Migrations | North–South movements | The cross-Mediterranean movements of the privileged few

The cosmopolitan elite of Europe and the Arab and Ottoman world felt equally comfortable on both shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

The people who crossed the Mediterranean to live in another country included individual members of the upper classes who chose to move abroad – either temporarily or permanently – in order to follow their scholarly interests, to pursue their careers, for business, for education or for a wide range of other objectives. Meanwhile, 19th-century governments of the Ottoman Empire and of Arab countries sent serving or prospective government officials to study and broaden their skills overseas. On the whole, this flow of privileged individuals to and fro led to the creation of a Mediterranean elite that moved confidently between European and Arab and Ottoman cultures and traditions.

Working NumberNameHolding MuseumDateMaterialsCurator Justification
TR2 036The daughter of the English ambassador riding in a palanquinPera MuseumLate 19th centuryOil on canvasDuring the 19th century, many European diplomats lived in Arab and Ottoman countries and vice versa. For example, in the 1830s there were 14 foreign consulates in Tunis. Ottoman Sultan Salim III (1789–1806) opened the Empire’s first embassy in London in 1793, followed by others in Paris, Berlin and Vienna. In the early 19th century, Morocco had ambassadors in St Petersburg, London and Berlin.

UK 160Djouni. The residence of Lady Hester StanhopeVictoria and Albert Museumc. 1835Brown ink and washLady Hester Stanhope (1776–1839) was a niece of the British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger. In 1810, she left England for the Middle East, where she lived for the rest of her life, travelling extensively. An assertive, unconventional woman, she adopted male Eastern dress. Her final home was in an abandoned convent in the mountains near Sidon (nowadays in Lebanon).

ET1 081Clot BeyBibliotheca AlexandrinaAntoine-Barthélemy Clot (Clot Bey) (1793–1868) was a French medical doctor, who joined the Egyptian army medical service with 20 other European physicians. In 1827, he founded a medical school for 300 students near Cairo, importing professors from France, Italy and Germany. He was the first Catholic to be awarded the title of Bey.

Working NumberNameHolding MuseumDateMaterialsCurator Justification
ET1 003Muhammad 'Ali PashaBibliotheca Alexandrina19th centuryAs ruler of Egypt (1805–48), Muhammad 'Ali Pasha carried out an intense modernisation policy. He hired European professionals and technicians and removed obstacles to the activities of European immigrants.
TN 074Dr Charles Nicolle, Nobel Laureate for Medicine Musée de la Médecine20th century PaperCharles Nicolle (1866–1936) was a French physician and biologist. After a successful career in France, he took over as head of the Pasteur Institute of Tunis in 1902. Soon afterwards, the government provided him with new enlarged facilities for the institute (1903–06).

Working NumberNameHolding MuseumDateMaterialsCurator Justification
TN 038Hôpital Charles Nicolle19th centuryCharles Nicolle (1866–1936) was a French physician and biologist. After a successful career in France, he took over as head of the Pasteur Institute of Tunis in 1902. Soon afterwards, the government provided him with new enlarged facilities for the institute (1903–06).
TN 072Dr Charles NicolleMusée de la MédecineEarly 20th century PaperUnder Charles Nicolle’s guide, the Pasteur Institute in Tunis soon became a world-famous centre for bacteriological research and for the production of vaccines and serums to combat most of the prevalent infectious diseases. He carried out ground-breaking research on several infectious diseases that earned him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1928.

Working NumberNameHolding MuseumDateMaterialsCurator Justification
TN 072Dr Charles NicolleMusée de la MédecineEarly 20th century PaperUnder Charles Nicolle’s guide, the Pasteur Institute in Tunis soon became a world-famous centre for bacteriological research and for the production of vaccines and serums to combat most of the prevalent infectious diseases. He carried out ground-breaking research on several infectious diseases that earned him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1928.
TN 073Dr Charles NicolleMusée de la Médecine20th century PaperUnder Charles Nicolle’s guide, the Pasteur Institute in Tunis soon became a world-famous centre for bacteriological research and for the production of vaccines and serums to combat most of the prevalent infectious diseases. He carried out ground-breaking research on several infectious diseases that earned him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1928.
TN 039Institut Pasteur19th centuryUnder Charles Nicolle’s guide, the Pasteur Institute in Tunis soon became a world-famous centre for bacteriological research and for the production of vaccines and serums to combat most of the prevalent infectious diseases. He carried out ground-breaking research on several infectious diseases that earned him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1928.
TN 015Palais du Baron d’Erlanger19th–20th centuriesRodolphe d’Erlanger (Boulogne-Billancourt 1872 – Tunis 1932) was a painter and music scholar. Born in France to an aristocratic family of bankers, he moved to the UK and took British citizenship, before going to Tunisia in 1909 for health reasons. He later settled in Sidi Bu Said, near Tunis, and carried out monumental research on Arab music.

Working NumberNameHolding MuseumDateMaterialsCurator Justification
TN 015Palais du Baron d’Erlanger19th–20th centuriesRodolphe d’Erlanger (Boulogne-Billancourt 1872 – Tunis 1932) was a painter and music scholar. Born in France to an aristocratic family of bankers, he moved to the UK and took British citizenship, before going to Tunisia in 1909 for health reasons. He later settled in Sidi Bu Said, near Tunis, and carried out monumental research on Arab music.
TN 015Palais du Baron d’Erlanger19th–20th centuriesRodolphe d’Erlanger (Boulogne-Billancourt 1872 – Tunis 1932) was a painter and music scholar. Born in France to an aristocratic family of bankers, he moved to the UK and took British citizenship, before going to Tunisia in 1909 for health reasons. He later settled in Sidi Bu Said, near Tunis, and carried out monumental research on Arab music.
TN 015Palais du Baron d’Erlanger19th–20th centuriesRodolphe d’Erlanger (Boulogne-Billancourt 1872 – Tunis 1932) was a painter and music scholar. Born in France to an aristocratic family of bankers, he moved to the UK and took British citizenship, before going to Tunisia in 1909 for health reasons. He later settled in Sidi Bu Said, near Tunis, and carried out monumental research on Arab music.
IT1 075Portrait of Paul DranehtAlexis Zervudachi Collection1880s–90sPaul Draneht Pasha was born in Cyprus and grew up in Egypt. He was educated in France, had a brilliant career working for the Khedive of Egypt, married an Italian woman, had a Greek brother-in-law and bought his family house in Italy.

Working NumberNameHolding MuseumDateMaterialsCurator Justification
IT1 077Record of the marriage between the Egyptian governmental official Paul Draneht Bey, aged 55, and the Italian Adele Casati, aged 19, celebrated in Oggebbio (Italy) in 1873State Archives of Verbania28 June 1873Paul Draneht Pasha was born in Cyprus and grew up in Egypt. He was educated in France, made a brilliant career working for the Khedive of Egypt, married an Italian woman, had a Greek brother-in-law and bought his family house in Italy.
IT1 078Paul Draneht, his wife Adele Casati and their daughter DespinaMarke Zervudachi Collectionc. 1880Paul Draneht Pasha was born in Cyprus and grew up in Egypt. He was educated in France, made a brilliant career working for the Khedive of Egypt, married an Italian woman, had a Greek brother-in-law and bought his family house in Italy.
IT1 079An elderly Paul Draneht (1815–94) with his daughter DespinaMarke Zervudachi Collection1890sPaul Draneht Pasha was born in Cyprus and grew up in Egypt. He was educated in France, made a brilliant career working for the Khedive of Egypt, married an Italian woman, had a Greek brother-in-law and bought his family house in Italy.
IT1 076The villa of Paul Draneht in Oggebbio (Verbania, Italy)Fulvio Ramoni Collection1906 or slightly earlierPaul Draneht Pasha was born in Cyprus and grew up in Egypt. He was educated in France, made a brilliant career working for the Khedive of Egypt, married an Italian woman, had a Greek brother-in-law and bought his family house in Italy.
TN 026Le général Khaireddine (painting) Musée d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine de Kassar Saïd1852Canvas, wood, coloured pigments, gold leaf General Khair al-Din was a Circassian slave. He was raised in Istanbul by an Ottoman family, receiving a good education. Sold to a Tunisian envoy, he entered the court of Ahmad, Bey of Tunisia, where he continued his education. In 1846, he went to France as part of Ahmad Bey’s staff. He returned to France several times, spending years in Paris on governmental missions.

Working NumberNameHolding MuseumDateMaterialsCurator Justification
TN 057Khayr al-Din PachaInstitut Supérieur d’Histoire Contemporaine de la Tunisie19th century PaperAfter his years as the Bey’s envoy in Paris, Khair al-Din served as Tunisian minister of navy (1857–62) and prime minister (1873–77). The author of an influential book advocating constitutional government, the parliamentary system and the protection of individual liberty, he founded Sadiqi College (1875), which educated generations of Tunisia’s modernist elite.
IT1 009The Italian woman poet and peace activist of Armenian descent Vittoria Aganoor Pompilj (1855–1910), and a signed copy of her poem 'Peace'State Archives of Perugia3 September 1906Vittoria Aganoor Pompilj was the child of an aristocratic Armenian family who had migrated first to Persia, then to India in the 16th century, and eventually to Europe in 1835. Fond of Armenian culture and language, they settled in Venice to be near the Mekhitarist Congregation monastery. The Mekhitarists were active agents of Armenian cultural revival.