Two of Britain’s greatest museums provide a London treasure-house of Islamic works of art. The first is the V&A. One of its original aims, in 1852, was to inspire British designers and manufacturers. And its Islamic collections did just that, one of its most notable recipients being William de Morgan (1839–1917), the great lustre ceramicist.
Today, the Islamic gallery, focused on the famous Ardabil carpet, houses an awesome assemblage of Islamic works of art, including ceramics, tilework, metalwork, woodwork, glass, rock crystal, textiles and carpets. It also has a valuable educational group of cases which display the four elements so common in Islamic art – calligraphy, geometry, the arabesque (‘inspired by plants’), and figural art (‘images and poetry’). The day will start with these to form an initial understanding of Islamic art and what aesthetic or religious principles have helped to fashion it. Moving through the gallery, art and design are put into their Islamic cultural context, while enjoying the different designs displayed, particularly on carpets and textiles, as well as learning about individual pieces.
The British Museum offers the visitor an incredibly rich collection of Islamic ceramics and metalwork, as well as some works of art on paper. The development of Islamic art in the different media is traced and the techniques explored which enabled them to evolve and develop, and to have such an impact on Italian Renaissance ceramics and design. The visit will include the major redisplay in the new Albukhary Foundation Galleries of the Islamic world.
Professor James Allan
Expert in Islamic art and architecture and Middle-Eastern archaeology. He read Arabic at Oxford, where he also completed his doctorate, and spent most of his career in Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, where he also lectured for the Faculty of Oriental Studies. He has worked as a field archaeologist in Jerusalem and at Siraf and was President of the British Institute of Persian Studies, 2002–6.
View excerpt from Professor James Allan's lecture, 'Uzebekistan: Seen & Unseen' (London Lecture Afternoon, October 2017).
10.15am at the V&A.
Approximately 5.15pm at the British Museum
This includes morning and afternoon refreshments and lunch, donations and one journey by Underground.
Travel is by Underground and there is some walking and standing during the day.
Maximum 14 participants.
We will return the full amount if you notify us 22 or more days before the event. We will retain 50% if cancellation is made within three weeks and 100% if within three days. Please put your cancellation in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. We advise taking out insurance in case of cancellation and recommend that overseas clients are also covered for possible medical and repatriation costs.
I really appreciated the clarity of the information about the Islamic Art being shown. It was fascinating to be introduced to Islamic Art in so many diverse forms - within the structure presented so clearly at the start of the day. The final session with the curator at the British Museum was amazing.
It was our first experience of a Martin Randall study day and we were most impressed.