A Double Perspective and a Lost Rivalry: Ogier de Busbecq and Melchior Lorck in Istanbul

  • Barnaby Rogerson


The double perspective offered up by a pairing of artist and writer can leave a transfixing legacy. Take Restoration London as an example. It is almost impossible to visualise the city without viewing it through the engravings of Wenceslaus Hollar and the diaries of Samuel Pepys. As Hollar depicts London Bridge decorated with the decapitated heads of traitors, it also comes alive as the place where the naval secretary Pepys took his brief pleasure with prostitutes. Similarly, eighteenth-century Venice is forever caught by the accidental double-act of Canaletto and Casanova, rural nineteenth-century Russia by that of Ilya Repin and Leo Tolstoy, while arguably the befogged nineteenth-century London conjured up by both Turner and Charles Dickens still dominates our perception of that city.


Arab Horse Ancient Coin Double Perspective Royal Museum Passionate Artist 
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  1. 1.
    See Graham Parry, Hollar’s England: A Mid-Seventeenth-Century View (London: Russell, 1980).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Edward Seymour Forster, trans., The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq Imperial Ambassador at Constantinople, 1554–1562 (1927; rpt. Oxford: Clarendon, 1968), and J. M. Rogers and R. M. Ward, Siileyman the Magnificent (New York: Tabard, 1988).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Herman Hesse, Narziss and Goldmund, trans. Geoffrey Dunlop (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For discussion of the date of composition, see Erik Fischer, Melchior Lorck: Drawings from the Evelyn Collection at Stonor Park, England, and from the Department of Prints and Drawings, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Copenhagen. (Copenhagen: Royal Museum, 1962), p. 24.Google Scholar
  5. See also Erik Fischer, ‘Melchior Lorck, a Dane as Imperial Draughtsman in the 1550s’, in The Arabian Journey, exhibition catalogue (Arhus: Prehistoric Museum Moesgard, 1996),Google Scholar
  6. Peter Ward-Jackson, ‘Some Rare Drawings by Melchior Lorichs’, Connoisseur (March 1955), pp. 83–93.Google Scholar
  7. The View is also discussed and reproduced in a series of plates in Eugen Oberhummer, Konstantinopel unter Sultan Siileyman dem Grossen Aufgenommen im Jahre 1559 durch Melchior Lorichs aus Flensburg (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1902).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Philip Mansei, ed., The Turkish Letters by Ogier de Busbecq (London: Sickle Moon, 2001), p. 4. My subsequent comments here on Busbecq are indebted to Mansel’s historical introduction, and to the same author’s Constantinople: City of the Worlds Desire (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1997).Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Augerius Gislenius Busbequii, Legationis Turcicae Epistolae Quatuor (Paris, 1589).Google Scholar

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© Barnaby Rogerson 2005

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  • Barnaby Rogerson

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