Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Islamic Ceramics

A select catalogue of the Ashmolean's collection of ceramics from the Islamic world from the 9th to 18th century, by James Allen (published Oxford, 1991).

Islamic ceramics, by James W. Allan
  • This is a visual browsing tool that maps objects in this publication, gallery or collection trail by date of creation onto a timeline. 
  • The circular markers indicate where objects are on the timeline.
    • The size of the markers indicates the relative number of objects at that point on the timeline.
    • Hover over a marker to find out which objects are represented at that point in time.
  • To expand, collapse or hide the timeline, click these symbols found at the top right of the timeline.
  • 830
  • 870
  • 910
  • 950
  • 990
  • 1030
  • 1070
  • 1110
  • 1150
  • 1190
  • 1230
  • 1270
  • 1310
  • 1350
  • 1390
  • 1430
  • 1470
  • 1510
  • 1550
  • 1590
  • 1630
  • 1670
  • All Objects

Author's note

The Ashmolean Museum's collection of Islamic ceramics, upon which this book is based, owes its existence to three particular benefactors. Charles Drury Fortnum (1820-1899)[1], a member of the family who owned Fortnum and Mason, the famous grocers in Picadilly, was a gentleman connoisseur. His collections ranged widely in both material and date, but among them were a small number of sixteenth - seventeenth century Turkish and Persian soft-paste porcelains, and some Hispano-Moresque pieces, objects which accorded with his taste for Renaissance European ceramics.

Sir Alan Barlow (1881-1968) [2], on the other hand, was a civil servant, whose taste for Islamic ceramics was much more wide-ranging. He donated most of his Islamic collection to the University in 1956; his other passion, his collection of Chinese ceramics, he bequeathed to Sussex University.

Third, and most important, was Gerald Reitlinger (1900-1978) [3], artist, traveller, writer, connoisseur. Alongside an extraordinary range of Far Eastern and European ceramics, Reitlinger amassed some 750 pieces of Islamic pottery. He also brought back large quantities of archaeological material from expeditions to Iraq, and wrote a number of important articles.

The debt of the University to these three men is profound. Not only do their objects make up the important display of Islamic ceramics in the Reitlinger Gallery, they also provide the Museum with a unique study collection: on these objects university students regularly focus their research, and on them future connoisseurship is being steadily built.


1 See T. Wilson, Maiolica, Ashmolean Museum (Oxford 1989) pp. 4-7

2 See J.W. Allan, Medieval Middle Eastern Pottery, Ashmolean Museum (Oxford 1971) p. vii

3 See Eastern Ceramics and other works of art from the collection of Gerald Reitlinger, Ashmolean Museum (London 1981) pp. 9-15, 99-101


Object information may not accurately reflect the actual contents of the original publication, since our online objects contain current information held in our collections database. Click on 'buy this publication' to purchase printed versions of our online publications, where available, or contact the Jameel Study Centre to arrange access to books on our collections that are now out of print.

© 2013 University of Oxford - Ashmolean Museum