Tinco Lycklama knew how to play the piano. He also knew how to write music. We will soon discover whether his compositions are pleasant to the ear. Indeed, we have located and obtained copies of the partitures written by Tinco!
Tinco loved music. His mother played the harp. Tinco played the piano. We know this not only from his own writings, but also from news reports about how Tinco entertained at the Villa Escarras in Cannes.
The guests at Tinco’s parties enjoyed performances by the orchestra of the Cercle Nautique, led my Mr. Brick. Tinco also invited Antoine Oudshoorn (1833-1906), who played with the orchestra of Monte Carlo and was the solo violoncellist of Willem III, King of The Netherlands. One evening, Tinco joined pianist Charles Dupart for a demonstration of piano four hands.
During his travels through the Middle East, Tinco was a welcome guests at parties organised by local notables and foreign diplomats. He played the piano at the residence of Charles Alison, the British minister plenipotentiary at Tehran. During his stay in the Persian capital, he also befriended Mr. Rouillon, the French director of music at the service of Naser al-Din, the shah of Persia.
Interestingly, Tinco Lycklama also wrote music. We have been able to trace two compositions of him – “Les Gardes de Persepolis” (a march) and “Les Filles de Babylone” (a waltz). They were published in 1874, by the Belgian Jean-Baptiste Katto (1819-1898 – see IMSLP Petrucci Music Library…), whose had music publishing house in Brussels and Paris.
We have now obtained these works. It is more than likely that these compositions haven’t been performed since Tinco died in 1900. We will have musicians have a look at it. Both pieces are written for four hands piano. We hope to be able and share this music soon (and, fingers crossed that it’s any good!).
What do you do when you arrive in Baghdad? Well, you first go to the bank and get some money. Then you go look for a place to stay. You’ll also go to the post office, check your mail, and recover your luggage. And then you go and meet the consuls. At least, that’s what Tinco Lycklama did, all in one day – on December 4, 1866.
Tinco Lycklama started his ‘grand voyage’ in April 1865. He first travelled through Russia and the Caucasus, and then spent the winter in Tiflis, the capital of Georgia. Next, he spent seven months in Persia, mostly in Tehran. In October 1866, he headed south, via Qom and Isfahan, and visited the ancient site of Persepolis (a major moment of his life). Next, he travelled to the port city of Bandar Bushehr on the Persian Gulf. In 1867, he will return to Persia, but first he is going to discover Mesopotamia – the modern Iraq. Baghdad will be his base, from where he will do some archaeological excursions to places like ancient Babylon, Samarra and Ctesiphon.
This morning, Tinco woke up in some sort of anti-climax. His boat, the Dijla operated by the navigation company of the brothers Lynch and steaming over the Tigris river from Basra, had arrived at Baghdad shortly after midnight, when Tinco was deep asleep. It had anchored opposite the customs house. Tinco was neither a photographer nor a draughtsman, but we have a nice etching of William Perry Fogg, who recorded the Dijla at exactly the same spot eight years later, in 1874.
The first thing that sprang to Tinco’s mind was to send one of his servants to the Swiss merchants Weber, Jaeger & Wartman, who were also Tinco’s bankers. Mr. Weber himself turned up at the Dijla shortly later, and invited Tinco to stay at his home for a couple of days – just the time to look for decent lodgings for the next six months. We’ll see later that these Swiss merchants were very well connected throughout the Middle East. One of their associates will also accompany Tinco on his archaeological digs, and organize the shipment of Tinco’s collection of artefacts to Europe. Finance, trade, assistance… these Swiss were very active (as we saw when we discussed Tinco’s stay in Tabriz).
Tinco also went to recover his luggage. When leaving Tehran two months ago, he had sent his servant Reza Qoli directly to Baghdad (via Kermanshah), together with big travel cases. Reza Qoli had done his job well. The luggage just had to get through customs clearance (after all, this is the Ottoman Empire, and anything coming from Persia was per definition suspect). Of course, with a helping hand of Mr. Weber, the clearance became an easy formality.
Since the beginning of his voyage, Tinco had been travelling under the diplomatic protection of the French. He was a Dutchman, but The Netherlands had no formal representation in either Persia or Iraq. Hence, this was something Tinco had organized before leaving Paris, where he lived.
The previous winter, Tinco had spent many months in Tiflis, where he became close friends with the French consul, Charles Bugeaud, duc d’Isly (son of general Bugeaud, the legendary colonial administrator of Algeria). Later, in Tehran, Tinco was welcomed by Jacques-Adolphe Cousseau, comte de Massignac, the French minister plenipotentiary. In Baghdad, the French legation was once again his first visit. Like with his previous encounters, his meeting with consul Pierre Auguste Pelissier de Reynaud (1834-1884) was better than cordial. Pellissier’s father had served as well as the French consul in Baghdad.
Sir Arnold Burrowes Kemball (1820-1908), British Consul General in Bagdad – Photo by Camille Silvy, 1860 (Collection National Portrait Gallery)
During his travels, Tinco had also acquainted many British. In Tehran, he built close relationships with key people involved with the construction of the telegraph lines in Persia. And, he became a very close friend of the British minister at Tehran, Charles Alison. When travelling through Bandar Bushehr, this had given him easy access to the British consul Lewis Pelly (1825-1892), another key figure in Britain’s colonial administration. In Baghdad, the British courtesy to Tinco was extended by consul Arnold Burrowes Kemball (1820-1908). Kemball occupied that position since 1859, and in later years became a key diplomatic operator throughout the Middle East; he also was appointed the official attendant to Naser al-Din, the Shah of Persia, on the latter’s visit to England in 1873.
A lot of activity on Tinco’s first day in town! Then again, Tinco had a big agenda for his six months in Bagdad, so he’d better get organized straight away. He was planning many field trips to explore the ancient sites of Mesopotamia, in the footsteps of Sir Henry Rawlinson who, in the 1840s-50s was not only a British political agent but also did significant archaelogical work and contributed massively to the early collections of the British Museum.
But, besides exploring and digging, Tinco was also to develop a pretty close relationship with Mehmed Namik Pasha (1804-1892), the viceroy of Baghdad (who later became a key minister to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire). We’ll discover a lot of interesting anecdotes about Tinco’s stay in Iraq!
For now, Tinco will spend a couple of days walking the town, looking for a nice house for him and his servants. Noblesse oblige!
Five days ago, Tinco finally walked the soil of Mesopotamia. The experience was short-lived, as he’s been spending most of his time on water, on his way to Bagdad.
On November 28, 1866, Tinco had crossed the Persian Gulf and reached the Chatt-el-Arab. Here, at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, he transferred to a smaller boat that took him to Basra. He wasn’t particularly interested in this city, but he had to wait for the steamer that would take him to Bagdad. The caravanserai was in a very poor state, but he found refuge at the home of the patriarch of the local Armenian church.
Bagdad relied heavily on the transportation of goods from Basra. Since 1861, the Euphrates and Tigris Steam Navigation Company had obtained the concession for servicing the connection between the two cities. The company was founded by the English brothers Thomas Kerr and Stephen Finnis Lynch. In 1862, they employed their first steamboar, the City of London. In 1865, they added the Dijla to assure a more regular up- and downstream service.
It was on the Dijla (Arabic for Tigris) that Tinco embarked. Unfortunately, this boat sank in 1876, and we haven’t identified any pictures for it. The steamer was replaced in 1878 by the somewhat bigger and more powerful Blosse Lynch. The picture of that ship may give an idea of how Tinco’s steamer looked like.
Tinco was the only European on board, and had the privilege of choosing the best cabin. An influent sheik from Bagdad had to go for second-choice, as he arrived a few hours late. The boat was full of Arabs, Turks and Persians, and they tended to keep to themselves. Fortunately, Tinco didn’t have to stay alone, as he was the guest of the captain whom he joined for all his meals.
The banks of the Tigris are very fertile and rich with crops and greenery. But, overall, the landscape was quite monotonous. The only distraction on board was watching how the skillful captain was navigating the reacherous and very sinuous river. The first stop was at Al Qurnah, at the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Shortly after entering the Tigris, the boat steamed past the Tomb of Ezra. This is considered the actual burial place of Ezra (fl. 480–440 BCE), the jewish scribe of whom it is said that he introduced the Torah to Jerusalem, and even that he may have been its author.
After two days of navigation and other stops ar Amarah and Kut al Amrah, they have arrived at an interesting spot on the Tigris. On the left bank, there is Ctesiphon – the ancient city founded in the 4th century BCE and at some point the capital of the Parthian empire. On the right bank lies Seleucia, founded in 305 BCE and capital of the Seleucid empire.
Tinco will come back to these places later and even do some digging there. For know, he is just admiring the view from the river. A welcome and majestic interruption from the boring voyage along the Tigris.
Sorry, folks, if we made the title sound sensational. But, a piece of factual information came to us – and we don’t wont to deprive you of it. And, it relates to the Kama Sutra.
Jelle Dickhoff in Leeuwarden is busy decyperhing private correspondance of Tinco Lycklama. Writing from Cannes, in a letter to his brother Augustinus dated 8 March 1887, Tinco says the following: “Dezer dagen kreeg ik een bezoek van Sir Richard Burton, een engelsche gentleman en reiziger in Afrika, die met Speke het meer Taganika ontdekte en ook naar Medina en Mekka reisden”. (“I recently received the visit of Sir Richard Burton, an English gentleman and Africa traveller, who discovered with Speke the Lake Tanganyika and also travelled to Medina and Mecca.”)
We won’t expand here on the biography of Sir Richard Burton (1821-190 – please check Wikipedia). The man certainly had a fascinating life and a strong sense for adventure – just like Tinco. Travelling with John Speke, Richard Francis Burton was the first European to see Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika, when searching for the source of the river Nile in the years 1858-60.
Richard Burton also had an interest in the topic of sexuality. This led him to team up with Forster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot and publish (in 1883) the first translation from Sanskrit of the Kama Sutra.
So, now we know from Tinco’s letters that he knew Sir Richard Burton. However, we don’t know yet why Burton came to visit Tinco in Cannes. Perhaps because of Burton’s general interest in world cultures and travel stories? There is a chance that Tinco met Burton in Damascus, in 1868. Tinco doesn’t mention Burton, but he writes about his visit to Edward Thomas Rogers, the British consul in that city. Richard Burton actually succeeded Edward Thomas Rogers as consul at Damascus in that same year. Perhaps he arrived before Tinco left. Or, he may have heard about Tinco from Rogers. Perhaps we will learn more about the relationship through other letters or souces.
We really don’t know whether Tinco read the Kama Sutra. But, wouldn’t you think that, four years after its publication, Richard Burton must have discussed it when he visited Tinco? There is no trace in Tinco’s library. However, it would be awkward if he hadn’t known about the Kama Sutra from a first-hand source, its editor.
We recommend burtoniana.org as an excellent source about Sir Richard Francis Burton.
Tinco Lycklama is boarding the Penine, an English steamer that will take him from Bandar Bushehr across the Persian Gulf to the mouths of the Tigris river. He spent nearly eight months in Persia. Next year, he will travel back to Tehran. But, for now, his mind is set on discovering Mesopotamia – the modern Iraq.
Tinco arrived at Bandat Bushehr on November 17. There wasn’t much to see in this harbour town. In fact, it was a most unhealthy place. It was hot – even in November – and because of the humidity of the surrounding marshlands and the very poor sewer systems, it was full of nasty insects and had a permanent, terrible smell. Not a good place for our young Frisian gentleman!
Actually, Tinco arrived in poor health and had early signs of typhoid. That was the main reason why he delayed his departure for Iraq. Fortunately, with a solid dose of quinine (never leave home without it) and the concoctions of an Armenian doctor, he recovered pretty well.
He had in his pocket a fine recommendation from his close friend Charles Alison, the British minister plenipotentiaty in Tehran. His first visit was to the British resident at Bandar Bushehr, colonel Lewis Pelly (1825-1892 – later Lieutenant general and a Member of Parliament in London). Pelly turned out to be as amiable and helpful as Alison was, and Tinco enjoyed the hearty welcome.
Whereas the Russians had a dominant diplomatic presence in Tehran and northern Persia, Bandar Bushehr and the coast line around the Gulf were British ‘territory’. In fact, ten years earlier, Bandar Bushehr was briefly occupied by the British during a military conflict with Persia. Their presence was not just commercial but heavily political and military.
For Tinco, there really was no good reason to spend too much time at Bandat Bushehr. However, it was the occasion for him to appreciate how important this city still was as one of the major ports of Persia and an important stop on the shipping routes towards the Far East. In the past, the Dutch East Indies Company had a significant presence in this town, and the remaining ruins of Fort Riché were a reminder of that. However, the Dutch currently didn’t have any diplomatic presence at Bandar Bushehr – nor anywhere else in Persia, for that matter.
Perhaps Tinco played a role in changing that. During his stay at Bandar Bushher, he made the acquaintance of captain Meyer, who was delivering a cargo of sugar from Batavia (Java). Meyer told Tinco about the difficulties in trading with Persia. For instance, the Dutch imports were taxed higher than those from other nations, and there was no Dutch political presence to influence any change.
Back in Tehran, Tinco had discussed with Naser al-Din Shah the old connections between Holland and Persia, and both regretted the absence of formal relationships today. After talking to captain Meyer, Tinco decided to write to the appropriate minister at The Hague and ask the government to consider establishing some presence at Bandar Bushehr. Fifteen months later, his wish came true.
Coincidence? Though we haven’t yet identified the archival records to back it up, it is quite possible that Tinco Lyckama addressed his letter to the Dutch premier, Julius van Zuylen van Nijevelt (1819-1894), who was also the minister for Foreign Affairs. Shortly after, the Dutch government offered to Dr. Johann Schlimmer (1819-1881) the position of Dutch honorary consul general in Persia.
Readers will remember that Tinco stayed with Johann Schlimmer during his visit to Isfahan. Schlimmer was a very respected Dutch doctor who had been an instructor at the Dar ul-Funun polytechnic at Tehran. Schlimmer himself had been an advocate for the establishment of formal trade relations. But, he refused the post. Instead, Richard Keun became the first Dutch consul at Bandar Bushehr, in February 1868. The latter was the son of a merchant family that was well established at Izmir, in the Ottoman empire.
It seems that Keun sometimes mixed official duties with personal interests, and Dr. Schlimmer was appointed a few years later to have some supervisory role over Keun. However, in general, the Dutch relationship with Persia remained quite low profile, despite the state visit of Naser al-Din Shah to The Netherlands in 1889. Perhaps Tinco should have played a more active role?
Today, November 26, Tinco picks up his luggage and, in the company of two servants, he heads for the beaches where small boars are waiting for him to take him to the Penine – anchored a few miles off-shore. On his way, he meets a sad funeral procession. They are carrying Ali Beg, Tinco’s loyal servant throughout his stay in Persia. Whereas Tinco had recovered from his illness shortly after arriving at Bandar Bushehr, Ali Beg was less fortunate and had passed away because of typhoid.
On the Penine, Tinco was wondering about the next adventures on his fabulous voyage. In two days, he would reach Basra, on the Shatt al-Arab.
Tinco Lycklama visits the ruins of Bishapur, one of the capitals of the Sassanid Empire (224-651 CE). But, Tinco is particularly attracted by the grotto where, it is said, he could find the rests of a magnificent statue of the Sassanid king Shapur I (c215-270 CE). As you can guess from the pictures, the climb to the cave was quite adventurous. The cave was discovered in 1811 by Major Stone, a member of the expedition led by William Ouseley. He found the statue of Shapur partly smashed and laying on the floor, covered by sand. Orginally, it measured 6.7 meters and was totally carved out of a natural stalactite in the middle of the cave. Tinco Lycklama saw the statue like that, more or less like in the drawing by Eugène Flandin from 1841. Tinco hoped that someone would come soon to excavate this massive statue and restore it to its former glory. Tinco’s wish came true – but only 69 years later, in 1935.
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Location of the Mudan-e Shapur cave, in the valley of Tang-e Chogân
Tinco Lycklama’s opus – his Voyage en Russie, en Perse, etc… – was published in 4 volumes. He started writing and publishing them once he settled in Cannes – one volume every year, between 1872-75. The books offer a chronology of his voyage and can thus be read as a travelogue. Tinco also presents each volume as a thematic book. The first two volumes were dedicated to Russia and Persia. We have now arrived at the start of his third volume – containing two thematic ‘books’: “La Babylonie“, and “L’Assyrie“.
Tinco’s third volume coincides with his departure from Persia. In the book about Assyria,he takes us back to Tehran, and then travels through the north of Iraq, via places like Erbil and Mosul. But most of the third volume is dedicated to Babylonia, the region between and around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. He spends the winter in Bagdad, and takes us on some very interesting excursions such as a visit to the ancient Babylon, where he also proceeds with excavations (the first Dutchman – and one of the first Europeans – to do so).
For now, Tinco is still in Persia. He left Shiraz on November 7, and is progressing towards the port city of Bender Bushir (from where he will cross the Persian Gulf). Though he is eager to discover new lands and to enter the Ottoman empire (to which current Iraw belonged), his journey is not a straight line, as there are some interesting things to see along the way.
After stopovers at Khane Zenian and Mian Kotel, he arrived last night at Kazerun. This is an old city that predates the islamic era. Like other travellers, such as Arthur de Gobineau, Tinco appreciates the original beauty of the city but observes as well that it is in total ruins. Whereas Shiraz was a city of cypresses, Kazerun was a city of palms, but its pre-medieval buildings had lost their lustre. Tinco Lycklama offers us an interesting historical background about Kazerun, which is something that previous travellers had not done in their own travel accounts.
Instead of travelling straight south to Bandar Bushir, Tinco deviates to the north, towards the village of Shahpur. Tomorrow, Tinco wants to visit the old Bishapur, one of the capitals of the Sassanid dynsasty, which came to a fall with the start of Persia’s islamic era in 651 CE. Actually, the roads that Tinco was travelling were the old roads that linked the city of Estakhr (also a Sassanid capital, on the edge of Persepolis) with Shahpur.
At Shahpur, Tinco is received by Mirza Ghulam Hoceim, the local mayor. It is one of his friendliest encounters in Persia, as the Mirza does everything to please Tinco and generously invites him to spend the night at his house. We haven’t been able to locate it (if it subsists at all), but it consisted of two towers that remained from an old ruined castle.
Tomorrow, Tinco will visit the ruins of the old Sassanid capital, and the caves with the impressive statue of Shapur I. As a good host, Mirza Ghulam Hoceim will accompany Tinco and, for safety, they take an escort of ten soldiers along. You can’t be too prudent.
BREAKING NEWS – 02/10/2016. At an auction today in Munich (D), Wibo Boswijk for the Tinco Lycklama Foundation (a non-profit, based in The Netherlands) has been able to recover two exceptional family items of the Lycklama à Nijeholt, a Dutch aristocratic family in the province of Friesland. It concerns…
These were respectively the grandfather and the father of Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900), the orientalist. The latter derived his title of “jonkheer” from this Patent of Nobility awarded to his grandfather. Both items have left the Netherlands over a century ago, and never returned. The destination of these items will be communicated later.
Tinco Lycklama Foundation takes a forgotten travel account from 1866 to the public and international audiences through a novel learning experience.
Amsterdam/Cannes, October 29, 2016 —– For the first time, the travel account of a forgotten Dutch traveller about his visit to the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis is now available to the public in English and Dutch. In a novel approach to learning about sites from antiquity, the original French text and its translations are combined with contemporary drawings and early photography. Through an online reader, the observations of a traveller can be understood through images by others. The dedicated http://www.inpersepolis.org web site offers over 600 illustrations, and links to the digitised travelogues from over 30 other early travellers who, over the course of three centuries, visited Persepolis. The intention of this project by the Dutch Tinco Lycklama Foundation is to complement the scholarly work and archaeological projects around Near Eastern antiquity. It offers the public a new experience that visualises how early travellers experienced antiquity at a time when little was known about these ancient sites.
On October 29, 1866, the Dutch traveller Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900) visited the 2,500-year old ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis. Lycklama is considered the first Dutch orientalist and the first among his countrymen who undertook digging at ancient sites in the Near East. After his return to his native Friesland in The Netherlands, he started a museum around the artefacts he brought along from his three and a half year voyage through Russia, Persia, Mesopotamia, and the Levant. His collections are now the cornerstone of the Musée de la Castre, the municipal museum of Cannes (France). Lycklama published a 2,200-page travel account, in French, and his valuable observations were never translated.
The Tinco Lycklama Foundation was recently created in The Netherlands and is dedicated to the study and revelation of remarkable but forgotten stories – like Lycklama’s. Through collaborative research and the virtual collection of digitised information and resources, it works on international projects that take forgotten knowledge to the public and revive the interest in a broad range of themes in history, heritage and culture.
InPersepolis – an innovative educational experience
The “InPersepolis” project is one example. The travel account by Tinco Lycklama was published in French shortly after his 1865-68 ‘grand voyage’ – and it was never translated. The Foundation extracted the 35 pages from his books that concern Persepolis and its region, and translated it into English and Dutch. Next, it researched the drawings and photography that date back to the timeframe of Lycklama’s visit, and combined these illustrations with Lycklama’s narrative. Finally, it also researched the accounts from other travellers since the early 17th century, and offers readers access to the online digitised copies of these travelogues – thus allowing a comparison of the observations from different moments, preceding the era of modern archaeology.
The result is a unique reader that allows users to discover the ancient city of Persepolis through the intimate observations from travellers. It helps the public to understand the amazement felt by these travellers when contemplating the colossal remains of such ancient sites – at a time when it was still very complicated to reach them and when travel was still a significant adventure.
The InPersepolis project will continue to evolve through the discovery of new illustration material and other forgotten travel accounts. It also sets the stage for similar projects that related to Tinco Lyckama’s other visits to sites from antiquity and his own digs for artefacts in the Near East – including Babylon, Niniveh and Palmyra. Lycklama was indeed the first Dutchman ever to undertake some (limited) excavations in the region. The project will take shape over the next two years, following the chronology of Tinco Lycklama’s own travel – hundred fifty years ago.
The non-profit Tinco Lycklama Foundation is developing international cooperation with major scientific institutions – including libraries, archives and museums – in order to turn these projects into a unique educational experience for students and the general public.
After spending thirteen days at Isfahan, the old capital of Persia under the Abassid dynasty, Tinco hit the road on October 21 and rushed southwards. Over the past five days, he travelled over 300 kilometers through arid terrain and across mountainous plateaus, staying at dusty little places like Mahyar, Maqsud Beyk, Shurjestan, and Surmaq.
He should have spent some time at Izad Khvast (often spelled Yezdegast in the past), because the place is remarkable for its landmarks stretching the whole islamic era until the Qajar period (the town is marked for the UNESCO World Heritage list). But Tinco was in a hurry, and he admits that it was a pity to have thrown just a glance at it.
This morning, Tinco left Dehbid – which was just a desolate courrier stop back then. The day was tough, as he had to cross some very difficult mountain passes. But, he knew where he was heading, and it was definitely worth the effort. Tonight, he sleeps at Meshed Morghab, a little village in a valley that holds a few treasures that he was keen to discover the next day.