Sunday, December 5, 2010

“à la Turc,” The French Turkish style

Small Console Table with Supporting Figures of Nubians (one of a pair), c.1780, gilded and painted wood and marble slab (NY: The Frick Collection),


The great country of France has always been fascinated by exotic cultures influencing, fashion, decorative arts, furniture, architecture and paintings. The Turkish style influenced all of theses. By the late 18th century the Ottoman empire style was all the mode in France highly influenced by trade in luxury goods with Turkey and a 1776 performance of Mustapha et Zeangir, first played at Fontainebleau before Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. a Turkish tragedy in five acts by Sebastien-Roch Chamford that also played in Paris, seems to have launched a taste for highly decorated interiors “à la Turc,” or “in the Turkish style.” Romantic fairyland , boudoirs “à la Turc,” were created for French Queen Marie Antoinette at Fontainebleau and her brother-in-law the Comte d' Artois at Versailles and his Temple residence located in Paris and Madame Elisabeth at the chateau de Montreuil. Also the French Royal court and other aristocracy wanted Turkish inspired interiors. French Queen Marie Antoinette made the Turkish Turban style headdresses fashionable not only in France but Europe and over the ocean to the new country of America among fashionable women of good taste, made of precious rich silks or velvets trimmed fine lace or gold threads toped in a plumage of ostrich feathers and often pined with big precious gemstones and ropes of pearls.

detail of Console Table with Supporting Figures of Nubians



The French Turkish style is not a accurate copy of Real Turkish Style but a Romanticized, whimsical version of Turkish objects often inspired by story's like A Thousand and One Nights. Most of the Turkish styled objects often featured whimsical turbaned figures of sultans or Nubian slaves or , camels, palm trees, cornucopias, arabesques, crossed crescents, pearls and jewel-like ornaments, Moorish arches , elaborate fringed draperies , and heavy garlands of rich fruits and flowers, their form and function remained essentially French and often mixed with French styles like the Louis XVI style. Having been made for the royal family or wealthy aristocrats, the objects were usually of the highest quality, and can be attributed to the best interior decorators artists and craftsmen of the 18th century. Other areas of the decorative arts reflected this vogue for 'turqueries'. Turkish figures were painted onto Sèvres porcelain and the Manufacture des Gobelins produced a tapestry known as "The Turkish Costume"based on a cartoon by Amédée Van Loo.


The Turkish influence continued into the 19th century mostly in art and porcelain made in Paris in the form of clocks surmounted with Turbaned Turkish warriors attacking animals or figures of Turks in costume. The style enjoyed a heyday during the Romantic period in France 1830-1865 and was at it's height during the 1860's when French Artist Jean-August-Dominique Ingres as a old man painted canvases of lush nude woman in Turkish baths.



French Artist Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun sporting a Turban “à la Turc,”


The Kings sister Madame Elisabeth with her Turban in Turkish fashion


A Woman in Turkish Dress, pastel on parchment 1740-1750, by Jean-Étienne Liotard


Portrait of Jean de Thévenot as a Turk by Philippe de Champaigne


Two Turks in turbans one smoking 18th century French


Carle Vanloo: Sultana Being Served Coffee by a Slave, 1747


The Grand Turk giving a Concert to his Mistress 1727 Carle Andrea van Loo


Two 18th century Turkish women, pastel by Jean-Étienne Liotard, who visited Turkey with a British ambassador in 1738. Unlike their baggy trousers, the huge pattens worn by the women would not have struck contemporary Europeans as remarkable, as Western women wore similar overshoes.

Late 18th century French pastel portrait of a Turk.


Turqueries by Maurice Quentin de La Tour

Boudoir turc of  Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau,


Ten years apart, Louis XVI ordered the construction of two retiring rooms for the queen, whose chamber had few windows. Built one atop the other, these two rooms are the finest examples of the heights of refinement reached in private interior décor within this royal château.Marie Antoinette’s Turkish-style boudoir was essentially a gift offered by Louis XVI to his wife. Situated above the chambre de parade (ceremonial bed), its décor reflects the contemporary trend of exoticism It was decorated with Turkish motifs and items such as turbans, cassolettes, incense burners, strings of pearls, crescent moons and ears of wheat. Its 18th-century furniture disappeared during the Revolution. The lavish and extensive furniture created by Jacob for Josephine in 1805 is currently undergoing restoration.On the lower floor, the Boudoir de la Reine or silver bedroom is situated between the chambers of the queen and the king (the latter having been converted into Napoleon’s Throne Room in 1808). This boudoir was decorated in a sumptuous antique style by the Rousseau brothers in 1786 and contains some outstanding pieces of furniture such as the barrel-topped desk and trough-shaped table inlaid with mother-of-pearl, which were returned to Fontainebleau in the 1960s.

Boudoir turc of Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau,

Its décor reflects the contemporary trend of exoticism It was decorated with Turkish motifs and items such as turbans, cassolettes, incense burners, strings of pearls, crescent moons and ears of wheat.


Boudoir turc of Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau,

Its 18th-century furniture disappeared during the Revolution. The lavish and extensive furniture created by Jacob for Josephine in 1805 is currently undergoing restoration.


These gilt-bronze andirons are composed of two camels lying on parallelepiped-shaped bases decorated with foliated scrolls on a blue ground. These highly original pieces were made for the Turkish boudoir of Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau and afford us a glimpse of the Turkish style popular at court at the end of Louis XVI's reign.

The Crown commissioned various works from Pierre Gouthière, amongst which these andirons, in which the bronzesmith displays great originality and matchless skill. The animals themselves are not very life-like, but the chasing renders a camelhair effect, along with the details of their saddlery. The bases they rest on are decorated with beading that echoes that found on the friezes of the wainscoting. The fronts are made up of foliated scrolls and little bells beribboned with gilt, chased, and perforated bronze on a blue ground known as "couleur eau". These ornaments can also be found on the wainscoting of the boudoir. "Couleur eau" ("water color"), obtained on a small iron plate, was highly popular during the reign of Louis XVI on account of the interplay between materials it afforded. Each item in the room had to form part of a unified whole, and Gouthière successfully blended the andirons into the room's sumptuous decoration.



Pierre Gouthière (1740–1806), Pair of fire dogs (feu aux chameaux), Made for boudoir turc of Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau, 1778, Musée du Louvre, Paris

This gilt-bronze andiron are composed of a camel lying on a parallelepiped-shaped base decorated with foliated scrolls on a blue ground. This highly original piece was made for the Turkish boudoir of Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau and afford us a glimpse of the Turkish style popular at court at the end of Louis XVI's reign.

When the court travelled to Fontainebleau in the autumn of 1776, Queen Marie-Antoinette was irked to see the private chambers still looking the way they did during the time of Marie Leczinska. Back at Versailles, she admired the new Turkish room of her brother-in-law, the count of Artois. Enchanted by the the play "Mustapha and Zeangir" relating the woes of Soliman the Magnificent's sons, she commissioned the Rousseau brothers to create a Turkish boudoir on the entresol at Fontainebleau. The bronze furnishings were made by Pierre Gouthière. Today, only the wainscoting and fireplace remain in situ, but in all likelihood the room formed a highly original whole. In addition to the andirons, the Louvre has the Savonnerie carpet. "Turkish rooms" were very popular among the king's entourage. The count of Artois had two installed at Versailles; the queen had one at Fontainebleau, and her sister-in-law , Madame Elisabeth, likewise had one at the chateau de Montreuil. All were fascinated by the sensuality of the Ottoman Empire, as portrayed in Oriental tales.




Turkish style Savonnerie carpet made for the boudoir turc of Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau. Note the fireplace cutout as the mantle piece was off centered in the room.
The most well known of these and the only surviving room is the boudoir turc for Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau, designed in 1777 by the architect Nicholas-Marie Potain and decorated with relief arabesques by the Rousseau brothers. It has been suggested that Marie-Antoinette in this regard took the lead from her brother the Comte d'Artois's boudoir turc






Canapé in gilt wood, covered with white satin embroidered in chain stitch from the Turkish boudoir of Marie Antoinette at Fontainebleau, France, Louis XVI (1774-1791)

The most well known of these and the only surviving room is the boudoir turc for Marie-Antoinette at Fontainebleau, designed in 1777 by the architect Nicholas-Marie Potain and decorated with relief arabesques by the Rousseau brothers. It has been suggested that Marie-Antoinette in this regard took the lead from her brother the Comte d'Artois's boudoir turc



Louis XVI period Turkish style gilt wood bed

A pair of Louis XVI gilt wood bergères à la turque by Georges Jacob, circa 1777
Each with outscrolled rectangular padded back, outscrolled armrests and seat covered in ivory floral and crimson silk damask, the toprail and arms terminating in paterae, the fluted arm supports carved with acanthus on turned tapering fluted legs headed by paterae, stamped 'G.IACOB', re-gilt.


With their outscrolled backs and arms, these elegant bergeres à la turque relate to the seat-furniture by Jacob supplied in 1777 to the Comte d'Artois' Cabinet turque at the Palais du Temple. The fashion for chinoiserie had obviously manifested itself in France much earlier, but had not yet influenced the shapes and ormamentation of the chair-maker's domain ormenuiserie, the exotic 'touch' mainly being introduced through the upholstery. However, during the reign of Louis XVI, and probably initially through projects for Marie-Antoinette and the comte d'Artois, designs for chairs were being made with an entirely exotic appearance (B. Pallot, Furniture Collections in the Louvre, vol. II, Paris, Dijon, 1993, pp. 133-135, no. 44).

Georges Jacob's à la turque furniture was a complete novelty for its time. It influenced a whole generation of menuisiers, starting with Jean-René Nadal, known as Nadal l'Ainé, a regular supplier to the comte d'Artois who executed a simplified version of the Palais du Temple seat-furniture (illustrated in P. Verlet, Les Meubles Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1982, fig 141), while an unstamped bergère à la turque, similar to the present examples, from the Carlhian collection, is illustrated in M. Jarry, Le Siège Français, Fribourg, 1973, figs. 183-185.




The chess-playing Turk automata created by Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen in 1770 although not French toured Versailles and Paris and latter America playing and defeating many challengers including statesmen such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Benjamin Franklin and Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. .. Edgar Allen Poe witnessed the Turk, and wrote an article attempting to explain how the chess playing automaton worked.


The chess-playing Turk automata created by Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen in 1770 although not French toured Versailles and Paris and latter America playing and defeating many challengers including statesmen such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Benjamin Franklin and Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. .. Edgar Allen Poe witnessed the Turk, and wrote an article attempting to explain how the chess playing automaton worked.



Clock and candelabrums by bronzesmith François Rémond  from the "boudoir turc" of Comte d'Artois



Gilt wood Chairs by Georges JACOB from the "boudoir turc" of Comte d'Artois


Canapé du Boudoir Turc du Comte d’Artois by Georges JACOB.  Of note is the lavish drapery garnishing the upholstery (recently redone), which was meant to evoke the tents of the sultans.

The Palais du Temple was the Paris residence of the Count d'Artois. The Count had usufruct of the palace only throughout the minority of his son, the Duke d'Angoulême, who in 1776 was made Great Prior of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. The Turkish cabinet was a room with cut corners, lit by two windows, whose walls were covered with hangings of yellow, gray and white lampas draped in the Roman fashion and held up by twenty-three crescents.


This fauteuil was part of a set supplied in 1777 to the Palais du Temple for the Turkish cabinet of the Count d'Artois. It is a piece that combines various decorative motifs: cornucopia form the arm supports; beading and ropes adorn the arm rests; and double crescents appear on the cubes topping the legs in an echo of the cabinet's Turkish-inspired decoration.


This console table was made in 1781 by the joiner Georges Jacob for the second Turkish room of the count of Artois, the future Charles X, in the Château de Versailles. It base is of carved, gilt wood. The four legs culminate in winged mermaids, while the apron is carved with various trophies of weapons. The top is greyish-blue marble. This is a highly original piece of furniture, midway between a table and a console, as consoles usually had only two or three legs. The unusual design features four legs joined by a stretcher, which once held a trophy and two incense burners. It is ornamented with carved sabres, turbans, shields, and mermaids, all symbols of a fantasized Orient, and the marble top was formerly supported by fourteen gilt bronze balls.




Jean-Siméon Rousseau de la Rottière (1747–1820) and his brother Jules-Hugues Rousseau (1743–1806), Pair of Wall Panels (one of a pair), made for the cabinet turc of the comte d’Artois, 1781, painted oak, 33 x 28 ¾ inches, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Jean-Siméon Rousseau de la Rottière (1747–1820) and his brother Jules-Hugues Rousseau (1743–1806), Pair of Wall Panels (one of a pair), made for the cabinet turc of the comte d’Artois, 1781, painted oak, 37 x 28 7/8 inches, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


"Monsieur Levett and Mademoiselle Glavani in Turkish costume," oil on canvas, painted by the Swiss-French artist Jean-Etienne Liotard. Painted at Constantinople circa 1740, the work shows English merchant Francis Levett, of the Levant Company, with his friend Miss Glavani, in the dress favored by Liotard in his works.

A PAIR OF GILT-BRONZE CHENETS. RÉGENCE, CIRCA 1715 in the goût Turc ,each in the form of a seated Ottoman child figure in elaborate robes on a tassled cushion, the rectangular plinth with a stylised Vitruvian scroll above a concave section, on acanthus cast inward scrolled feet, the apron with three interlocking crescent moons,


Horace Vernet - Roustam Raza early 19th century

Plan for a Cabinet turque by Jean Jacques Lequeu (Rouen, September 14 1757 – 28 March 1826) 



Une odalisque, dite La Grande Odalisque 1814 by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

The painting's title, which means "harem woman," and the accessories around her conjure up the sensuous Orient. Ingres transposed the theme of the mythological nude, whose long tradition went back to the Renaissance, to an imaginary Orient. This work, his most famous nude, was commissioned by Caroline Murat, Napoleon's sister and the queen of Naples. It was probably a matching piece to another nude, La Dormeuse de Naples, destroyed in 1815. La Grande Odalisque was painted in Rome, where Ingres had arrived in 1806 to complete a fellowship at the Académie de France. The artist remained in Italy until 1824 because his art was unpopular in Paris. Here, Ingres painted a nude with long, sinuous lines bearing little resemblance to anatomical reality, but rendered the details and texture of the fabrics with sharp precision. This work drew fierce criticism when it was displayed at the Salon of 1819. Critics didn't understand Ingres's style. They admonished him for disregarding anatomical reality, which set him apart from his teacher, Jacques Louis David (1748-1825).


Odalisque - by James Pradier, 1841




Odalisque - by James Pradier, 1841

"Odalisque - was sculpted in marble, of the following sizes: 15 cm; it was done in 1841, when James Pradier was 49 years of age, approximately. Thus, it is likely a Late Maturity masterpiece of James Pradier. "Odalisque -  can be seen at Musee des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, in a gallery showing many other artworks of the Neoclassicism period.

“The Death of Sardanapalus 1827” by Delacroix
Sardanapalus, an Assyrian king with his armies defeated, preemptively destroys his court and harem.


Turkish style alter from my church in New Orleans, Immaculate Conception known as the Jesuit church. This altar was built in 1867 of gilded bronze and won first prize in the Paris Exposition of 1867. The altar was designed by James Freret of New Orleans, but was constructed in Lyons, France. There are more than 600 pieces to this altar.




French porcelain clock surmounted with Turbaned Turkish warrior 1840's


From my collection Turkish style French gold mourning brooch 1850's, Notice the detailed Arabic or Turkish engraving  




From my collection 1840's Louis Philippe period Old Paris porcelain Cigar ashtray in the Turkish style with a woman in Turkish costume smoking a cigar on a couch. 


French Bronze Turkish Market Clock, late 19th century, formed as an onion-domed temple, cast and engraved with scrollwork throughout, with blue enameled numerals to dial




From my collection a large Napoleon lll 1850's Old Paris blaster vase with painted Turkish harem scene


From my collection detail of a Napoleon lll 1850's Old Paris blaster vase with painted Turkish harem scene


Old Paris porcelain clock mid 19th century of a Turbaned Turkish warrior attacking animal


A pair of Old Paris porcelain Jacob Petit scent bottles of a Sultan and Sultana 1850's



A mid 19th century French Bronze and Onyx clock made for the Turkish Market. 8 day time and strike movement with porcelain numeral gilded dial, in a gilded Bronze case with scrolled top and Dragon supports on a shaped base with Green Onyx insert.


French Old Paris porcelain mid 19th century Rococo Revival clock The rococo revival base with a white Roman numeral dial over a central floral reserve, all against a blue gilt enhanced ground, surmounted by a figure of a seated Turkish woman holding a dove


From my collection 1850's Jacob Petit Old Paris porcelain figure of a Turkish Sultana


From my collection detail of 1850's Jacob Petit Old Paris porcelain figure of a Turkish Sultana


From my collection 1840's Jacob Petit Old Paris porcelain clock with a Turkish Sultana on animal pelt  


From my collection detail of 1840's Jacob Petit Old Paris porcelain clock with a Turkish Sultana on animal pelt  


A Turk smoking automaton, circa 1890, L. Lambert, France





From my collection 1840's Boulle tortoiseshell, ebony, gilt ormolu  and mother-of-pearl in the Turkish style mantel clock made in Faubourg Saint-Antoine Paris



Jean-August-Dominique Ingres, Le Bain turc (1862)


7 comments:

  1. Agreed..the French Turkish style was not a accurate copy of Real Turkish Style but a romanticised version of Turkish life. I mean if that Jacob Petit Old Paris porcelain sultana walked down the streets of Constantinople looking like that, the Turks would have been very surprised :)

    But it was very exotic.. very different from the normal run of decorative arts. That Turkish style altar from the Jesuit church must have bowled the congregants over! No wonder it won first prize in the Paris Exposition of 1867.

    Mind you, I would say exactly the same thing about the passion for Japanese taste in Europe at the end of both the 18th and 19th centuries.

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  2. Hi friend. Thanks for your comment. Yes My Turkish Sultana clock it quite colorful and flamboyant but I love her. I have a up and coming blog on French Japanese style and also Marie Antoinette's collection of 17th & 18th century Japanese lacquer. My church in New Orleans is all done in the Turkish/Moorish Style architecture even the stain glass windows made by Nuns in France in the 1850's it is over the top.

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  3. Lovely post and pics Andrew!

    I am of Turkish heritage and am only recently cottoning on to this European re-imagining of our cultural forms! It reminds me of Mozart's 'Rondo Alla Turca' which sounds remarkably un-Turkish!

    That being said, I have always been drawn to Ingres and the Odalisque, though when I first encountered it many years ago(in a book) I had no idea that the "oda" being referenced was the Turkish word for room.

    There was a great presentation about this painting at NGA Washington, which you can listen to here(scroll down to August)

    Venus as Odaliasque: Ingres' Re-imagining of the Female Nude

    Kind Regards
    H Niyazi
    Three Pipe Problem
    3pipe.net

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  4. Thanks H Niyazi. I'm happy you like the post. Ingres did quite a few Turkish style paintings. In Baltimore, Maryland at the Walters Museum of Art we have one titled "Odalisque with Slave". Although we have 4 Ingres in that museum alone.

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  5. Cheers Andrew! I'd love to visit the Walters MoA one day - it has my favourite Alma-Tadema "A Roman Emperor" and a great collection of Islamic illuminated Manuscripts - which they regularly post fascinating images of via Twitter.

    Kind Regards
    H

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  6. I wonder if you can help. Charles Dickens wrote, in SKETCHES BY BOZ (1836-7) "his eyes rolling like those of a Turks’s head in a cheap Dutch clock". I've been searching Google Images but can't find anything closer than your clocks!

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  7. Pourquoi écrire "à la turc"? C'est feminine, donc "à la turque".

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