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The Alhambra in Britain


Through a critical re-assessment of the history of the Alhambra Palace in Granada and its reception, this project asks how Islamic artistic traditions were codified, interpreted and presented to Western audiences in the 19th century, setting the foundations for dominant frameworks in the history of the relationship between ‘Islamic’ and ‘Western’ art.

Project Overview:

This project brings together a group of experts for a collaborative reappraisal of early nineteenth-century plaster casts from the Alhambra Palace in Granada, the city-fortress of the last Muslim kingdom in Europe. Currently in poor condition, these objects are uniquely important in documenting the decorative programme of the Alhambra as it appeared in the 1830s, before creative restoration works by a Spanish architectural team radically altered the site. The project seeks to conserve a selection of the casts and broaden the debate to wider scholarly circles through the establishment of new, collaborative research networks.

Funders: Cambridge Humanities Research Grants

Marlay Group funding

Barakat Trust

Related publications

‘Casting the Alhambra Palace in Victorian Britain: Sir Grenville Temple and the Fitzwilliam’. Paper presented by Research Associate, Dr Marta Cacho Casal, at the conference titled ‘Hispanic Art in British Regional Collections: History, Display, Research’ (County Durham, UK, 22–23 September, 2022).

‘The Alhambra at the Fitzwilliam Museum’, article in preparation by Flavia Ravaioli, Marta Cacho Casal and Deniz Turker (peer-review expected in 2024). This publication presents key findings on the casts’ making, collecting and history, up until their recent rediscovery, within the context of changing museological practices around both plaster casts and Islamic art. 


Project team

Principal Investigator:

Flavia Ravaioli , Research Associate and Objects Conservator, Fitzwilliam Museum


Marta Cacho Casal, Department of Art History, University of Cambridge

Deniz Turker, Department of Art History, Rutgers University 


Outcomes of the project



Funders and partners

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