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  • Writer's pictureYaman

Princes' Islands - Traveler Felix Moral 1879

My Burgaz Island collection started with a watercolor by Traveler Felix Moral. This rare watercolor painting appeared in the August 2013 catalog of The Wayfarers Bookshop from Canada specializing in travels, voyages and expolorations. It became officially first piece of my collection on February 16, 2014, as a result of a long follow-up period and a tight bargain with Eric, the owner of the bookstore.

Die Prinzeninseln Antigone, Halki und Proti im Marmara Meere Von der Insel Prinkipo aus gesehen

Felix Moral is a Austro-German traveler based on the writings on the painting. In the handwritten, it writes "Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara: Antigone (Burgaz Island), Halki and Proti, view from Prinkipo" and dates as 5 / 17.1.1879 and 9 / 21.1.1879. Assuming that it was drawn in 1879 winter of January. 5/17 and 9/21 may be the start and end time. Another possibility is that this painting was prepared in spring, summer and autumn seasons from 17 May to 21 September instead of winter.

Felix Moral 1879

I am sure it will be much more interesting for someone who is making a collection of Halki, but it is very important for Burgaz Island as well because the origin name of Burgaz comes from the tower that appears (Prygos, which means Castle/Tower in Greek, is transformed to Burgaz in Turkish over time). The engravings or postcards that later joined my collection are produced by printing. None of them seemed as alive as this hand-crafted watercolor to me.


The building in the middle of Halki is the Greek Trade School (Griechsche Handelsschule). The structure that appears to the far right in the trees is the Theological School of Halki (Griechsche Priesterschule). Just below it is the Halki Bazaar (Dorf Halki) and the Ottoman Naval School (Ottomanische Seeschule). The island standing in the back is Proti. Constantinople silhouette, which appears far away, not only gives depth to the painting but also reflects the seclusion on the Prince Islands.

Wayfarers Bookshop August 2013 Catalog:


MORAL, Felix

Prinzeninseln Antigone, ‘Halki’ und Proti im Marmara Meere. Von der Insel Prinkipo aus gesehen [Princes‘ Islands Antigone, Halki and Proti in the Sea of Marmara, taken from the Prinkipo Island].

January 1879. Watercolour on paper, ca. 21,5x45,5 cm (8 ¼ x 18 in). Watercolour within double ink border, signed in the right lower corner ‘Nach der Natur gezeichnet von Felix Moral and 5/17.1.79 und 9/21.1.1879’. Extensive ink caption under the image. Paper slightly soiled, but overall a very good watercolour.

Bright watercolour panorama of the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara, with the minarets and greenery of Istanbul (Constantinople) seen in the distance. The view was taken from the main island of the group – Büyükada (Prinkipos) and shows the second and the third largest islands – Heybeliada (Chalki) and Burgazada (Antigoni), with a small Kaşık Island (Greek: Πίτα or νήσος) in the background.

The watercolour is supplemented with an extensive caption and several notes about the buildings shown on the islands, including Greek trade school (Handelsschule) on Kasik Island; Greek Orthodox seminary (Priesterschule), a village and a Turkish marine school (Seeschule) on Heybeliada. The outlines of Istanbul in the background are captioned ‘Constantinopel’. The Greek seminary is known today as Halki seminary (defunct since 1791), and the Turkish marine school is now a Cadet School of the Turkish Navy.

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