The Sherleys and the shah: Persia as the stakes in a rogue’s game

Two brothers from an English aristocratic family that was down on its luck, Anthony and Robert Sherley, found their way in 1598 to Persia, where they entered the service of Shah ‘Abbas the Great. Their scarcely believable fortunes – both became ambassadors of the shah to the kingdoms, empire and papacy of Europe – are here reviewed, especially with attention to the prints and paintings through which they displayed their Persian status.

From exhib. cat. The fascination of Persia: The Persian-European dialogue in seventeenth-century art & contemporary art of Teheran, ed. Axel Langer, Zürich (Museum Rietberg) and Verlag Scheiddeger & Spiess 2013, pp. 78-99, 294-97, 300-20

Download: The Sherleys and the Shah.compressed

German edition

“Die Sherleys und der Schah: Persien als Spielfigur in einem Schurkengambit,” in Ausstellungskatalog Sehnsucht Persien: Austausch und Rezeption in der Kunst Persiens und Europas im 17. Jahrhundert * Gegenwartskunst aus Teheran, herausgegeben von Axel Langer, Zürich (Museum Rietberg) und Verlag Scheiddeger & Spiess 2013, S. 78-99

Download pdf (1 MB)

pp. 294-320

Anhang und Literatur (1 MB)

As an aid in researching this complex subject, I built a table following the lives of four Sherley men: Father Thomas, oldest son Thomas, Anthony and Robert.

Chronology of the lives of four Sherley men

See too the sequel to this column, with more images and information about Robert Sherley in Rome: 425 Do you doff your turban for the pope?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *