Tinco’s musical compositions found.

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.

Antoine Oudshoorn (1833-1906), violoncellist
Antoine Oudshoorn

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!).


Was Tinco Lycklama the first Dutch archaeologist?

15/10/2016 – Today is International Archaeology Day. A fine occasion to turn the spotlight on the first Dutchman to dig at ancient sites in the Middle East. His name was Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900).

Tinco Lycklama

Fair enough, there were quite a few other Dutch archaeologists before Tinco Lycklama. Also, Tinco was not an archaeologist in the academic sense. Instead, he was one of the few 19th-century Westerners who travelled and described a large number of antique sites in Persia, Mesopotamia, Assyria, the Levant, and Palestine. But, when visiting this huge region, he also become the first Dutchman to put his hands in the sand and to take home some very original finds.

What is an “archaeologist”?

We’re not engaging a technical discussion about what makes an archaeologist – or what not. In a general fashion, William Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) is often considered to be the first scholar to pioneer a scientific and methodical approach in archaeology, and to apply it when he performed excavations at Tanis (Egypt), in 1884.

Prior to Petrie and his contemporaneans, many scholars had already developed archaeological theory and methods. However, they did so on the basis of ruins that were immediately visible to the eye – or they studied the objects that were brought to them by others. Objects where usually unearthed by “antiquarians” – travellers who sometimes digged for artefacts, but often simply bought them from locals that lived in the villages near the ancient sites. These people would not apply serious archaeological methods, nor did they benefit from modern techniques for detecting sites or dating objects.

Caspar Reuvens

The first formal academic chair in archaeology worldwide was created in The Netherlands in 1818, when Caspar Reuvens (1793-1835) became the world’s first archaeology professor at Leiden University. Reuvens was also the first director of the Dutch national museum of antiquities, the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden – also in Leiden. The scholars he trained would never dig in the Middle East, and most of them would focus on work in The Netherlands.

Tinco and the Middle East

Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt was not an academic. But, he studied at the universities of Groningen and Utrecht in the late 1850s, and had a passion for the Orient and its cultures. He went to Algiers to study Arabic, and stayed in Paris to perfect his knowledge of languages in the Middle East at the Ecole des Langues Orientales. There, he studied under Armand-Pierre Caussin de Perceval (1795-1871), and also had the opportunity to acquaint scholars such as Charles Schefer, William McGuckin and others. Tinco got his influences from these experts, who were internationally reknown for their knowledge of Arabic and/or Persian cultures and languages.

Tinco Lycklama’s “Voyage…”, in four volumes (photo courtesy of Librairie Hérodote)

In 1865-68, Lycklama spent three and a half years on a “grand tour“, which took him via Russia to the Caucasus and then to the Middle East. Persia was his major objective, but he also spent nearly two years travelling through Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine. He was a self-described tourist, and observed the peoples and cultures he encountered. he complemented this with study and history to write a 2,200-page opus about the regions he visited.

Archaeologist or antiquarian?

On Tinco’s travel agenda, visits to ancient sites were a prominent feature. He was keen on seeing with his own eyes what others had witenessed before him. He was well prepared, and had read the works of early travellers such as Pietro della Valle, Johann Albrecht von Mandelslo, Jean de Chardin, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Jean Thévenot – but also more recent ones such as Niebühr, Morier, Ker Porter, Flandin and Coste, and Dr. Brugsch. He took some of their books along, and walked in their footsteps along the roads they had taken (even though he had a preference for the authentic 17th-century routes).

The Lycklama Collection – First inventory of artefacts (1871)

He also behaved like a traditional antiquarian and – being a young and very rich aristocrat – he had the means to do so. He dealt with antiquity dealers in Tehran, Bagdad, Aleppo and Beirut, and also bought things from local diggers who were happy to sell “stones” to wealthy travellers. Lycklama brought home thousands of objects and built his own museum of antiquities in his native Beetsterzwaag. He then moved his “Lycklama Museum” to Cannes, France, and later donated his collections to the municipality (in 1877). The Lycklama collection still forms the cornerstone of the Musée de la Castre in that city.

Experiencing antiquity

But, interestingly, Tinco also did some digging for himself. It’s only now, after being lost to oblivion for years, that the life of Lycklama is being re-examined. It suffices to look both at his own writings and to the artefacts he left, to understand that Tinco Lycklama was indeed the first Dutch archaeological digger in the Middle East.

Let’s have a look at the inventory of  antique sites that Tinco visited during his 1865-68 voyage. The list is impressive:

  • Pasargadae and Persepolis (October 1866)
  • Bishapur (November 1866)
  • Akar Kuf (February 1867)
  • Babylon (April 1867)
  • Ctésiphon (May 1867)
  • Samarra (May 1867)
  • Khorsabad (October 1867)
  • Niniveh and Nimrud (November 1867)
  • Sidon (May 1868)
  • Palmyra (July 1868)
The ruins at Ctesiphon. Tinco drank coffee under the fabulous arch – but his dig was unsuccessful

At most of these places, Tinco Lycklama simply observed and described what he saw. However, at Ctesiphon and Khorsabad, he clearly undertook digging. He reports that he was unsuccessful at both places. He then resorted to buying objects that the locals had unearthed – including ancient ustensils, pottery, cylinders, tablets… He did so at all other sites as well, like a genuine antiquarian.

One funny (if frivolous) anecdote is worth mentioning. During his stay at Tiflis (Georgia), in the winter of 1865-66, Tinco had acquired a black caucasion terrier dog, named Vashka. This dog would stay by his side all the way to Constantinople (in the summer of 1868). it is fair to claim that Vashka must be the “dog of archaeology” – as we have no report of any other dog in history who walked and visited so many ancient sites in a single (dog’s) lifetime!

Babylon, Tinco’s first successful dig

In April 1867, after spending the whole winter in Bagdad, Tinco Lycklama made a long excursion southwards, criss-crossing the Euphrates river towards the site of ancient Babylon. He started digging there, and was successful.

Tinco’s digging at Babylon is an interesting story. He is the only person on record that worked at Babylon in a time-span of over 20 years. Indeed, he came between the famous archaeologists Julius Oppert (in 1854) and Hormuzd Rassam (in 1877). Moreover, to coordinate the digging, Tinco hired a local man named Assouad, who previously had directed excavations on behalf of Fulgence Fresnel (who had been working with Oppert) and Henry Rawlinson – who were both at Babylon between 1852-1854.

20160319_161808Tinco’s digs resulted in various valuable objects, including cylinders and three ancient tombs. As Tinco Lycklama could not take his finds along with him, he handed them to the care of Mr. Habib, an employee at the Bagdad company of the Swiss merchants Weber Jaeger Wartman. The finds were then supposed to be shipped to The Netherlands. Unfortunately, no European inventory has yet been found where these objects appear. Currently, their whereabouts are simply unknown.

Success repeats itself at Sidon

On the other hand, there is full evidence of Tinco’s other digs – and specifically the one in Sidon (or Saida), in current Lebanon.

Though Tinco Lycklama visited Sidon in May 1868, he didn’t have the time for detailed observations. Still, after discussions with local antiquities dealers and his own examination, he concluded that Sidon could yield interesting finds. Only eighteen months after coming home from his grand voyage, he returns to Sidon in 1870 to undertake excavations. This resulted in many artefacts, including a golden death mask as well as two exceptional leaden sarcophagi. These objects are on display today at the Musée de la Castre in Cannes.

Tinco’s other travels

The traces from Tinco’s life also take us to Egypt, Cyprus, Malta, Tunisia, Algeria… After spending the winter of 1869-70 in Beirut and Sidon, he prolongs his travel and heads for Egypt in May 1870. From this trip, he returns with a large number of artefacts, but it is yet unclear whether these are the result of his own digs – or if he bought them from others, like an antiquarian.

20160305_113650The latter is more likely. Egypt was the most popular attraction for early archaeologists. Given Tinco’s lack of formal training in archaeology, it is unlikely that he had the ambition to do better than the numerous, far more knowledgeable experts in those days. Most probably, Tinco Lycklama simply went to Egypt because it was a civilisation that he had to see in order to satisfy his insatiable natural curiosity.

Tracking Tinco’s legacy

Many pieces of the puzzle of Tinco Lycklama’s life and work are still missing. This challenge is one of our priorities at the Tinco Lycklama Foundation. Hence, whereas the information given earlier are facts, it is most likely that we will discover new things that will shed more light on Tinco’s adventures and on his possible contribution to science.

TLF - Full AvatarEven during the lifetime of Tinco Lycklama, objects from his collections underwent the scrutiny of experts at the Louvre in Paris, and possibly also at the British Museum (the latter assumption is based on the fact that Lycklama travelled many times to London at the time when he opened his first museum and published his travel diairies). Also, between the two world wars of the 20th century, we find traces of interest in Tinco’s work.

However, Tinco Lycklama has largely disappeared from our history books. One explanation may be that, in later life, he didn’t pursue his interest in the Orient any longer. He married in 1875, and with the subsequent donation of his collections to the city of Cannes, the care for his museum was handed over to others. After passing away in 1900, his collections were seriously neglected for half a century. To this day, many objects in the collection (and obviously also those that have disappeared) are not fully accounted for.


Tinco Lycklama was not an archaeologist in the strictest sense. But, he was indeed the first Dutchman to dig at ancient sites in the Middle East. Just imagine what he could have achieved if he had chosen to focus on these sites of which so little was uncovered at that time.

Perhaps other names will pop up and claim the title. If so, we’re happy to amend and possibly pursue the discovery of other forgotten travellers and share their stories with the public. At the very least, may this article contribute to the recognition of Tinco Lycklama’s passion, of the accuracy of his observations, and of the value of the stories and the artefacts he brought with him.


Records of Taxation (“hoogst-aangeslagenen”) – 1852-1900 – Tinco Lycklama and his father and brother

This page delivers extracts from official publications, showing the names of the “hoogst-aangeslagenen” (literally, “highest taxed“) in the province of Frisia, in The Netherlands – between 1852 and 1900. The status of “hoogst-aangeslagene” refers to the payment of real estate taxes only. This status was used to determine those (male) persons eligible for a seat in the “Eerste Kamer” (senate) of the Dutch Parliament – at a time when the “Provinciale Staten” (provincial assemblies) had to elect senators from this list of “hoogst-aangeslagenen”.

These lists were published in the Staats-Courant, the official government bulletin, and were republished by the most important newspapers in the provinces (in Friesland, this was the Leeuwarder Courant). The information provided gives the level of taxes as well as the location of the real estate properties on which these taxes were levied. It must be noted that this does not reflect the total tax situation of these individuals, as their income from employment or trade was covered by other taxes.

Below follows the status of “hoogst-aangeslagene” for…

  • Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900)
  • Jan Anne Lycklama à Nijeholt (1809-1891) – his father
  • Augustinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (1842-1906) – his brother

Currenly missing in this inventory are

  • The status for all three between 1890-1900
  • For Tinco : the status in 1870, 1876 and 1887-1889
  • For Jan Anne : the status in 1864, 1876 and 1888
  • For Augustinus : the status in 1876 and 1888


Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900)

1861 = NO

1862 = NO

1863 = NO

1864 = NO

1865 = NO

1866 = NO

1867 = NO


Nederlandsche staatscourant, 26-04-1868
Nederlandsche staatscourant, 21-05-1869

Missing – 1870

Leeuwarder courant, 02-05-1871
Leeuwarder courant, 05-05-1872
Leeuwarder courant, 04-05-1873
ddd_010586592_mpeg21_p008_image (1)
Leeuwarder courant, 31-05-1874
Leeuwarder courant, 02-05-1875

Missing : 1876

Leeuwarder courant, 29-04-1877
Leeuwarder courant, 19-05-1878
Leeuwarder courant, 05-05-1879
Leeuwarder courant, 01-05-1880
Leeuwarder courant, 05-05-1881
Leeuwarder courant, 06-05-1882
Leeuwarder courant, 03-05-1883
Leeuwarder courant, 02-05-1884
Leeuwarder courant, 25-05-1885
Leeuwarder courant, 08-05-1886




Jan Anne Lycklama à Nijeholt (1809-1891)

Nederlandsche staatscourant, 10-06-1852
Leeuwarder courant, 03-05-1853
Nederlandsche staatscourant, 28-05-1854
Nederlandsche staatscourant, 28-04-1855
Leeuwarder courant, 29-04-1856
Leeuwarder courant, 28-04-1857
Leeuwarder courant, 01-06-1858
Leeuwarder courant, 07-06-1859
Leeuwarder courant, 29-05-1860
Nederlandsche staatscourant – 25/05/1861
Nederlandsche staatscourant – 24/05/1862
Nederlandsche staatscourant – 01/05/1863

Missing : 1864

Nederlandsche staatscourant – 01/06/1865
Nederlandsche staatscourant, 18-05-1866
Leeuwarder courant, 28-05-1867
Nederlandsche staatscourant, 26-04-1868


Nederlandsche staatscourant, 26-04-1868
Nederlandsche staatscourant, 28-04-1869
Leeuwarder courant, 02-05-1871
Leeuwarder courant, 05-05-1872
Leeuwarder courant, 04-05-1873
Leeuwarder courant, 31-05-1874
ddd_010586734_mpeg21_p012_image (2)
Leeuwarder courant, 02-05-1875

Missing : 1876

Leeuwarder courant, 29-04-1877
Leeuwarder courant, 19-05-1878



Leeuwarder courant, 05-05-1879
Leeuwarder courant, 01-05-1880
Leeuwarder courant, 05-05-1881
Leeuwarder courant, 06-05-1882



Leeuwarder courant, 03-05-1883
Leeuwarder courant, 02-05-1884
Leeuwarder courant, 04-05-1885
Leeuwarder courant, 08-05-1886
Leeuwarder courant, 04-05-1887

Missing : 1888

Leeuwarder courant, 18-05-1889


Augustinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (1842-1906)

Leeuwarder courant, 04-05-1873
Leeuwarder courant, 31-05-1874
ddd_010586734_mpeg21_p012_image (1)
Leeuwarder courant, 02-05-1875
Leeuwarder courant, 18-05-1889

The dog that saw Persepolis

Black Russian Terrier

Vashka not only saw Persepolis. He also visited Pasargadae, Ctesifon, Babylon, Samarra, Khorsabad, Nimrud, Niniveh, and Palmyra. We believe that Vashka is the first and only dog in history to have walked so many miles and visited so many ancient sites.

Vashka is the dog of archaeology!

Indeed, Tinco Lycklama’s most trusted and most faithful travel companion on his 1865-68 trip through the Middle East was a dog. We don’t know exactly when Tinco acquired Vashka. But, we do know that it happened during his stay in the Georgian capital Tiflis, in the winter of 1865-66.

Vashka spent almost three years at Tinco’s side, all the way from Tiflis to Constantinople. He lived in Tehran and Baghdad. He traveled mountain passes, rivers and deserts. Tinco was very fond of the dog. He recalls a moment, on the way from Hamah to Homs in Syria, when he almost lost Vashka; he was overwhelmed with joy when the dog was found and returned to him.

He had huge regret that he could not take Vashka home to Frisia. Just like Tinco, the dog was exhausted and ill, and he feared that the dog would not make it in the European climate. However, good friends in Tehran had promised Tinco that they would take care of the dog if he wished to send Vashka to them. So, on September 18, 1868, when Tinco’s last two servants parted company and traveled back to Tehran, they took Vashka along.

Great was Tinco’s joy to learn, a few years later, that the dog actually recovered and was alive and well with his new owners in Tehran!

Our remaining question is, however: what was the dog’s breed? Currently, the dog in the picture is our best guess – the so-called “Black Russian Terrier“. We base our assumption on what Tinco tells us:

“My little Vashka (for that was his name, a diminutive for Vassili) belongs to the breed of the dogs of Tiflis that bears a certain resemblance to the Scottish terrier, except that one doesn’t shorten their ears nor their tail.” (see original text in French here…).

The Black Russian Terrier doesn’t look “little”. However, let’s keep in mind that dog breeding is only a recent phenomenon, and that varieties have often evolved significantly over the past 150 years. It may well be that the breed Tinco refers to does not exist any more – or wasn’t a well-defined breed at all. Also, it may be that the Black Russian Terrier evolved from Vashka’s breed. It may just be anecdotal, but is is reported that the Black Russian Terrier was Stalin’s favourite dog – and Stalin was a native from Georgia.

In all honesty, we don’t really know. So, we welcome any suggestions about Vashka!

Having said that, Vashka was definitely a most special dog. And, like Tinco, he visited amazing places that few people have ever seen in their lifetime. Certainly no other dog!

A Dutch traveler’s perception of Persian medecine in 1866-67

The International Qajar Studies Association  (IQSA) is holding its 2016 conference in Vienna, on August 8-9, on the topic of “Doctors and the Medicinal Arts in Qajar Iran”. It’s the occasion for us to talk about Tinco Lycklama’s observations on health during his stays in Persia in 1866 and 1867.

Dr. Johan Schlimmer, Dr. Conrad Fagergrin, Dr. Joseph Dickson, Dr. James Baker, Dr. Heward… Not surprisingly, Tinco Lycklama met many physicians during his stays in Persia in 1866 and 1867 – as he seems to have suffered almost permanently from one or another illness. Wherever he went, he obviously met with foreigners who had settled in Persia. And, foreign physicians were everywhere. Qajar Persia relied on these foreign doctors to modernize the practice of medecine throughout the country.

“In the eyes of the Persians, all Europeans are somehow physicians”

Tinco’s observation comes from an anecdote when visiting the town of Izad Khast (written ‘Yezdegast’ by Tinco) – on the road from Isfahan to Chiraz. A local notable was seriously suffering from what appeared to be a bullet wound. Tinco had no knowledge of surgery and there was nothing he could do. But, he shared some bandages, for which the poor man’s family was already extremely grateful.

In another passage in his books, Tinco also reflects, quite unfavourably, on the state of medecine in Persia: “It is purely empirical, devoid of any notion about the human organism. This total ignorance of the anatomy makes one wonder about the state of surgical practice in Persia which is obviously working according to the most basic principles and interventions.”

Was Tinco biased? He seems to have suffered all his life from weak health. In fact, his health was one of his main motives for moving from his native Beetsterzwaag (NL) to Cannes (F), shortly after spending more than three years in the Orient. When reading his books, one sometimes gets the impression that Tinco may have been a hypocondriac as he always seems to worry about getting sick.

Almost dead in Kirva

In all fairness, let’s keep in mind that Tinco traveled through hostile landscapes and climates. As colonel Andreini noted during an episode in Kirva, Tinco was often suffering from “traveler’s fever”, caused by fatigue and inappropriate food. Nothing that a solid dose of quinine, a diet, and some good rest could not solve.

Colonel Andreini was not a physician but – as an Italian military man (at the service of the Qajar court) – he had traveled a lot and had solid experience with foreign climates. He also liked to refer to the learnings of another Dutchman, the 18th century physician Herman Boerhave, still a reference for European travelers.

At Kirva, the local Persian physicians had concluded that Tinco was probably dying. They suspected cholera, and Tinco almost believed them. He feared that he would succomb to the same fate as the famous French 17th traveler Jean Thévenot, who also died at Kirva in 1667. But, after reaching Qasbin and with the help of colonel Andreini, Tinco survived.

At Qasbin, Tinco was joined by Mirza Cheikh Djellal, a young and trustworthy Persian physician dispatched by the French minister in Tehran Jacques-Adolphe Cousseau, comte de Massignac (1815-1879). The usual French physician at the legation in the capital, Dr. Joseph Tholozan was unavailable, but sending this Persian physician “could do no harm”.

The foreign doctors in Persia

Mirza Cheikh Djellal had had the privilege of studying at the Faculté de médecine in Paris – probably as one of the first students sent by the pioneering polytechnical school in Tehran – the Dar al-Fonun. However, Tinco observes that the young doctor had obviously not understood much of modern science, in which his cult of tradition only saw a series of dangerous innovations.

See original image
Entrance to the Dar al-Fonun polytechnic

Tinco had arrived in Persia in the early days of what the Qajar court of Naser al-Din Shah considered to be the necessary modernization of the country. Medicine was one of the Shah’s priorities and became a major section at the Dar al-Fonun, which started operating in 1851.

But, the foreign legations in Persia still relied heavily on their own physicians to deal with the health problems of foreign personnel. In turn, these foreign doctors were critical in helping Persia with the modernization of medical practices.

At the highest levels of the Qajar court, it was understood that the health of the royals was better served by foreign doctors. Ernest Cloquet (1818-1855) was the doctor of the French legation and became the personal physician to Naser al-Din Shah. Upon his death in 1855, he was replaced by the Bohemian doctor Jakob Eduard Polack, who had previously been the first teacher in medecine at the Dar al-Fonun. The Dutch physician Johann Schlimmer replaced Polack in 1860 at the polytechnic, and in the same year the French doctor Joseph Tholozan (1820-1897) takes Polack’s place as the physician to the Shah.

Dr Joseph Tholozan
Dr. Joseph Désiré Tholozan (1820-1897) – Image courtesy of Amir Ali Sardari Iravani


Tholozan remained in this position until shortly before his death. He accompanied the Shah on each of his three trips to Europe (1873, 1878 and 1889), and may be considered as instrumental in organizing the first efficient medical infrastructure to combat the spread of infectuous diseases in the country.

But, also beyond the royal court and beyond Tehran, Persians seemed to turn to foreigners to provide health care. For instance, in 1867, when Tinco travels through the little town of Sadatabad (named “Seadet Abad” by Tinco) he notices that there were no foreigners amongst the population except for one Armenian and twelve jews. These few foreigners were all pharmacists and physicians (though not of good quality – says Tinco).

Tinco’s encounters

In 1866, when Tinco arrived in Teheran, Dr. Joseph Tholozan was the only French physician in town. Surprisingly, Tinco never mentions Tholozan in his writings, even though we know from the message from French minister de Massignac to Tinco that Tholozan was in the capital. Then again, besides a few noteworthy exceptions, Tinco Lycklama is very sparse with his comments on the people he met at Tehran.

But, Tinco tells us a lot about the other doctors he acquainted. At the British legation, for instance, he met with the English physician Dr. Joseph Dickson, who kept his position for almost 40 years (1848-1887). More than simply being doctors, people like Dickson played an important diplomatic role as they easily gained the confidence of their patients at the Qajar court. Another Englishman whom Tinco acquainted was Dr. James Baker, who later wrote an authoritative report for the House of Commons about the sanitary situation in Persia (“A few remarks on the most prevalent Diseases and the Climate of the North of Persia”, 1886).

Johann Schlimmer - Terminologie medico-pharmaceutique - Cover
Schlimmer’s “Terminologie Médico-Pharmaceutique Française-Persane“, 1872

As we saw earlier, the Dutch Dr. Johann Schlimmer (1819-1881) became the head of medecine at the Dar al-Fonun in 1860. In 1861, he was also responsible for training students at the new state hospital in Tehran, and he was one of the few who actually wrote textbooks for the benefit of medical students. A few years later, the Shah transferred Schlimmer to Fars, where he was appointed as personal physician to the province’s governor, Massoud Mirza Zell-e Soltan (1850-1919), a son of the Shah. During his time at Isfahan, Tinco actually stays at the home of Dr. Schlimmer and his Armenian wife.

In Chiraz, Tinco meets with Dr. Conrad Fagergrin (1818-1879) – a Swede from Stockholm. Again, Tinco suffers from a heavy headache, but it was easily solved after the doctor practiced a bleeding. Dr. Fagergrin had arrived in Persia twenty-five years earlier, and was sent by the Shah to Chiraz to handle a big epidemic in the province. He stayed on to become the chief physician of Chiraz. He and his French wife and family where the only Europeans in town – so they were most happy to welcome Tinco in their home.

Tinco’s travel through Persia in 1867 ended at the harbour city of Bender Bushir, where he embarked on a steamer that would take him over the Persian Gulf to Iraq – an Ottoman territory at that time. But, Bender Bushir might well have become his last resting place – were it not for the good care of Dr. Heward, an Armenian doctor. Indeed, feeling unwell, Tinco was quickly diagnosed with symptoms of typhoid fever, probably caused by drinking from the same water jar as his servant Ali Beg. Dr. Heward prescribed big doses of quinine and some herbal concoctions, and Tinco was fine within a couple of hours. The poor Ali Beg, however, died a few days later.

Quinine, diet, rest, and tea

The quality of the food was never the issue for Tinco’s ills in Persia. In fact, he states that the food served was very wholesome (but perhaps he may have indulged too much, at times). It is more likely that the hot climate was a major factor, especially for someone who grew up in Frisia. If Tinco’s health was not the best, he certainly did not make it any better by traveling cold mountain passes and sweltering deserts on horseback. Also, from several observation in his books, we understand that travelers had to be very careful about the water they were drinking.

What we do learn from Tinco’s writings is that quinine was essential – and he made sure that he always had an ample supply of that. Combined with solid rest and a reasonable diet it usually fixed the problems. And, Tinco tells us also: “I drank a lot of tea which, throughout my travels, has been my universal panacea, excellent in health, and even better so when ill.”


Charles Alison and Tinco Lycklama, brothers-in-beards

Charles Alison - Tinco Lycklama - Composed image

Charles Alison (1810-1872) was Britain’s minister plenipotentiary (the top diplomat) to the Qajar court in Tehran, from 1860 til his death. He was an interesting person, and we’re working on a short biography that will highlight a few interesting aspects of his life, and cover his role in an ambivalent diplomatic relationship between Britain and Persia.

He was also a friend of Tinco Lycklama. They met soon after Tinco’s arrival at Tehran, in May 1865. Shortly before his departure from the capital (to continue his travel through Persia), Tinco sold off a few horses and thanked the servants he had employed at his rejted house in Tajrish. Charles Alison insisted that Tinco would stay another two weeks at the British summer compound in Gulhek. Tinco had at his disposal a separate house opposite the minister’s residence, in the middle of the gardens, and had free use of the horses and servants at the service of the British legation.

Charles Alison (1810-1872)
Charles Alison (1810-1872), by Capt. W.H. Pierson, courtesy of Miss Philippa Bateman-Champain – Printed in “The English Amongst the Persians: Imperial Lives in Nineteenth-Century Iran” by Denis Wright, 2001, I.B. Tauris Publishers, London/New York.

We just discovered a drawing of Charles Alison, made in 1865. When they met in 1866, Tinco wasn’t sporting a beard, but he did so no later than 1883 (as the picture shows). Was Tinco’s beard inspired by Charles Alison?

They became really good friends. Tinco hints at the awkward diplomatic situation of Charles Alison (without going into details). He also expresses his view that the man was underestimated and unjustly neglected by his peers and superiors in London. He describes him as a most interesting and educated person, and an excellent host. The man also carried a personal burden, having been in love with Elizabeth Baltazzi – a married lady in Constantinople; they married in 1863, after the death of Elizabeth’s husband – but she died barely nine months later.

Charles Alison passed away at Tehran in 1872. When Tinco is in the process of writing his travel stories, he learned about Alison’s death and sadfully refers to the loss of a good friend.

We have been able to obtain maps of the British compound at Gulhek and have identified the comfortable house where Tinco stayed for two weeks, in September 1866. We will do more extensive research and cover these topics in future articles.

Readers with access to diplomatic archives in London and Tehran are most welcome to contribute with biographical information about Charles Alison.


Party Time at Baron Lycklama’s

Tetar van Elven - Bal Travesti chez le baron Lycklama 1874 - Musée de la Castre
“Bal Travesti chez le Baron Lycklama 1874”, by Pierre Tetar van Elven (collection: Musée de la Castre, Cannes)

(Click here to view the painting in high resolution)

Tinco Lycklama had a reputation for organizing great parties at his villa in Cannes. He was definitely an icon of the local ‘high society’.

We know this as a fact before his marriage (1875) with Agatha Juliana thoe Schwartzenberg en Hohenlansberg. Indeed, we have two formal records about the parties organized by Tinco. One took place in December 1873, the other in February 1874. Below, we give some details about these parties.

There is no doubt that Tinco and his wife continued to be active participants in the social life of Cannes. Newspaper articles indicate their participation in various events. Also, given that Tinco was the city’s great benefactor by offering Cannes its first museum (in 1877), it is obvious that he remained part of the local scene for the rest of his life. But, we have no trace about any further parties organized by the Lycklama. Perhaps Tinco became more “quiet” once married?

Barely two years after marrying (1875), Tinco donated his collection to the municipality in December 1877.   It included not only the thousands of souvenirs, art and other objects from his travels and acquisitions – it also comprised the collection which he bought (in 1874) from the estate of the late Edmond Ginoux de la Coche (including unique artifacts from Oceania and Pre-Columbian art – now all visible at the Musée de la Castre). (For background on Edmond Ginoux de La Coche (1811-1870), see Wikipedia…).

That same year, they moved from the (large) Villa Escarras on the current rue de Latour-Maubourg to another Villa Escarras on the old chemin des Tignes. We also know that the young couple started to travel extensively, notably to Italy, in the subsequent years, and thus spent little time at their new villa. And, indeed, by the end of 1881, they move to a new home on the Chemin de St Nicolas.

So, whereas the bachelor Tinco was previously holding lavish parties in the splendor of the Villa Escarras and surrounded by his collection, his later domicile – and marriage – were probably far more moderate (for what that means for these young rich aristocrats).

The illustration above concerns the second party, held in February 1874. The painting (from the collection of the Musée de la Castre at Cannes) is by Pierre Tetar van Elven (1828-1908), a Dutch painter and personal friend of Tinco. Pierre was an avid traveler himself; though little is (currently) documented about his life, we know that he traveled through North Africa and also accompanied Tinco’s secretary Ernest Massenot on a trip to Beirut (this trip actually took place between the two recorded parties at the Villa Escarras).

Chronology and details (information may evolve)

09/12/1873 (Tuesday) – Party at the Amphitryon of the Villa Escarras.

  • Details (Quoted in Courier de Cannes 11/12/1873. and 14/12/1873)
    • Musicians: a double quatuor, including
      • M. Houdsorn (sic, is Antoine Oudshoorn), violoncellist (who played with the orchestra of Monte Carlo), solo  violoncellist of the King of The Netherlands
      • M. Hasselmann (sic, is Alphonse Hasselmans), violoncellist/harpist, “de la chapelle du baron Von der Vles”
      • Stiel, violon solo de la chapelle du baron von der Vles
      • Charles Dupart, piano
    • Plant arrangements: M. Martichon ( = Leopold Martichon, born at Le Luc in 1838/39)
  • Participants (as quoted on 23/11/1971, see source…)
    • Chevalier de Colquhoum
    • Comte et comtesse de Kergolay-Maubourg
    • Baronne de Lockhorst
    • Lady Talbot
    • Mme Tripet-Skipytzine
    • Comte d’Esprès
    • Comtesse de Bernis
    • Lady Franck
    • Lady Haygate
    • Comte de la Ferrière
    • Chevalier de Saint-Chéron
    • Comtes de Labédoyère
    • Comte et comtesse du Passage
    • Lady Ridell
    • Comte de Wimpfen
    • Mme de Bruchard
    • Comte Sterky
    • Mme Barbe-Patterson
    • M. Lucq

16/02/1874 (Monday) – Party at Villa Lycklama (painted by Pierre Tetar van Elven)

  • Details (quoted in Les Echos de Cannes 21/02/1874)
    • Orchestra: Orchestre du Cercle Nautique, led by Monsieur Brick ( = Paul Brick (1820-1881))
    • Buffet : La maison Nègre (Joseph Nègre, de Grasse)
    • Service auxiliaire: dirigé par Louis Richard, premier maître d’hôtel du Grand Hôtel de Cannes
  • Participants
    • Over 200 participants – see Les Echos de Cannes 21/02/1874


Emile Vernet-Lecomte, or… Pierre Tetar van Elven?

Tinco Lycklama (1837-1900) - par Emile Vernet-Lecomte

Closer examination of the Tinco Lycklama portrait, currently on display at the Musée de la Castre in Cannes, reveals that the painting is signed by not just one but TWO hands. The search is on to understand this ‘mystery’.

The portrait of Tinco in oriental garb is generally attributed to Emile Vernet-Lecomte (1821-1900), a French orientalist painter. His name is clearly visible on the left bottom of the painting. It is dated 1869. Understanding the relationship between Tinco Lycklama and Vernet-Lecomte certainly makes part of our research. But, Tinco himself attributes  the painting to Vernet-Lecomte. In the act of donation of his collections to the city of Cannes, he specifies that the painting by Emile Vernet-Lecomte (“of Paris”) should have a prominent place in the museum at the Town Hall”.

However, as the illustrations show, a close-up of the right bottom of the painting reveals another name – “Van Elven”.


Pierre Tetar van Elven (1828-1908 – see his file on RKD…) was an acquaintance of Tinco Lycklama and nephew of the better known artist Paul Tetar van Elven (1823-1896 – see more about this family of artists on the Tetar van Elven museum website…).

Pierre was the artist who painted the “Bal Masqué” that took place on February 1874, at Tinco’s Villa Escarras in Cannes. Pierre also purportedly travelled with Tinco to the Middle East (research is pending). There is a good chance that more drawings or paintings from these travels (or, more directly, about Tinco) may exist.

The portrait of Tinco is attributed to Emile Vernet-Lecomte himself. But, why the specific mention of “van Elven”? The signature at the bottom right doesn’t look like Pierre’s usual signature.

Tinco Lycklama, by Bingham (1869)
Tinco Lycklama, by Bingham (1869)

To make this question even more pertinent, we discovered an 1869 black/white photography in the collections of the Fries Museum, showing a highly similar portrait of Tinco. The source suggests that the photographer is “Bingham”. This makes us think of the pioneer English photographer Robert Jefferson Bingham (1825-1870), who spent a lot of time in France. Here we see Tinco in an Albanian costume, but the face, posture and settings are virtually identical to the portrait at the Musée de la Castre.

Is this painting on the black/white photography by Emile Vernet-Lecomte, or by Pierre Tetar van Elven? Which was the original painting, and who copied who? And… where is that portrait of Tinco in Albanian costume?

These questions may seem details. But, after all, this is about one of the finest portrayals we know of Tinco. And, by finding the answers, we may also discover more about the relationship of Tinco to these artists, and about his travels.



Villa ownership in Cannes, 1883

The referenced article offers figures for foreign ownership of villas in Cannes in 1883. It reports a total of 784 villas, of which 519 are owned by permanent residents. The remaining 265 villas are owned by French from elsewhere and foreigners (especially English). The full article also reports on the aristocratic credentials of these villa-owners…

  1. The current pretender to the French throne, the Count of Paris (owner of villa Saint Jean).
  2. Two princes from the Italian Bourbon dynasty: the Count of Bardi, and the Count of Caserta (villa Marie Thérèse).
  3. An former viceroy of British India, Sir Charles Murray (villa Victoria).
  4. Four princes: the Prince de Ligne, the Prince of the Moskowa, the Prince de Montmorency, and the Prince de Sagan (villas in their own name).
  5. Three dukes: the Duc de Rochefoucault, the Duc de Vallombrosa, and the Duchesse de Luynes.
  6. Four marquesses: the Marquis de Colbert, the Marquis de Latour-Maubourg, the Marchuise de Mac-Mahon, and the Marquise de Camden
  7. Various barons, including Baronne douarière de Rothschild, Baronne de Ladoucette, Baronne de Wimpffen, Baronne de Kurdorff, Baron de Rochetaillée, Baron de Lycklama, Baron de Hoffmann…
  8. Various counts, including de Pourtalès, d’Emprémesnil, des Fayères, de Montlaur, de Sartiges, de Leusse…


Villa Ownership in Cannes - Les Echos de Cannes - 23-09-1883

(Les Echos de Cannes, 23/09/1883, see source…)

Burglary at Villa Lycklama, 11-12/12/1900

Four days after the death of Tinco Lycklama (one day after the funeral ceremony and the departure of his coffin for The Netherlands), burglars entered the Villa Lycklama. As reported by Courrier de Cannes on 15 December 1900…


Bold Burglars  –  In the night of 11th and 12th, unknown burglars entered the salon of the villa Lycklama by breaking a window, and they rampaged that room.

Only half satisfied by their catch, the burglars wanted to penetrate into other parts of the villa, but the doors of the salon were keylocked.

They unsuccessfully tried to open the doors, but in order not to be trapped they had to take the same way back through the salon.

The value of the stolen objects is not yet known.

The police have opened an inquiry.

Burglary at Villa Lycklama 11 December 1900 - Courier de Cannes 15-12-1900 A

Burglary at Villa Lycklama 11 December 1900 - Courier de Cannes 15-12-1900 B

Courrier de Cannes, 15/12/1900 (see source…)