Born in Lorraine in 1763, Antoine Ignace Melling, artist and voyager, was trained in architecture and painting. At the age of 19, he went to Constantinople as part of the Russian Ambassador's retinue. After successfully completing several commissions for Hatice Sultan, the sister of Selim III, which included the renovation and landscaping of her palace at Ortakeï, Melling was employed as the Sultan's architect in 1795. His position as royal architect gave him a privileged opportunity to observe the Ottoman court, and during his eighteen years there, Melling Pasha made many detailed drawings of the sultan's palaces, Ottoman society, and Constantinople and its environs. Having completed various projects for Selim III, Melling returned to Paris in 1803.