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«Re-envisioning the Alhambra: Readings of architecture and ornament from medieval to modern Lara Eve Eggleton Submitted in accordance with the ...»

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Re-envisioning the Alhambra:

Readings of architecture and ornament

from medieval to modern

Lara Eve Eggleton

Submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of PhD

The University of Leeds

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

May 2011

The candidate confirms that the work submitted is her own and that appropriate credit

has been given where reference has been made to the work of others.

This copy has been supplied on the understanding that it is copyright material and that no quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

For all my loved ones across the pond Acknowledgements My supervisors, Prof Catherine Karkov and Dr William Rea, have been consistently supportive of the challenging scope of this project and its many divergent paths, while helping me to keep two hands firmly on the wheel. Their different research backgrounds have made for some lively and insightful joint supervisions and have provided me with a broad base of interdisciplinary knowledge. I am grateful for the generous financial support of the University of Leeds Overseas Research Student Award Scheme, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Abbey-Santander Research Travel Fund. Visits to the Alhambra have been greatly facilitated by Mariano Boza Puerta, while Mabel Garcia Casco and her family have given me a vibrant glimpse of life in Granada. My examiners, Prof D. Fairchild Ruggles and Dr Eva Frojmovic, have assisted in refining and enriching the material found herein.

Sylvie Simonds has served as a brave comrade throughout my doctoral studies; her warm optimism and lively sense of humour have made the experience truly memorable. Thanks to Alex Hannay, whose own daring journey through the histor(ies) of a monument has been an inspiration for this thesis. I am grateful to Rebecca Wade for her on-hand, specialist knowledge of Victorian Britain, and to my friends who have offered to read and discuss my work, not least of all Kate Bradbury and Agnes Woolley. In addition, I am fortunate to have access to a number of bright and enquiring minds in Leeds, among them Layla Bloom, Zoë Howe, Dr Ruth Kitchen, Matt John, Benjamin Hannavay-Cousen, Isabelle De le Court, Nichola Pemberton, Josie Flynn, Rhiannon Silver, Zoë Sawyer, Karen Watson and Jon Wakeman.

Dr Ros Brown-Grant, gifted scholar and close friend, has been tremendously supportive of my evolving work and has helped me to see the strength of my arguments. My mother, Darlene Woodwood, who has always been fascinated by the imaginative re-tellings of history, revealed to me early on the importance of perception in shaping our understandings of the past. Finally, my deepest thanks goes to Dr Graham Creeth, who has been at my side with steady encouragement and expertly cooked meals, and is perhaps best at making sense of complicated things.

Abstract The Alhambra, a medieval Islamic palatine city located in Granada, Spain, is examined in this thesis as the product of material transformations and changing visual perceptions over time. Selected areas of the Nasrid palatial complex (1238-1492) are explored within the context of their production, their later alterations under Christian rule, and in relation to the interpretations of British travellers, historians, designers and enthusiasts throughout the long nineteenth century.

Through the formation of individual and collective identities, responses to cultural difference, and an active engagement with the past, the Alhambra grew to become a commemorative monument of multiple and interrelated histories. In addressing the overlapping structural and ornamental layers which make up its form, this study challenges the historiographic limitations of categories such as 'medieval' and 'modern', as well as formal categories such as 'ornament' and 'architecture', which render some art histories more visible than others. A series of case studies examine the conditions that allowed for its reshaping, and the variety of ways its hybrid spaces have been re-envisioned. Chapters one and two focus on the visual manifestations of political agendas across both Muslim and Christian periods of rule, and challenge the application of binary models of influence and conflict to the periods leading up to and following the conquest of Granada in 1492. Subsequent chapters address nineteenth-century perspectives, revealing the perceptual frameworks that informed different impressions of the monument for popular and critical audiences. Descriptions and representations are discussed in accordance with Romantic visualising tropes such as the Gothic and the Sublime, and the Alhambra is situated within debates over national identity and technological progress during the Great Exhibitions of the mid-century. The Alhambra is thus understood both in terms of its cumulative value, and its individual layers of meaning that belong to plural histories and trajectories of influence.

A note on dates, language and terminology For reasons of consistency across the broad temporal expanse of this study and in order to avoid the risk of inaccurate conversions, I have used Gregorian calendar dates throughout and have not included Muslim calendar (Hijri) equivalents. Arabic and Spanish technical terms have been italicised (e.g. muqarnas, mocárabes), while the names of people and areas of the monument have not, and I include English translations of the latter where possible. I have done my best to use diacritical marks for Arabic transliterations, with the exception of terms that are repeated often, such as Nasrid (Na!rid).

In describing Muslim citizens of the medieval region of al-Andalus I have used 'Andalusi', and those of the same region under Christian rule (Andalucia), as 'Andalusian'. 'Granadans' has been used to describe the mixed population of Granada at points throughout both periods. For terms given to one group of people or society by another, such as 'gitano' or 'Moor', I have left them lower case or in single quotations as they refer to a generalised construct rather than a particular demographic or culture. However, I use the upper case version of Morisco and Mudéjar as there

–  –  –

Chapter 2 Imposing orders: conquest and coexistence in the columns of the Mexuar 73 'Living together' in Granada after 1492: influence or assimilation? 80 Heraldry for an absent king: the emperor's 'new mode' 90 Pillars of conquest: imperial symbolism in sixteenth-century Granada 100 Bearers of meaning: intersecting trajectories of the columnar tradition 107

–  –  –

Figure 1: Alhambra and Generalife site map (source: author after Bermúdez López, 2010).

Figure 2: Detail of main Nasrid complex (Comares and Lions palaces), and Generalife palace (source: author after Ruggles, 2000).

Figure 3: Patterned surfaces in the north-west corner of the Hall of the Ambassadors, Comares Palace (source: author).

Figure 4: Julio López Hernández, The Washington Irving Monument, 2009 (source: author).

Figure 5: Fragments of panels in the Generalife mirador (source: author).

Figure 6: Plan of the Court of the Acequía or Main Canal, Generalife (source: Ruggles, 2000).

Figure 7: Court of the Canal looking north-west, Generalife (source: author).

Figure 8: View of the main Nasrid palaces from the Generalife Palace mirador (source: author).

Figure 9: Nasrid dynasty genealogical chart (source: Fernández-Puertas, 1997).

Figure 10: Detail of panel dating to the reign of Muhammad III, Generalife (source: author).

Figure 11: Detail of panel dating to the reign of Ism"!#l I, Generalife (source: author).

Figure 12: Detail of motif attributed to the reign of Muhammad III, Generalife (source: author).

Figure 13: Examples of plain ataurique (source: Fernández-Puertas, 1997).

Figure 14: Floor plan of the Mexuar Hall and connecting spaces (source: Bermúdez López, 2010).

Figure 15: Contemporary view of the Mexuar (source: author).

Figure 16: Early twentieth-century view of the Mexuar (source: Archives of the Alhambra and Generalife).

Figure 17: Tiled mural dating from the reign of Charles V, Mexuar (source: author).

Figure 18: Nasrid capital, Mexuar (source: author).

Figure 19: Nasrid shield lazo tile, Mexuar (source: author).

Figure 20: Plus Ultra lazo tile, Mexuar (source: author).

Figure 21: Habsburg double-headed eagle lazo tile, Mexuar (source: author).

Figure 22: South portada, Palace of Charles V (source: Bermúdez López, 2010).

Figure 23: West portada, Palace of Charles V (source: Bermúdez López, 2010).

Figure 24: Illustrations of Nasrid capital and Composite capital (sources: Fernández-Puertas, 1997; Robert Chitham and Calder Loth, 1995).

Figure 25: Umayyad Capital from Córdoba (source: Jerrilynn D. Dodds, 1992) Figure 26: Taifa period column capital (source: Jerrilynn D. Dodds, 1992).

Figure 27: Detail of decorative inner border of Plus Ultra mural, Mexuar (source: author).

Figure 28: Kufic script, Hall of Ambassadors (source: author).

Figure 29: Habsburg coat of arms above fireplace, royal residence (source: Bermúdez López, 2010).

Figure 30: Panoramic view of the Alhambra from the Albaicín (source: Bermúdez López, 2010).

Figure 31: Topographic illustration of the Alhambra compound (source: Grabar, 1992).

Figure 32: Plan of Nasrid Granada (source: author after Grabar, 1992) Figure 33: View of the Alhambra from the south-west (source: Bermúdez López, 2010).

Figure 34: Map of Spain (source: author after Ruggles, 2000).

Figure 35: Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Snake Charmer, c.1870 (source: www.bridgemaneducation.com).

Figure 36: John Constable, Hadleigh Castle, 1829 (source: www.bridgemaneducation.com).

Figure 37: Thomas Gainsborough, Wooded Landscape with a Cottage, Sheep and a Reclining Shepherd, c.1748-1750 (source: www.bridgemaneducation.com).

Figure 38: David Roberts, The Tower of the Comares, c.1835 (source: Howarth, 2007).

Figure 39: James Cavanah Murphy, 'A perspective view of the court and fountain of lions' (source: Murphy, 1815).

Figure 40: John Ruskin, 'Ornaments from Rouen, St. Lô, and Venice' (source: Ruskin, 1849).

Figure 41: Philip Henry Delamotte, entrance to the Alhambra Court, 1855 (source: Victoria & Albert Museum).

Figure 42: Philip Henry Delamotte, exterior of the Alhambra Court, 1855 (source: Victoria & Albert Museum).

Figure 43: Owen Jones and Jules Goury, 'Comares Palace !amm"m, N-S Section', Plans, Elevations, Sections, and Details of the Alhambra, 1836-1845 (source: Fernández-Puertas, 1997).

Figure 44: Owen Jones and Jules Goury, 'Details of woodwork from various rooms in the Alhambra' (source: Victoria & Albert Museum).

Figure 45: Owen Jones, 'Greek no. 4', original drawing for The Grammar of Ornament, 1856 (source: Victoria & Albert Museum).

Figure 46: Owen Jones, 'Moresque Ornament No. 3', The Grammar of Ornament (source: Jones, 1856).

Figure 47: John Ruskin, 'Greek Spiral of the Sea' (source: Ruskin, 1851).

Figure 48: John Ruskin, '


Lines' (source: Ruskin, 1851).

Figure 49: Owen Jones, 'Plan of the Court of the Lions (Casa Real) and Plan of the Court of the Lions (Alhambra Court)' (source: Jones, 1854).

Figure 50: Owen Jones, 'Section of Court of Lions (Casa Real) and Section of Court of Lions (Alhambra Court)' (source: Jones, 1854).

Figure 51: Plan of the Lion Court following the addition of the palace of Charles V (source:

Ruggles, 2000).

Figure 52: Charles Clifford, 'Patio de los Leones', Photographic Souvenir, 1862 (source: Javier Piñar, 2003).

Figure 53: G. DeBeucorps, Oriental pavilion during restoration works, c.1858 (source: Javier Piñar, 2003).

Figure 54: Owen Jones, 'The Qalahurra Nueva of Y$suf I', Plans, Elevations, Sections, and Details of the Alhambra, 1836-1845 (source: Fernández-Puertas, 1997).

Figure 55: J. Laurent, detail of the decorative tile skirting board in the Coat of Arms Hall, c.1870 (source: Javier Piñar, 2003).

Figure 56: Wallpaper with naturalistic floral stripe framed by rococo pilaster motifs, France, c.1850-1860 (source: Victoria & Albert Museum).

Figure 57: Wallpaper illustrating the Crystal Palace, c.1853-1855 (source: Victoria & Albert Museum).

Figure 58: William Morris 'Acanthus' wallpaper, print from woodblocks (source: Victoria & Albert Museum).

Figure 59: William Morris, 'Borage ceiling paper' (source: Victoria & Albert Museum).

Figure 60: Entrance facade of the Mexuar (source: author).

Figure 61 : Section of ornament, eastern wall of the Hall of Ambassadors, Comares Palace (source: author).

Figure 62: Section of ornament, north-east corner of the Hall of Ambassadors, Comares Palace (source: author).

Figure 63: Owen Jones, 'Moresque No. 2' (source: Jones, 1856).

Figure 64: Muqarnas spandrel in the entrance to the Hall of Ambassadors, Comares Palace (source: author).

Figure 65: John Ruskin, 'Capital from the Lower Arcade of the Doge's Palace, Venice' (source:

Ruskin, 1849).

Figure 66: M. Digby Wyatt, Illustration of the Alhambra Court from Views of the Crystal Palace and Park, Sydenham, 1854 (source: Carol Hrvol Flores, 2006).

Figure 67. Owen Jones and Jules Goury, drawings of mocárabes (details), and section of the ceiling of the Hall of Two Sisters), Plans, Elevations, Sections, and Details of the Alhambra, 1836-1845 (source: Grabar, 1992).

Figure 68: Charles Clifford, 'Jitanos Bailando' ('Gypsies Dancing'), Photographic Souvenir, 1862 (source: Javier Piñar, 2003).

Figure 69: Charles Clifford, 'Jitanas Cantando' ('Gypsy Women Singing'), Photographic Souvenir, 1862 (source: Javier Piñar, 2003).

Figure 70: Charles Clifford, 'Tipos Locales [Local Types]' (Oropesa), 1858 (source: Fontanella, 1999).

Figure 71: Charles Clifford, Panoramic view of the Alhambra from the Albaicín, Photographic Souvenir, 1862 (source: Javier Piñar, 2003).

Figure 72: Anonymous, 'Gitanos bailando ante la Corte' (source: Francisco M. Tubino, 1863).

Figure 73: Henry Phillip, 'Gypsies Dancing the Vito' (source: Tenison, 1853).

Figure 74: Photographer unknown, 'Disguised group, posing at the Lions' Fountain', c.1900 (source: Javier Piñar, 2003).

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