Tinco Lycklama honoured by the city of Cannes at 2017 summer exhibition.

Cannes TLF Logos

Since the formal recognition of the Tinco Lycklama Foundation as an official partner, the City of Cannes announces the first outcome of this partnership. Together, they will present an exhibition dedicated to the life and work of Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt, the first Dutch orientalist and founder of the first municipal museum of Cannes.

The exhibition is titled “Le Fabuleux Voyage du Chevalier Lycklama en Orient (1865-1868)“, and will run from July 8 til October 29, 2017 – at the Musée de la Castre in Cannes. Lycklama’s travels through Persia and the Middle East will take center stage, but the exhibition will also offer insights into how this singular Dutch aristocrat became fascinated with the Orient, through highlights of his origins in his native Friesland and his influences. In addition, it will showcase Lycklama’s publications and the creation of his collections – which he donated to the city of Cannes in 1877. Finally, the exhibition will also talk about the origins of Cannes, its development as a winter destination for Europe’s elites in the 19th century, and the place that Tinco Lycklama took in society life in the early days of the ‘Belle Epoque’.

The event in Cannes will be followed by a similar event in 2018 in the Dutch province of Friesland, at the occasion of its capital Leeuwarden being the European Capital of Culture that year.

Click the links below for the official announcement by the city of Cannes…

Did Tinco Lycklama read the Kama Sutra?

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.”)

Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-189) – Photo source : Gallica/BnF

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.

First edition of the Kama Sutra, by Richard Burton (1883) – Photo courtesy of Christie’s

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.

Letter to Jean Macé – 06/12/1875

Manuscript Letter by Tinco Lycklama to Cannes mayor Macé - 6 December 1875
Manuscript letter to Jean Macé – 06/12/1875 (Collection: Archives Municipales de Cannes)


In this letter, Tinco Lycklama submits the fourth (and last) volume of his travel (“Voyage…”) to Jean Macé, of the Société des Sciences (Cannes)

(Reference 2R44 at the Archives Municipales de Cannes – direct link to source…)