Centre for Continuing Education

History Course: 17-18th Century Ottoman and European Art and Fashion

History. See the future. It’s in the past.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses online and in-person. Please check the delivery format of each class before enrolling.

Please note that course materials (excluding prescribed texts) are shared electronically within 48 hours of course commencement. Printing is not available.

Come along to this history course and learn about Turquerie – a fashion and art trend popular in Western Europe from the 17th to 18th centuries that imitated aspects of Turkish art and culture.

The art trend inspired by ‘all things Turkish’ influenced European aristocracy and elite in Paris, London, Saxony, Poland, Sweden and other capitals. Turquerie affected most aspects of European cultural creativity including costumes, paintings, architecture, music, theatre, plays, ballets and operas. Ottoman art and culture inspired European aristocracy, including Louis XVI, Madame de Pompadour and Marie Antoinette.

Concurrently, at the Ottoman court in Istanbul, the love of flowers by the sultans ushered in the Tulip Age (1718-30), reflected in the works of court poet Nedim. The Tulip Age epitomised the ‘opening to the West’ and ‘all things European’ influenced art and architecture in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman rococo and baroque styles blossomed throughout the century with distinctively Ottoman flair.


The aim of the course is to provide you with an understanding of the cultural and artistic exchanges between the Ottoman Empire and European court in the 18th century.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • discuss the nature of 18th century artistic trend in Europe and the Ottoman Empire
  • identify the simultaneous aesthetic developments in Paris and Istanbul
  • analyse historical continuity
  • develop and extend your knowledge and understanding of cultural, artistic and political influences on 18th century art in European courts and Ottoman Istanbul
  • appreciate the cross-cultural interactions that shaped 18th century art.


Introducing Turquerie

  • Süleyman Ağa and 17th century French theatre
  • The influence of The Tales of the Arabian Nights and French theatre
  • Mozart and music
  • Turquerie as status and power: ceremonial and public processions, and an audience with the sultan
  • Public carnivals
  • The influence of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
  • The French Royal Family
  • Turquerie and architecture: Europe – Istanbul exchanges

Opening to the west

  • Ottoman-European diplomatic interactions in the 18th century

Contextualising 18th century Ottoman art: Mediating between East and West

  • The Ottomans: Looking East, looking West – a brief overview
  • ‘The Tulip Age’ (1718-1730): The ‘myth’ of westernisation and:
    • Turkish historiography
    • Turkish nationalist paradigm
    • ‘The Tulip Age’: A symbolic interpretation
  • The westernisation of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century: An overview
  • The western ~ eastern ~ Ottoman?

Ottoman rococo: Original, adaptation or imitation

  • Ottoman Köşk (kiosks), Kasır (pavilions) and Yalı (seaside mansions)
  • Yalı: Bosphorus waterside mansions

Ahmet III – The Tulip Sultan

  • 1705: The Fruit Room
  • 1719: Library of Ahmet III
  • Age of Water: Rococo Imperial Fountains
    • 1728: Fountain of Ahmet III at Topkapı Palace Gate
    • 1728: Ahmet III Fountain at Üsküdar
    • 1732: Tophane Fountain of Mahmut I and others

1722: Sa’dabad Palace (The Palace of Happiness) – the East-West fusion

  • Contextualising the Isfahan-Mughal exchange
  • The French exchange & the westernisation debate
  • Distinctively Ottoman: East-West fusion

1730-1789: The Age of Ottoman Rococo-Baroque Mahmud I (r.1730-54)

  • Şehzadegân Mektebi
  • The Nuruosmaniye Mosque (1748-55)

Osman III (r.1754-57)

  • Osman III Kiosk and the Topkapı Palace

Abdul Hamid I (r.1774-1789): Harem Apartments

  • The Has Oda of Abdul Hamid I
  • Apartment of the Haseki Sultan of Abdul Hamid I

Selim III (r.1789-1807) – The ‘Just Padishah’

  • Ottoman urban and religious rococo
  • Meşk Odası of Selim III and the Mihrişah Valide Sultan (1789-1805) apartment

Harem & Turquerie

  • The handkerchief has been thrown!
  • The Valide Sultan meets Madame de Pompadour and Queen Marie Antoinette

Intended audience

Anyone interested in extending their knowledge of 18th century Ottoman and European art history with a revisionist, inclusive and global approach.



Delivery style

  • Lecture with audio-visual presentation
  • Discussion with interactive Q&A
  • Analysing written and visual sources
  • Researching materials and images of art works when required


Please bring a notebook and pen, laptop, or tablet for the research tasks and note taking.

Recommended reading

Kuban, D. 2010, Ottoman Architecture, Antique Collectors' Club, Suffolk, England.

Levey, M. 1976, The World of Ottoman Art, Thames & London, London, UK.

Rustem, U. 2019, Ottoman Baroque: The Architectural Refashioning of Eighteenth-Century Istanbul, Princeton University Press, New Jersey.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

History Course: 17-18th Century Ottoman and European Art and Fashion

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