At the top left: Mustafa Aga Envoyé à la Cour de Suede Ao 1727
In 1727 Kozbekci Mustafa Aga was sent by the Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasha to the Swedish court. One of his missions was to recover the debt owed by the late King Karl XII of Sweden (1682-1718), who had spent five years in exile in Bender, on Ottoman soil. Though this was the first visit from such a high-ranking Ottoman envoy, he failed to realise payment from the Kings successor, his son Fredric I. Mustafa Aga is depicted here smoking a nargile, attended by his courtiers.
The original of this painting is Schröder's undoubted masterpiece, and is in a private collection in Sweden (see Eva-Lena Karlsson, 'Porträtt av osmanska sändebud i Bibysamlingen' in Minnet av Konstantinopel, Stockholm, 2003, pp.147-150). It was much reproduced, particularly in Sweden where the intrigue surrounding the visit of this exotic character and his retinue led to the production of numerous copies. The present version appears to be of the period in the eighteenth century, most likely to have been executed by Schröder and his studio. A further yet smaller version of this painting by Schröder, bearing the same inscription as the present work, hangs in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (NMGrh 498, see ibid, p.150), whilst a painting of Mustapha Aga with the same entourage is in the Suna and Inan Kirac Foundation Collection, housed in the Pera Museum, Istanbul (see G. Renda in Portraits from the Empire, exhib.cat., Istanbul, 2005, pp.54-55).
Georg Englehardt Schröder, a pupil of David von Kraft, executed the original painting 1727 soon after his return from Europe in 1725. He left Europe in 1718, having previously made short study trips to Venice and Brunswick, and spent the next seven years in Rome, Munich and London. Following this commission from Gustav Celsing he was later to portray Mustafa Aga's successor as an Ottoman envoy to the Swedish court, Mehmet Effendi, who visited Sweden in 1733.
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