Turkish costume in eighteenth century pastel

Saunders, John. John Sturges in Turkish costume with turban and embroidered coat.

Peterborough, 1739.

Pastel on paper, laid onto canvas stretched over (original?) wooden board (305 x 410 mm).


This pastel was drawn by the prolific itinerant portraitist John Saunders (1682-c. 1758) at Peterborough in September 1739. Saunders is recorded as active in East Anglia, the Midlands and elsewhere in the mid-18th century (cf. Neil Jeffares, "John Saunders", Dictionary of Pastellists Before 1800 [London, 2006]). The sitter, John Sturges in Turkish costume, wearing a white turban with blue feather and golden embroidered coat, was probably drawn from a mezzotint after John Vanderbank (1694-1739) by Francis Kyte (d. 1744), published in 1733. The pastel is of interest as an example of mid-18th century depiction of Turkish costume. Saunders, perhaps in an attempt to add extra exoticism to Mr. Sturges, has included a curling moustache that is not present in the mezzotint. Sturges, an architect based in the East Midlands, is known to have collaborated with William Talman (1650-1719) at Chatsworth and Milton House in Northamptonshire. The fact that this pastel was produced in Peterborough may indicate some connection with descendants of Sturges, assuming that he himself was dead by 1739. The Fitzwilliam Museum holds a drawing of John Sturges by John Vanderbank (wash on paper, PD.1-1992).

Verso with label bearing 19th century manuscript note concerning the autograph pencil inscription by Saunders top right: “Saunders pinxit after Mr. J[oh]n Vanderbank Peterborough Sept. anno d. 1739”. Two negligible scratches to surface, otherwise good, offered without frame.

Stock Code: BN#32144 Tags: , ,