From Cairo to Aleppo: photographs of the Middle East at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Ahram Online , Tuesday 6 Feb 2018

In March, the V&A will exhibit rare early-20th century topographical photographs of the Middle East

Victoria and Albert
A photograph of Cairo from the photographic archive of K.A.C Creswell (Photo: courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

On 23 March, the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London will host an in-depth exploration of a unique archive of Middle Eastern topographical photographs from the early-20th century.

The photographs on display come from the personal collection of Professor Sir Keppel Archibald Cameron Creswell (1879–1974), an English architectural historian who wrote some of the seminal works on Islamic architecture in Egypt.

"Creswell bequeathed his library of 3,000-plus volumes to the American University in Cairo, along with his collection of some 11,000 photographic prints. The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford received the photographic negatives," a press release by the V&A explained.

"The Victoria and Albert Museum now holds more than three thousand of his photographic prints, the majority of which depict Cairo, but also other cities across the Middle East and North Africa."

The event is supported by the Barakat Trust, which supports the preservation and study of Islamic cultural, artistic and architectural heritage.

"As part of the Barakat Trust’s commitment to the study and preservation of Islamic heritage and culture, this archive is now being analysed and systematically catalogued by researcher and grantee of the Barakat Trust Omniya Abdel-Barr, an architect specialized in the conservation of historic towns and buildings.

"During this talk, she will discuss her efforts to investigate Creswell’s photographs as well as the stories they reveal," the press release said.

Abdel-Barr holds a PhD on Mamluk architectural history, an MSc in Architectural Conservation and a BSc in Architecture.

The talk will take place on Friday, 23 March from 6pm to 8pm in the Prints & Drawings Study Room, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.

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