For the second year running Leighton House hosted an Islamic Art Study Day for A Level Art History students from local west London schools.
Our students were privileged to hear the curator speak on nineteenth century artist Leighton and his orientalist taste, and trustee and Courtauld lecturer Melanie Gibson introduce them to the complexities of the historical and geographic span of Islamic art. A guided tour featured examples of tile designs, including calligraphy and figuration, in the spectacular but misnamed ‘Arab Hall’. Anna McSweeney from Sussex University not only outlined the original architecture of the Mosque at Cordoba, but asked students to interact and discuss the history of its changing representation as mosque/cathedral in tourist literature of the area from recent decades, pitching her talk perfectly for the syllabus requirements. Emily Hannam, curator to the Queen’s collection at Windsor Castle used magnified images to show the full range of skills and approaches used in Mughal miniature painting.
With the Islamic galleries at the V & A, and the ‘Inspired by the East’ exhibition just opened at the British Museum we hope students will follow up the day with their own explorations.