Following his defeat to Russia at the Battle of Poltava in 1709, the Swedish king Charles XII fled to the Ottoman Empire and took up a temporary residence in Bender, in today’s Moldova. From here, he dispatched three of his young officers on a journey from Constantinople to Cairo with the mission to make drawings of various sites, cities and monuments in the Ottoman Empire. One of them, Cornelius Loos, returned to the king’s camp with more than 250 drawings, most of which were lost in the so-called kalabalık in 1713. Fifty of them survived, having been kept under the king’s own bed.
Loos’ drawings are unique documents of Constantinople in the early eighteenth century, featuring vast, detailed panoramas, a large map of the city, and interiors of important buildings like the Hagia Sophia. They are accompanied by minor drawings of various sites throughout the Ottoman Empire, from the Black sea to the Pyramids in Gizeh.
The Loos collection, today kept in the National Museum in Stockholm, is here presented in its entirety for the first time, in illustrations and facsimiles, and in texts outlining their historical context and importance.
The Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul 2019
240 pages, hardcover, English, illustrated, with facsimiles of two panoramas and a map in a separate box