Encountering the East
Orientalist applied arts
Islamic art, and the art of Islamic Spain, was an inspiration for European artists and manufacturers.
During the 19th century, the value of decorative and applied arts was reassessed. This movement relates to the search for new decoration and manufacturing techniques to revitalise and enrich objects produced in Europe from the early 19th century to the 1930s.

The reasons behind this revitalisation are related to the development of European industry and the World Fairs. The search for new aesthetic criteria led designers and manufacturers to seek inspiration in the art of antiquity and the Middle Ages, in particular Egyptian and Islamic art, resulting in trends such as so-called Egyptomania and the Moorish style.

One particularly noteworthy aspect was research into antique manufacturing techniques and the use of new materials and techniques to reproduce objects inspired by Islamic art.
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Encountering the East

Painting: Scenes of everyday life
Painting: Landscapes
Orientalist applied arts
Wedgwood ‘drabware’


The British Museum, London, United Kingdom

The Napoleonic expedition to Egypt generated significant interest in the art from this country, inspiring the creation of objects with Egyptian motifs, such as scarabs, crocodiles and lotus flowers, which were used to decorate all manner of objects including this tea set.

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In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
Encountering the East
Encountering the West
The concept of revivals