Circle of Melchior Lorck
Flensburg circa 1527-1594 Copenhagen
Studies of Men and Women in Arab, Medieval and other Costumes

PROVENANCE: Anonymous sale, Christies London, 12 December 1985 (as circle of Melchior Lorck), lot 380; Private collection, England.

Extensively inscribed in pen and brown ink, numbered 46 in pen and brown ink in the upper right margin, pen and grey ink, watercolour, watermark horn

From left to right (1 First male Turbaned figure) Ein Arabi./Trk..sandel./ (2. Male Figure) Ein Tr./Arab. (3. Male figure with a Bow and sword) Ein .bogenshutzer/ (4.Pregnant Female Figure) Ein./ (5. A woman with a small urn round her neck) Ein (6. A Woman with her back to viewer and an urn beside her) Ein .. (7. A Woman in long flowing dress) Ein eib. Adrian/ople (8.Another woman in a long flowing Dress) Ein Janissary(9. A man holding a Flower) Ein

268 x 196 mm (10 1/2 x 7 3/4 in.)


This drawing probably dates to the late 16th early 17th century from the style of the drawing, inscription and watermark. Stylistically the drawing is reminiscent of Melchior Lorck, especially the elongated style of the figures. Indeed when the drawing was last on the market, over 25 years ago, it was sold as from the circle of Melchior Lorck. However Lorcks drawings are usually in pen and brown ink, not watercolour, like the present drawing. It is possible that our drawing is based on one of Lorcks own compositions, and Lorck is known to have worked extensively as an engraver.

Lorck initially worked with a goldsmith, where he learnt the art of engraving, and King Christian III of Denmark gave him an allowance to travel to the Netherlands and Italy. Later Lorck worked for the Imperial Court in Vienna which led to his appointment to be an official in the embassy in Constantinople. Prints made from Lorcks drawings of the inhabitants of the city became a major source of information about the Ottoman Empire.

Under each of the figures is a contemporary 17th century inscription in German, some of which is translatable, and identifies the figure, their origin, costume and occupation.