• Portrait of Roxelana -
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    Half-length, wearing an elaborate head-dress

     

    inscribed on old backboard: Roxelana/Wife of Solymon/?The Magnificent?/1528-1566/She was of Russian/origin

    watercolour over pencil on laid paper watermarked with Britannia, oval

    13.2 by 9.9cm., 5 by 3 3/4 inches

     

    Roxelana or H?rrem as she is known in Turkish, was born in Poland and captured as a slave by Crimean Tatars. She was taken to Istanbul where she was selected for the harem of Sultan S?leyman (1494-1566). She soon became a favorite of the Sultan and bore him five children. Her influence over him soon became legendary and in a break from tradition, she was freed from slavehood and became his legal wife. Her son Selim inherited the Sultan?s empire. She died in 1558, eight years before her husband.

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