We can say that the first encountering between the Ottomans and the English began with the Battle of Nicopolis, but this encounter cannot be mentioned as a direct contact because of a small English force fighting the Ottomans in Nigbolu. Actually, the exact date of the Ottoman – English relations at the state level was at the beginning of the 1580s and lasted until 1914. During these years, Britain was both friendly and hostile to the Ottoman Empire, therefore; it is understandable that Britain often changed sides. Commercial and political relations, started in the second half of the sixteenth century, between the Ottomans and the English based on mutual interesets of both countries.
The Queen of England who wanted to benefit from the enmity of the Ottomans against the Spanish, Elizabeth approved to set the Ottomans against the Spanish and also she wanted to strengthen the trade of England. The Queen Elizabeth ,who got in bad with the Philip, Spanish king, because of the opposition of his beliefs and politics in 1579, managed to obtain Sultan Murad III’s friendship and she tried to become ally of the Ottomans in order to protect the British Isles from any treat. For this purpose, two merchants, Edward Osborne and Richard Staper, were sent to learn the oppurtunities of trading with Ottoman.
This process led to correspond between the Queen Elizabeth and Murat III so that Ottoman Empire didn’t refuse the England’s request and helped England by occupying the Spanish ships. Later on, William Harborne was appointed to Istanbul in 1583 as a British ambassador although Ottoman had already sent permanent ambassadors to England much earlier. Untill the death of Elizabeth I, relations was friendly, However, during the time of King James I, relations between the two countries came to a standstill because King James I supported the catholics. Another important step in relations was that two merchants from London established a company named as ”Levant Company”. This company was approved by the Queen Elizabeth in 1581, on September. Since 1581 to 1825, this company represented the basis of Turkish-British economic relations.In conclusion, throughout this relations, there were some cultural exchanges which occured between both countries which have capitulations and these cultural exchanges reflected on works of both countries.TURKISH PAVILIONS AND MOSQUES: ITS PLACE IN ENGLANDThe English sought new ideas in various areas of Turkish architecture on the Ottoman lands, and they tried to get started with some of these ideas, along with Turkish baths.
In the mid-sixteenth century Christopher Wren, the famous English architect, for himself, wanted Dudley North who lived in Istanbul to learn about the construction technique of the Turks, especially mosque domes. Even though Christopher Wren wanted to use the information North gathered for construction of St. Pauls Church’s dome, He didn’t find the information sufficient. In the book, published by James Elmes, was quoted from the writings of Christopher Wren and James Elmes reflected that the domes which started with Hagia Sofia was built monumentally in Istanbul and east countries and he also presented some of its structured analysis.Quoted from John Evelyn’s diary, Elmes mentioned that Christopher Wren, Sir John Hoskyns and John Evelyn, the members of Royal Society, visited to get information about oriental architecture and dome making from Sir John Chardin, settled in England and the famous with memories and observations about east. Sir Chardin welcomed them with orient clothes, However, he talked about constructions of Greek and Rome rather than constructions of the Turks.
Later on, Sir John Evelyn, in his book, wrote down that the dome built in Hagia Sofia had been developed by the Turks afterwards. In the eighteenth century , the Turkish architecture had been adopted as a plan rather than technical, and it became the main topic of Rokoko period.As part of these fancies, English reflected in their buildings attractive miniature examples of Turkish mosques which they interested in architectural areas. In the gardens and parks, small Turkish pavilions were built beside the buildings looking like Greek and Roman temples. Even if it was not clearly called Turkish structure in the architecture books of the year, Turkish pavilions were observed. For example, the books, which contains plan and section drawings, were published by John Evelyn, William Jones, Charles Over and John Soan were evidences of Turkish pavilions in England. Some of these books contained the designs reflecting Turkish styles with domes. In the eighteenth century, there was a Turkish tent with an excellent inlaid pattern in London.
In addition to this, the Turkish tent could be observed in Painshill and Belle Vue as well.Built by Sir William Chambers, well-known architect, in Surrey, for the prince and princess of Wales, Kew Gardens included Turkish mosques, domes, pavilions and a Chinese pagoda. The mosque, which is next to the pagoda, was designed and built by Sir Chambers in 1761. This miniature mosque, was designed to fit into one of three islands created in an artificial lake and consisted of three parts. In the middle of the building, there was a main space with an octagonal plan and there were two small sides on either side. The building was covered with two small domes. However, on the big dome there was a crescent.
Although Chambers tried to stay loyal to the character of Turkish architecture in the exterior of the building, he told that he designed the interior in a different way. In 1796, in a research conducted there, it was written down that this building was demolished because of being irreparable. This garden, which was built by chief architect, Chambers, was called as ”Turkish Heaven” besides of Kew Gardens. We learn that from a poem which was written in those times.