Explore artefacts made over a period of more than 1000 years in the heart of the Islamic world.
‘More than anything else . . . it was into his collecting that he poured the skill and passion of a complicated personality, and it is entirely fitting that it should be the collection he created which will remain as Gerald Reitlinger's permanent memorial.'
(From a portrait of Gerald Reitlinger by the Rt Hon. Lord Bullock, 1981)
Our collection of arts from the Islamic Middle East consists largely of ceramics, but also includes fine pieces of metalwork, glass, works on paper, textiles and carpets. It is primarily the result of a few major gifts made to the Museum by generous individuals from the late 1800s. The taste of these collectors, what was fashionable at their time and available on the art market are essential elements to understand how this collection was shaped, what it does include and what it does not.
The largest number of Islamic ceramics now at the Museum was donated by the British collector Gerald Reitlinger (1900-1978). Most of his Islamic collection was originally kept in a special room in his house at Beckley, Sussex, which he called ‘the Museum'. He used to restore his objects himself, and kept on cards the record of each piece in his possession.
Objects may be temporarily removed from a gallery or have been replaced. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a weekly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.