1114. [Turkey - Istanbul]

MELLING, Antoine Ignace

Voyage pittoresque de Constantinople et des rives du Bosphore.

Paris, Treuttel & Würtz; Strasbourg; London, 1819

Elephant folio (70,5 x 52 cm): [10]-10-[130] pp.; 48 pl., 3 maps (light spotting, mostly marginal, occ. browning in text).

Contemp. red half morocco, marbled paper on covers, gilt decor. spine with 7 raised bands (very lightly rubbed). Very good copy.

First edition of this magnificent topographic work on Constantinople and its surroundings, by the German painter, architect and voyager Antoine Ignace Melling (Karlsruhe 1763-1831 Paris). Our copy, in which the plates are bound in between the text pages in 1 vol., is complete with the half-title, portrait of Selim III, title with gold-printed tughra, frontispiece, 2 unnumbered and 10 numbered preface pp., 130 unnumbered text pp. (incl. list of pl.), 3 double-page engraved maps and 48 impressive double-page views showing the city of Constantinople, the Sultan's palaces (exterior & interior, incl. the Harem), the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn, etc., engraved after the paintings by Melling. All plates before letters and most before numbers, but with mention of the engravers in the plate (Duparc, Schroeder, Née, Dupréel, etc.). At the age of 19, Melling travelled to the Levant via the Archipelago, ending up in Constantinople, where he would stay for 18 years. There he was introduced to the Sultan's sister Hatice by the Danish ambassador. At her suggestion, Melling was employed as Imperial Architect to Sultan Selim III. This position gave him the privileged opportunity to observe the Ottoman Court, the Sultan's palaces, Ottoman society and "vedute" of Constantinople and its environs. After completing a number of building projects for Selim, Melling returned to Paris in 1803, where he issued a prospectus for the "Voyage pittoresque" in 1804. Publication began in 1809, issuing over a number of years 13 instalments, being completed by 1819. The outstanding success of the exhibitions of the paintings on which the "Voyage pittoresque" was based, earned Melling the title of painter to the Empress Joséphine. According to the Istanbul-born writer Orhan Pamuk, Melling "saw the city like an Istanbullu but painted it like a clear-eyed Westerner".
Ref. Atabey 798-799. - Blackmer 1105. - Lipperheide 1431. - Brunet III:1591. - BnF.

€ 10.000 / 15.000

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