Fountain circa 1879-1880
Designed by architect George Aitchison
Why Is It Important?
Water has a universal language of ritual and renewal. Leighton and Aitchison (1825-1910) would certainly have been aware of the benefits of using water in conjunction with architecture. Leighton would probably have also understood the religious significance.
The use of the fountain in the Arab Hall is purely aesthetic in its intentions.
The fountain shares a common function with those found in buildings across the Middle East in it's centrality within the architecture. Water plays an important role in the architectural schemes of most large-scale secular buildings, from The Alhambra in Spain to the Moorish palace that inspired Leighton's Arab Hall, namely La Zisa, in Palermo, Sicily.
Fountains have always served a dual function in Islamic design. From an architectural point of view it enhances the atmospheric qualities of a space. It also serves as a reminder to Muslims of sections of the Qur'an referring to Paradise (described as having fountains and gardens) and the afterlife.
The use of fountains and floral designs on surrounding tile work was intended to provoke a contemplative attitude on those who entered the space.
Next : Mosaic frieze, circa 1881-1882.
Previous : 17th century stained glass from Damascus.
End Arab Hall Tour.