Potts, Daniel. 2022. Persia portrayed: Envoys to the West, 1600-1842. Washington: Mage Publishers.
Persians who travelled to the West during the Safavid and early Qajar period (early 17th-to-early 19th century) have received little attention. This book memorializes them in portraiture and pulls them back from historical obscurity. It brings together twenty-nine images—drawings, paintings, etchings, lithographs and even a silhouette—done in Boston, Geneva, London, Paris, Prague, Saratoga Springs, St. Petersburg, Vienna and Washington DC, between 1601 and 1842. In the days before photography, portraits commemorated their visits to distant capitals. Some of the subjects were members of Persia’s élite, some from modest backgrounds, and all were on a mission of one sort or another. Today, the images offer us rare glimpses of the dress, accoutrements and regalia that so distinguished the travelers. Subjects of fascination for both contemporary artists and a public intrigued by all things Persian, the sitters in these works left an indelible mark in the consciousness of Western observers, only a few of whom ever journeyed themselves to the Land of the Lion and the Sun.