As Frederic and Isabel Church travelled in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine in 1868, they commented on the “picturesque costumed individuals” (Isabel’s diary, 1868) they saw, inspiring them to bring back to Olana some costumes that are now some of the oldest extant Palestinian and Syrian costume items in any collection. They were featured in Church’s paintings of the Middle East, and were used in “a la Turque” parties at Olana. This collection will be reviewed in this presentation.
Frederic Church’s fascination with architectural decorations of the mansions in Damascus and Jerusalem that inspired the design of Olana also resulted in the acquisition of some “stones from a house in Damascus” (Church letter to W. Osborn, 1868) ) and numerous wall and door designs from Jerusalem that are on display at numerous locations at Olana. These will be highlighted.