VOYAGE PITTORESQUE DE CONSTANTINOPLE ET DES RIVES DU BOSPHORE. [A PICTURESQUE VOYAGE TO CONSTANTINOPLE AND THE SHORES OF THE BOSPHORUS].
(Bern: Ertug & Kocabiyuk, 2002). 670 x 508 mm. (26 3/8 x 20"). 3 p.l., 10 pp.,  leaves. No. 46 OF 50 SPECIALLY BOUND COPIES (of a total edition of 350).
Publisher's scarlet morocco by Buchbinderei Burkhardt AG, covers with gilt-rolled border, cornerpieces tooled in gilt, upper cover with gilt calligraphic Arabic centerpiece, lower cover with gilt central heraldic device, marbled endleaves, all edges gilt. With a portrait frontispiece of Emperor Selim III, 48 DOUBLE-PAGE PLATES, AND THREE DOUBLE-PAGE MAPS. A virtually as-new copy.
This is one of the deluxe copies of a modern facsimile of Melling's massive and magnificently illustrated work devoted to 18th century Constantinople, a book that provided the earliest interior views and plans of the harems and palaces of Sultan Selim III when it was published in 1819. The illustrations remain the best (and certainly most attractive) record we have of the city during this era in its history. Our edition was produced from a copy of the elephant folio first printing in the collection of the facsimile's publisher, Ahmet Ertug, with images faithfully reproduced in their original mammoth size (650 x 970 mm.). In 1795 architect and painter Antoine Ignace Melling (1763-1831) arrived in Constantinople and was soon appointed imperial architect by Selim III. In the course of his duties, he designed and landscaped a seaside palace for Selim's sister, Princess Hatice, and produced these striking panoramic views of the city and its environs. After completing a number of building projects for Selim, including Princess Hatice's palace, he returned to Paris and in 1804 issued a prospectus for this work. He established an engraving studio in 1809 to reproduce these drawings and began publishing the completed prints as a series of fascicles that were sent to subscribers. The last one appeared in 1819. The outstanding success of an exhibition of the paintings on which the "Voyage Pittoresque" was based earned Melling the rank of painter to the Empress Josephine. When "Voyage Pittoresque" was originally published, booksellers in England sold copies for 80 guineas (£84), a huge sum for a book at the time. The book in pleasing condition now fetches between $75,000 and $100,000. Our handsomely bound facsimile offers an attractively priced alternative. (CJW1322)