New Light on Old Glories at the V&A

For three years, the main Islamic Middle East gallery at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum was closed. It reopened in 2006 to spectacular effect. Here we present key aspects of a stunning permanent collection that can now be seen, literally, in a new light. Commentary by its curator, Tim Stanley. Gallery photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has one of the world’s great collections of Islamic art from the Middle East, and it is more than half a century since the pick of this collection was first displayed in a large hall near the main entrance. This space, now renamed the Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, has been transformed into one of the museum’s most spectacular displays.

The key to the success of the new gallery has been the decision to lay the huge, beautiful and historically important Ardabil carpet on the floor in the centre of the hall and to design the rest of the once-gloomy room around it.

The carpet is protected by a canopy suspended just above head-height and at floor level by non-reflecting glass walls. It is therefore fully visible to visitors – particularly when the lights are on. To prevent fading, the lights are activated for only ten minutes on the hour and half hour, providing an unusual touch of drama to a gallery visit.

Cornucopia 36 for the full 10-page article

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Issue 36, 2006 A Beauty on the Bosphorus
£12.00 / $14.55 / 82.36 TL
Other Highlights from Cornucopia 36
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Buy the issue
Issue 36, 2006 A Beauty on the Bosphorus
£12.00 / $14.55 / 82.36 TL
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