Style Guide: Influence of Islam
The arts of the Islamic world became increasingly influential from the 1840s. The complex religious and historical factors influencing the appearance of objects from Iran, Turkey, north Africa and southern Spain were seldom understood, but such works were deeply admired for their technical and aesthetic brilliance. Colours, patterns and motifs from a variety of sources were used to create a composite 'Islamic' style.
Plant and flower motifs
Patterns of intertwining flowers and leaves were incorporated into various 19th-century designs, particularly those for ceramic vessels and tiles.
The distinctive turquoises, blues, greens and reds found on ceramics from Iznik (in Turkey) inspired many designers in the 19th century.
The lustrewares made in Iran and southern Spain between 1200 and 1600 were much admired in the 19th century. The characteristic iridescent surfaces and striking patterns of these ceramics were emulated by British potters.
Minton & Co.
Bone china, painted in underglaze and overglaze colours
Museum no. 8098-1863
William Frend De Morgan
Buff-coloured earthenware, with painting over a white slip
Museum no. 361-1905
Owen Jones (1809 - 1874)
The architect and designer Owen Jones played a key role in introducing and popularising the arts of the Islamic world. Jones particularly admired the Moorish art and architecture of northern Africa and southern Spain. Between 1842 and 1845 he published a detailed study of one of the most famous Moorish buildings, the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. Jones' most important and influential work was The Grammar of Ornament (1856). It illustrated examples of historic styles and featured 'Arabian', 'Turkish', 'Persian', and 'Moresque' designs. Jones often used such stylistic sources in his own work
William De Morgan (1839 - 1917)
William De Morgan was one of the most innovative ceramic designers of his day. His particular passion was the development of patterns and colours inspired by Spanish, Iranian and Turkish ceramics dating from 1400 to 1600. De Morgan spent many years experimenting with techniques and created countless designs for vases, dishes and tiles. He was particularly famed for his boldly coloured lustrewares.
John Frederick Lewis (1805 - 1875)
British artist J.F. Lewis lived for almost a decade in Cairo. He returned to Britain in 1851 and devoted the rest of his career to the painting of vivid and meticulously detailed scenes of Egyptian life, first in watercolour and, from 1858, in oils. Lewis's pictures of Egyptian men and women in traditional Arabic dress and settings were very popular. Based on fantasy as much as fact, they did much to generate a particularly 19th- century vision of the picturesque East.
Alhambresque furnishing fabric
Owen Jones (possibly, designer)
Woven silk with satin binding
Museum no. T.132-1972
William De Morgan
William Frend De Morgan
Earthenware, painted in ruby and yellow lustres
Museum no. 832-1905
Buildings and Interiors
The Arab Hall, Leighton House
Leighton House in Kensington, London, was the home of the painter Frederic Leighton. The centrepiece of the house is the Arab Hall. It was created between 1877and 1879 by George Aitchinson as a showcase for the dazzling collection of 14th- and 15th- century tiles Leighton had acquired while travelling in Syria and Turkey. The scheme of tiles was completed with panels by William de Morgan. The room also features a marble pool, a wooden balcony or zenana and a gilt mosaic frieze.
Influence of China
Influence of Japan
Influence of India