Ottoman Antiques for Sale in the UK: Classic, Historic Items to Look For

Ottoman antiques for sale in the UK often have distinctive, intricate, colorful patterns and bold colors. You may even find Ottoman antiques for sale in the UK from the 16th or 17th centuries.

Ottoman antiques for sale in the UK often have distinctive, intricate, colorful patterns and bold colors. You may even find Ottoman antiques for sale in the UK from the 16th or 17th centuries.

A Guide to Ottoman Antiques for Sale in the UK

You are in the market for antiques for sale in the UK, and prize elegant, time-honored pieces that are resonant with history and tradition. Ottoman antiques have distinctive touches, styles and materials that set them apart from other types of artwork. The Ottomans were adept calligraphers, silversmiths and created distinctive embroidery. In addition, they developed tools and decorative weapons that served a double purpose of display and practical use. Art was a status symbol for the Ottomans as it is, to some extent, today. You can find rare treasures from the Ottoman Empire to display in your home or gallery.

The Art of the Ottomans

The Ottoman Empire began in the late 13th century under Osman I in Anatolia. It brought the Byzantine Empire to an end in 1483 when Constantinople was conquered by Mehmed the conqueror. The height of the Ottoman Empire was in the 16th and 17th centuries under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, and contained parts of Asia, Europe and North Africa. It is difficult to find antiques for sale from the earliest periods of the empire, but you can find antiques for sale in the UK that date back from the 17th and even the 16th centuries of the Ottoman Empire. The center of the empire was Turkey, but Arabic was spoken widely and the culture had a distinctly Persian flavor, with some Byzantine elements remaining. This multiculturalism found its way into the art of the Ottomans with Arabic calligraphy reaching a high standard, Byzantine illuminations gracing walls of stately homes and Persian-style miniatures providing elegant decorative touches. Intricately woven carpets were prized in homes and mosques.

Ottoman Silver Antiques

Ottoman silver bowls are often seen among antiques for sale in the UK

The art of silver engraving reached a high point in the Ottoman Empire. Antiques for sale in the UK often feature finely engraved bowls from the 18th or 17th century. The bowls were popular gifts at weddings, and often contained nature scenes with woodland animals. The art of engraving and chasing silver requires years of training with sharp instruments for engraving and blunt tools for chasing. The Seljuks who controlled Persia, Iraq and Azerbaidjan in the 11th and 12th century were known for their engraving skill that was adapted later by the Ottomans who conquered these areas. The metal work of the Ottoman period is characterized by regions, including Istanbul, Van, Caucasia and Bosnia. Istanbul engravings often have small inscriptions on metal seals while Van engravers employed a technique of fine-cutting the design into the background and filling it in with various metals which are heated, cooled and polished. Decorative and practical objects, such as bowls and boxes, had engravings as well.

Ottoman Embroidery

Antiques for sale in the UK may include Ottoman embroidery

Embroidery was valued by Ottomans for its practical uses as well as to commemorate weddings or other special occasions. Men embroidered in shops and often used rich silks with valuable highlights such as pearls and precious gems. For women, producing fine embroidery was a way of occupying themselves at home and for making a livelihood. Ottoman embroidered antiques for sale in the UK vary according to the periods during which they were produced. The 17th and 18th century Ottoman embroidery is characterized by tight motifs, bold colors and floral and leaf designs. Every embroidered piece had a border and a pattern in the middle that was repeated with the illusion of continuing past the border. Pomegranates and tulips were popular in designs, and red, blue, black and white were commonly used colors.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Ottoman embroidery was altered by European influences, such as rococo, and included a wider variety of plants and flowers as well as colors. Motifs became smaller and landscape designs were used in addition to the traditional patterns. Embroidered works were often made from flax and cotton thread spun at home, and more valuable pieces were made of silk threads.

Ottoman Pottery

Ottoman pottery antiques for sale in the UK are distinctive because of their white backgrounds displaying complex, colorful patterns. The style of pottery, known as Iznik, named after a city in Anatolia, has an earthenware base and an intricately patterned body. Originally, the designs were consistently made of cobalt blue and were intended to vie with Chinese porcelain creations. Over the years, a greater variety of arabesque patterns and colors developed, and greens, purples, black, yellows and reds were added. The blue and white ceramic period flourished in the 16th century, and one of the most famous pieces, a large blue and white ceramic lamp, belonged to the Omar mosque in Jerusalem and is currently on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Look for colorful gourds among antiques for sale in the UK

Not all Ottoman pottery, however, is white with colorful patterns. While motifs featuring flowers and leaves are frequently seen in ceramics from this period, in the 18th century and later, many pieces abandoned the white background in favor of darker colors, such as jade green with flower and leave flowers painted or etched in black. Gourd engraving was also a common practice, and when looking for antiques for sale in the UK, you might make a rare find of a painted gourd. Some have nature or city scenes. An Algerian engraver, master Hamouda Ben Ehaj, engraved a scene of the city of Istanbul onto a gourd in the 19th century.

Antiques for Sale in the UK with an Ottoman Flavor

The Ottoman’s art and culture was as diverse and rich as its empire with a mixture of various geographical areas, languages and traditional influences. Silver pieces, carpets, ceramics all changed throughout the centuries with new influences and designs. However, many of the natural themes and finely crafted motifs and patterns remained as characteristic of art from this empire. Browse through antiques for sale in the UK and you will be able to spot Ottoman pieces with their characteristic complex patterns in a dizzying array of colors and styles.