Worcester porcelain and the Arts of Islam: creativity, commerce, and exchange

  • From Saturday 10th October 2020 to Sunday 28th February 2021

    Open during Museum opening times, usual admission charges apply (under-16s free) and timed entry slots are in operation
  • Location: Museum of Royal Worcester, Twentieth Century Gallery


Visit from Saturday 10th October to see stunning objects and archive material not usually on show in a brand-new display! Due to new national restrictions we are now CLOSED but look forward to REOPENING from Thursday 3 December, subject to restrictions being lifted. You can share online in what we’ve learned about Worcester porcelain’s global connections by watching back our Facebook Live session where Fuchsia Hart, the project researcher, chatted with us about items in the display.

Worcester porcelain borrowed design inspiration from all over the world to keep up with the tastes of its customers. This started with China and Japan in the 18th century but the patterns and shapes of some of industry’s most elaborate and high status objects were influenced by the arts of the Islamic worlds of the Middle East and India in the 19th and 20th centuries.

This exchange of style and goods ranges from a 1820 pink plate from a breakfast service created by Chamberlains for Azam Jah, Nawab of the Carnatic in India, to the shapes of Royal Worcester’s extraordinary late 19th-century pierced vessels, to late 20th-century, richly-gilded dinner services for leaders of Gulf states. Orderbooks and design source books from the factory archives tell us more about these commissions and how Worcester artists learned about the arts of the Islamic world.

The new display comes out of a project funded by the West Midlands Museum Development ‘Expert Eye’ programme and the Islamic Art and Culture Subject Specialist Network which enabled an expert in the arts and design of Islam to spend time looking at our collections and archives.

Cathedral Ward, Worcester City Councillor, Jabba Riaz says “It’s a really beautiful project which highlights the journey of Royal Worcester into the Middle East and Asia and how Islamic art, calligraphy and geometry influenced many of the designs at the time”

MoRW is interested in hearing from our local communities about what these objects mean to them and invite people to visit and get involved, ask questions and take part in person and online. Plan and book your visit here.

West Midlands Museum Development and the Islamic Art and Material Culture SSN who supported this project are both funded by Arts Council England.


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