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Gifts of time: Watches and clocks in Ottoman-British diplomacy, 1693-1803

Gifts of time: Watches and clocks in Ottoman-British diplomacy, 1693-1803

Talbot, Michael ORCID: 0000-0001-7198-1422 (2016) Gifts of time: Watches and clocks in Ottoman-British diplomacy, 1693-1803. Jahrbuch für Europäische Geschichte, 17. pp. 55-79. ISSN 1616-6485 (Print), 2190-1236 (Online) (doi:

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Gift-giving was a crucial part of the regulation and practice of relations between European ambassadors and Ottoman state officials in Istanbul. Although largely dominated by textiles, timepieces played a crucial role in gift-giving practices on a number of levels. Taking the example of the British embassy in Istanbul in the eighteenth century and examining the detailed financial records of that institution, this article considers the significance of watches and clocks gifted by the British to different Ottoman officials on different occasions. By considering timepieces as social gifts to build individual relationships, as ceremonial gifts conforming to Ottoman expectations and practices, and as objects used to stimulate commercial interest, this article emphasises the importance of financial records and material objects as sources for reconstructing the practice of diplomacy, and demonstrates the shifting role of time pieces in British-Ottoman relations in the eighteenth century.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Volume 17: 'Material Culture in Modern Diplomacy from the 15th to the 20th Century', edited by Harriet Rudolph & Gregor M. Metzig.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ottoman-British diplomacy; Diplomatic history; Gift-giving; Timepieces; Material culture
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CD Diplomatics. Archives. Seals
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2020 00:52

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