Thursday January 18th, 6-7pm, ‘An elegant garden’ – Ottoman Tilework c. 1525-1600 (on Zoom)

Speaker, Dr Melanie Gibson, Editor of the Gingko Art Series and consultant to the Islamic Art module of the Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS, London University. Melanie’s research specialises in the ceramics, glass and sculpture of the Islamic world. She is a trustee of The Friends of Leighton House, and her current research project is on the making of the ‘Arab Hall’ at Leighton House. Melanie led the TACS tour of Leighton House in June 2023.

Ottoman ceramics, sometimes known as ‘Iznik’ after the town where large quantities of tiles and tableware were produced throughout the sixteenth century, have long been admired for their glowing colours and elegant floral designs. With the accession of Sultan Suleyman (r.1520–66) the demand for glazed tiles to decorate mosques and other buildings reached a high point. This lecture will look at how the ‘Iznik’ tile industry developed and expanded across the sixteenth century, looking first at the blue and white tiles of the hammam of Barbarossa and the circumcision kiosk at the Topkapi Palace. The construction of the Suleymaniye, an imperial mosque commissioned from the royal architect Sinan in 1550, introduced a new and distinctive palette which included red, and the second half of the lecture will look at this and other buildings such as the Rustem Pasha mosque, famous for its astonishing variety of new floral designs.

Suggested donation: £5 per person

E mail your booking request with event and names of all attendees to and transfer any donation/ booking fee to TACS account number 00221121 at 30-00-04 with reference: ‘EVENTS SURNAME’ (insert your surname).