The Banks Of The Black Water
Constantinople Late 19th Century

A postcard from another time: Constantinople, Istanbul or Stamboul in the nineteenth century as Francis O’Neill would have seen it. His employer’s ship The Jane Duncan would have navigated the busy waters of the Bosphorus before heading for the Black sea beyond. Imagine the sights and smells of the immense city, centre of a fading Ottoman empire. The epicentre would have been the Sultan’s palace. Called the Seraglio or Topkapi, it is a sprawling edifice of beautiful architecture and gardens.

If paintings of the time are anything to go by, many European visitors would have wondered salaciously at the harem of Odalisques within. O’Neill’s own account of his passage through does not dwell on such popular fantasies.

In a very different vein, here is a fine air from O’Neill’s collection called “The Banks of the Black Water”


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