Turkey – Topkapi Palace
In the upper gallery of the Topkapi Palace, 37 portraits of different sultans are displayed in chronological order. Most of them are copies; their originals are in various European countries today.
The portrait of Sultan Mehmet II was painted by the Italian painter G. Bellini in the 15th century, and is in the National Gallery of London. The portrait on display is a copy made by the palace painter Zonaro in the early 1900’s.
The portrait of Sultan Murat V is attributed to the Russian court painter Aiwazowski (19th century), while the portrait of Sultan Abdulaziz (19th century) is attributed to the Polish painter Clobowski. Moreover, there are many more portraits of other sultans to see, including one of Sultan Selim II by Constantin from Kapidag.
There is also the interesting clock collection near the hall of sacred relics in the previous weaponry treasury. The clocks in Topkapi Palace were not exhibition objects, originally, but were for the daily use of the sultans. Some of them were manufactured in the Ottoman Empire, while others reached the Ottoman court through foreign rulers and dignitaries.
Between the 16th and 19th centuries all of them were used in the palace. They are of special historical value, as the production techniques are unique to their period. The clocks in the collection mainly come from England (Markwick-Markham and Henry Borrell from London), France (Pierre le Roy, George and Edward Prior), Russia, Austria and Switzerland (Abraham Louis Bregnet). Almost 30 clocks are of Turkish origin.
Some of these clocks are made of silver. They are gold-plated and ornamented with precious stones. Interesting are two gold-plated birdcages, which incorporate clocks within them, and a French astronomy set which has a clock inside.