Early 19th century watercolour drawing of Constantinople by Antoine-Ignace Melling – estimate €50,000-60,000 at Ivoire Troyes.

Image copyright: Mirabaud-Mercier/Drouot

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It is by Antoine-Ignace Melling (1763-1831), an artist who arrived in Constantinople aged 21. In 1795 he became imperial architect to the Ottoman Sultan Selim III producing numerous drawings of the palace, the court, the city and its surroundings.

Melling stayed until 1802, the date this work was made, and during the latter years was occupied with making a series of drawings for publication as a Voyage pittoresque de Constantinople et des rives du Bosphore. The work was published in Paris between 1809-19 with engravings after Melling’s drawings. This particular composition relates to plate 14 of the Voyage pittoresque…

The auction house discovered the drawing, which had been kept in a family attic for years, during a valuation day in January. Measuring 18½in x 3ft 1in (47 x 94cm), executed in chalk, pen and ink, watercolour and gouache and signed and dated Melling An 1802 lower left, it has an estimate of €50,000-60,000.