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Inveniam Viam Aut Faciam: Sadberk Koç as a Rigorous Collector

November 9, 2022 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm

M. Merve Uca
(Sadberk Hanım Müzesi)

Inveniam Viam Aut Faciam:
Sadberk Koç as a Rigorous Collector

Wednesday, 9 November 2022, 19:00 (Turkish time, GMT + 3)

Turkey’s first private museum is named after Sadberk Koç, who pioneered in the development of private museums in this country. She is not only a key figure in the history of Turkish museums, but also in systematic antiques collecting. Sadberk Hanım was born in Ankara in 1908, the second of three daughters of Seraktar Sadullah Bey, who belonged to an eminent local family. She attended the Sainte-Euphémie French Junior School for Girls in Istanbul and at the age of 18 married her maternal cousin Vehbi Koç. Sadberk Hanım was a woman strongly attached to traditional values and family life and a supportive and understanding wife and caring mother, who ensured that her children grew up in a happy, peaceful environment that embraced the principles of the young Turkish Republic. At the same time, she was a dedicated collector with a keen aesthetic eye, who endeavoured to preserve Turkey’s cultural heritage. The collection that she gathered so meticulously now forms the nucleus of the Sadberk Hanım Museum collection, Turkey’s first private museum, which was founded with her encouragement and in her name. This collection, consisting particularly of textiles, embroideries and artifacts of other Ottoman arts that are now falling into oblivion, has in this way become available to the general public and academics, so opening the way for fresh ideas. Although Sadberk Hanım’s name is referenced in diverse publications on Turkey’s museums, her visionary personality, her role as a systematic collector, her contribution to preserving our cultural heritage and to the development of private museums in Turkey have not been sufficiently recognised. This lecture seeks to fill this gap by examing the development of Sadberk Hanım’s collection, the reflection of her personal characteristics on this development and the importance of her visionary approach in the context of antiques collection, private museums, preserving our cultural heritage and other areas. The lecture begins with an introduction about Sadberk Hanım’s life and goes onto to discuss her interest in art, her early collecting, the expansion of her collection, the past, present and future of Sadberk Hanım Museum, and the importance of its collection, especially in the field of textiles.


M. Merve Uca graduated in Archaeology from Bilkent University and completed a minor degree in Ottoman History at the same university. This led her into the study Sadberk Koç photographed at the end of the 1920s, Sadberk Hanım Müzesi archiveOrient-Institut Istanbul Lecture Series 7 of Ottoman cultural history. She went on to take a master’s degree in Art History at Koç University; writing a thesis entitled “A Fashion Bonanza: Representation of Ottoman Woman in the Sixteenth-Century Costume Albums”, under her supervisor Prof. Dr. Günsel Renda. She worked as a research assistant at Koç University from 2016 until 2019, when she was appointed as an art history expert at Sadberk Hanım Museum. She is currently serving as curatorial team coordinator, responsible for coordinating content development and relocation projects for the museum, which is in the process of relocating to a new site in the Golden Horn area. While working in fields such as museum design, developing concepts and scenarios for museums, and relations between objects and their contexts, she is simultaneously pursuing her academic studies on subjects including early Ottoman period textiles and costume, Ottoman cultural history and Ottoman-European relations.


November 9, 2022
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


Orient-Institut Istanbul
Şahkulu Mah., Galip Dede Cad. No. 65
Beyoğlu, İstanbul 34421 Turkey
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