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A Taste of Art: Andalucia


 Monday 20th February                Monday 27th February                     Monday 6th March

  Moorish Architecture:                  Islamic Carved Ivory                        Luxury Silk Textiles

  Legacy of a Vanished                                Caskets                                       from al-Andalus


Cordoba Mosque interior 2 (2).jpg
Al Mughira pyxis.jpg
V&A 828-1894 Almoravid 1100-1150 Chasuble from Basilica of St Sernin, Toulouse.jpg

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     The Great Mosque of Cordoba                       The al-Mughira Pyxis                                    Almoravid Silk Textile

Our Taste of Art series takes us next to Andalucia, where we discover the rich material culture of the vanished kingdom of al-Andalus, the only Islamic kingdom ever to have existed in western Europe - one which lasted in various formats for nearly 800 years! Our journey begins on Monday 20th February, 2023.

This lecture series happily coincides with the upcoming exhibition at the Royal Academy - 'Spain and the Hispanic World' - which will run from 21st January to 10th April, 2023.


The lectures will be 'live', via Zoom Webinar on consecutive Monday early evenings, at 6pm UK time. Each lecture lasts about 50 minutes, after which we will answer questions you can type in to the Zoom system.

Please note: The lectures will be recorded and available to view on demand for up to 6 days after the end of each lecture, so you can enjoy them no matter where in the world you are or what time of day suits you best.ter which I will answer questions you can type into the Zoom facility. 

How to Sign Up

To participate in any one of the lectures or in the series of three lectures, simply click on the relevant 'Buy Now' button below, depending on whether you want to sign up for the full course of three lectures, for £30, or for individual lectures, at £12 each. You can also invite a friend to one lecture of your choosing, at a cost of £6.


A Taste of Art: AndaluciaThis series, consisting of three lectures, will explore the history, architecture, carved ivory caskets and luxury silk textiles of this fascinating Islamic kingdom, that lived cheek-by-jowl with the Christian and Jewish cultures that also thrived in the Iberian peninsula. At times they lived together in relative harmony, at other times less so. But the interaction and cross-fertilization of ideas that went on between these three cultures produced something quite unique and at times stunningly beautiful. 


Course cost £30





Lecture 1: Moorish Architecture: Legacy of a Vanished Kingdom

The Alhambra of Granada, the Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Alcazar of Seville are three of the most impressive monuments to the architectural creativity of the Moors in Spain, but there are many other examples worthy of mention too.


The classical origins that influenced the Moorish style are less well-known, but fascinating to explore, as too is the unique interior decorative style developed by the Moors, which gives their architecture its beauty and exotic appeal – an appeal so strong that Christians and Jews sometimes copied it, even as the territory was slowly reconquered from its Islamic rulers. This lecture provides a comprehensive introduction to the peninsula’s Moorish history and architecture, as well as some of its more colourful characters.

Lecture cost £12.


Lecture 2: Islamic Carved Ivory Caskets: Crossing Religious Boundaries

The exquisite carved ivory caskets and pyxides produced in al-Andalus were secular objects of great beauty, given by members of the Caliphal court as expensive containers for perfumes and jewellery. They were covered in Islamic inscriptions and a range of imagery depicting everything from simple arabesque vegetation to scenes of the Islamic royal hunt, derived from earlier, pre-classical imagery and myths.


During the centuries of the reconquest, many of these caskets fell into Christian hands and were often donated to church or cathedral treasuries. Some were even re-purposed as reliquary containers for Christian saints, despite their overtly Islamic inscriptions and decorative programmes. Understanding how and why this happened gives us a fascinating insight into the porous religious and political boundaries between the opposing cultures of the Iberian peninsula.

Lecture cost £12.

Lecture 3: Luxury Silk Garments from al-Andalus

The silk industry thrived in Muslim-controlled al-Andalus from the introduction of silk worms in the late eighth century until the ‘expulsion edicts’ of the early seventeenth century. The elaborate silk textiles produced by the Moors were coveted equally by the Muslim and Christian nobility of the period, both within and beyond the Iberian peninsula.


These luxury silk textiles display a fascinating range of Islamic iconography that refers back to well-known imagery from classical civilizations, as well as cross-referencing to other areas of Andalusi material culture, such as architecture, ivories and bronze sculptures. Surprisingly, some of these garments have survived in relatively good condition for nearly a thousand years, many because they were used as burial vestments and coffin linings for Christian kings and senior clergy.

Lecture cost £12.

Invite a Friend

You can invite a friend to one lecture of your choosing, at half price. Click the Buy Now button to complete your purchase and we will e-mail you for contact details for your friend, and the name of the lecture you'd like to offer them.


Cost £6. 

When we receive notification of your payment, we will also receive details of the e-mail address associated with your PayPal account, and will send you an e-mail acknowledging receipt within 3 days.


If you haven't used Zoom before, it's easy. The later e-mail we will send you, a day or so before the lecture is due to start, will include the Zoom Webinar link. On the date of the lecture you simply click on the link - approximately 5-10 minutes before the start time of 6pm UK time - and when Zoom Webinar opens you follow the on-screen instructions.

Finally, after each lecture finishes, we will send you a link to a recording of the lecture, which will be available to view for a further 6 days.

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See also Jacqueline's book,  ‘A Taste of Art: London’ (Unicorn Press 2019)

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