Like his mother, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Edward Wortley Montagu was one of the curiosities of Venice.  He spent many years in the Middle East, adopting a black Arabian boy (probably his illegitimate son) and learning fluent Arabic and Turkish.  In 1765 he settled in Venice and became, in his own words “a part of the polite education of any noble youth who comes to this place on the Grand Tour”, sporting Turkish dress and a long beard. There he was visited in 1775 by Dr John Moore, tutor to the Duke of Hamilton:

 “there were no chairs but we were desired to seat ourselves on a sopha, while Mr Montagu placed himself on a cushion on a carpet, with his legs crossed in the Turkish fashion. “ They drank Turkish coffee and ate dried figs and Turkish delight, ”some aromatic gums were brought and burned in a small silver tray.  Mr Montagu held his nose over the steam for some minutes and sniffed up the perfume with peculiar satisfaction; he afterwards endeavoured to collect the smoke with his hands, spreading it and rubbing it carefully along his beard which hung in hoary ringlets to his girdle”.  They smoked a hubble-bubble “while two huge black mutes wearing nothing but small, square modesty nets of metallic mesh and silver bracelets and ankle rings, fanned their master with peacock plumes.”