Opening of the «THOMAS HOPE: Drawings of Ottoman Istanbul» exhibition

Press Release

«THOMAS HOPE: Drawings of Ottoman Istanbul»


The Benaki Museum is organizing the exhibition of THOMAS HOPE: “Drawings of Ottoman Istanbul”, which is kindly supported by the Culture and Tourism Office of the Turkish Embassy in Athens. The exhibition presents 60 drawings from the 18th century Istanbul and consists a unique treasure of visual testimonies for the scholars of the Ottoman civilization.

During the opening of the exhibition, Olivier Descotes, Director of the Benaki Museum, said that it is an immense joy to host such an important exhibition, which apart from the aesthetic pleasure it offers to art enthusiasts, it constitutes an important early account for the 18th century Istanbul. The Ambassador of Turkey in Greece H.E. Mr. Kerim Uras, commenting on the exhibition added: “This exhibition is an inexhaustible corpus of material for anyone who wants to reconstruct a panoramic portrait of Istanbul in the 18th century with authentic representations of the landscape, architecture, residents and everyday scenes. It brings closer the two countries and, upon its completion, it will be transferred to Istanbul. There, the visitors will be able to discover the Istanbul of 18th century as well as the Istanbul of today. As a whole, Thomas Hope’s work will surely be appreciated by both the academic and art lovers communities.”

At the opening, Mrs. Aslı Aksungur, Culture and Tourism Attaché of the Turkish Embassy, Dr. Fani Maria Tsigakou, art historian and curator of the exhibition and Mina Moraitou, curator of the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art were also present.

The exhibition, which will last until the 25th of September, was inaugurated yesterday evening, at Benaki Museum of Islamic Art in the presence of numerous guests, including many artists, collectors, art lovers, academics, business people, journalists and diplomats. During their visit, the guests had the opportunity to watch closely Thomas Hope’s designs and gain a different perspective of a period rather poor in testimonies of Turkey, as it was the 19th century when most European artists made their way to the Middle East.

Thomas Hope seems to have been delighted by the capital of the Ottoman Empire as the thematic variety of designs that reflect the city is remarkable. Topographic views and folding panoramas of Istanbul and its environs, Ottoman palaces, halls of the seraglios, gates, mosques, funerary monuments, fountains, gates, the yalı on the Bosphorus, the sultan’s entertainments boats are also included in this group of works. Other scenes include market shops, coffee shops, images of various men, women with children of Istanbul, depictions of costumes, architectural details, accompanied by lengthy explanations and descriptions with comments.


Photo Caption: (From left to right) The Director of the Benaki Islamic Art Museum, Olivier Descotes, Mrs Zeynep Uras, wife of the Ambassador of Turkey in Greece, H.E. Mr. Kerim Uras, Ambassador of Turkey in Greece, Mrs. Aslı Aksungur, Culture and Tourism Attaché and Mina Moraitou, curator of the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art.


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