The Man, his Voyage, his Life…


Tinco Eyes Vernet

Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt was an interesting man. Raised in a wealthy, aristocratic family in The Netherlands, he spent the second half of his life as a scion of the international high society on the French Côte d’Azur, at the time of the “Belle Epoque”. In 1865, still a young man, he undertook a solitary voyage of over three years that took him through Russia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. Born in the reformed church, he became a catholic at an early age. And, despite his flamboyant years in Cannes, he was a pious man who gave away fortunes to good deeds and religious works.

He published his travel observations in a 2,200 page, 4 volume opus in French. It was never translated, but often quoted. During his stay in the Middle East, he encountered many personalities – from local merchants to the ‘scandalous’ Jane Digby and even the shah of Persia. His first-hand account of life and events in the Middle East in the mid 19th century offers a wealth of insights. He amassed a formidable collection of objects – from simple clothes bought on street markets to Qajar objects and paintings, and some genuine archaeological finds of his own. He donated this collection to the city of Cannes, where it became the cornerstone of the municipal museum.

There is no straightforward answer to the question as to why this fascinating person has virtually disappeared from our collective knowledge. Was it his lifestyle, his eccentricity, his religion – or simply the fact that he lived ‘on the edge’ in both his native Frisia and his adopted Cannes?

Perhaps we will learn more through the journey that this web site embarks on. Its purpose is to bring together everyone who takes an interest in Tinco Lycklama. It seeks to uncover all the bigger and smaller facts of his life which, together, may help us to get a clearer picture of the man, but also of his legacy in writing and deeds.

Be welcome to contribute. But, most importantly, enjoy the voyage!