) 1991 Elisabeth A. Fraser, 'Mediterranean encounters : artists between Europe and the Ottoman Empire, 1774-1839', 2017. Atabey 798-799; Blackmer 1105; Brunet III, 1591; Lipperheide LB 41. Bookseller Inventory # 4379

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