Venice: Francesco Ziletti. 1580. Edition: Second and best expanded Italian edition. , Binding: Contemporary vellum, expertly rebacked saving the original spine., Notes: Nicolas de Nicolay (1517–1583) was a French geographer. He travelled around Germany, Denmark, England, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey and served in the armies of most of these countries. On his return to France, Henry II made him Geographer Ordinary and Valet to the Chamber.
Published in 1567, Quatre premiers livres des navigations (Travels in Turkey) recorded Nicolay's observations about the Ottoman court and peoples from his 1551 mission to Istanbul on behalf of the French government. The book served as the first comprehensive survey of customs and costumes in the Ottoman world. Travels in Turkey achieved a high level of commercial success upon its release. It was later reissued and translated for a number of different countries. The widespread popularity of the book contributed to the proliferation of costume books throughout Europe at the end of the 16th century and continued to influence Orientalist artists well into the 19th century.
Travels in Turkey is divided in four books, following Nicolay's voyage to Istanbul, accounts of ethnic groups and Ottoman court life, and the religious and military administration in Istanbul. Louis Danet made 60 engravings based on Nicolay's original drawings, which serve as the core of the books, and each print is followed by a caption, describing Islamic ritual, religion and monuments. The images cover all aspects of Ottoman daily life, and depict figures ranging from sultans and sultanas to wrestlers, cooks and Janissary generals. The images are typical of costume books, and consist of lone figures, depicted on a very sparse background, which emphasizes the dress of the figure, rather than geography. In the costume book, figures are schematized and follow general types, and Brafman writes that "Nicolay, or his engravers, render facial expressions in an exaggerated style. Emotional reaction[s] are evoked artistically, whether it be identification with a mother, sympathy for a Christian slave, or fascination with exotic and 'monstrous' alien practice." While many drawings are faithful reproductions of the Turkish dressing of the time, others are more fanciful and may have been invented, such as the depictions of self-mutilating dervishes, as well as a kalendar with an exposed genital piercing, which would have been scandalous in Muslim society.
, Size: Quarto (280x195 mm). , Illustration: Complete with 67 plates, including the 7 additional plates particular to the 2nd Italian edition. Plates are full-page, depicting various costumes and characters observed by Nicolay during his journey through the Ottoman empire. Pagination follows 50, 52, 51, 52, 53… but text continuous; pg. 97 misnumbered as 79; pagination jumps from 142 to 145 but text continuous.
Translated by Francesco Flori., Pages: Title. Blank. Dedication. Table of contents (4). Index (8). Preface (8). P. 1 – 192. , Category: Book Costumes; Book Near East Turkey; Book Early Printed 1500;. A near fine example. Plates and text are clean and crisp; some pages with minor edgewear and occasional expert restorations. Item #B6786