Antoine Ignace Melling was trained in both architecture and painting. At the age of 19, he went to Constantinople as part of the Russian Ambassador’s retinue. After successfully completing several commissions for Hatice Sultan, the sister of Selim III, which included the renovation of her palace at Ortakeï. Melling was employed as the Sultan’s architect in 1795. His position as royal architect gave him a privileged opportunity to observe the Ottoman court. (The description is a reworking of the description on the website of Donald A. Heald Rare Brooks).