A Swiss artist in the Ottoman Empire
We recently sold a fascinating collection of watercolours by Johann Jacob Falkeisen (1803-1883). This recently rediscovered group sheds new light on early industrial development in Turkey, providing a unique visual record of the area in and around Bursa and into the workings of industries at the heart of the Empire in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Falkeisen was born in Basel in 1803. He travelled to Bursa in 1843, visiting Athens and Constantinople on the way, to work in his family’s silk factory which was being run by his brother, who was also the Austrian Consul for Bursa. The Falkeisen factory was the first steam-powered silk-spinning factory in Bursa and manufactured silk thread.
The collection includes a group of watercolours illustrating the production of wine and raki at the Cave Grotto near Bursa, and the office of the firm of Falkeisen and Corney. The drawings document very precisely how wine and raki were made and stored and contain delightful and closely observed details of everyday life.