We are to delighted to have been able to host several wonderful events over the past week, bringing 2015’s RAS lecture and events series to a close in fine style.
On Thursday 10 December, RAS Council Member Dr Kaveh Bakhtiar lectured on “The British Mosque: fragments of an alternative architecture”. This fascinating lecture highlighted the complex history of early mosque-building and architecture in Great Britain. Mosque design in this country can be dated back to the famous Mosque at Kew Gardens, designed by Sir William Chambers. This was built in 1761 for its aesthetic and architectural appeal rather than as a working mosque. Abdullah Quilliam opened a mosque within the Liverpool Muslim Institute in the late 1880s, but it was in 1889 that Britain’s first purpose-built mosque was constructed: the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, built by Gottlieb Leitner and commissioned by Shah Jahan, Begum of Bhopal. The first mosque in London was the Fazl Mosque, also known as The London Mosque, in Southfields, which was inaugurated in 1926.
Dr Bakhtiar discussed the architectural features of the different mosques, characterised by their architectural diversity and the cultural and artistic cross-fertilisation that contributed to their design. The lecture was followed by a lively discussion, question and answer session, and guests enjoyed a reception with refreshments.
On Tuesday 8 December we hosted John Earle (University of Plymouth) who gave a lecture titled “British Vice-Consul and Local Hero: Nicholas Loney and a Sweeter Life on a 19th Century Philippine Island”. You can read more about Nicholas Loney and his time in the Philippines in our previous blog post here: http://royalasiaticsociety.org/exploring-the-philippines/. We were delighted to be able to host this lecture, which was greatly enjoyed by those in attendance.
On Monday 14 December, we hosted the launch of The Boxer Codex, by George Bryan Souza (University of Texas, San Antonio) and Jeffrey S. Turley (Brigham Young University), who transcribed, translated and annotated this illustrated late-16th century Spanish manuscript. Although portions of this gem have been known to specialists for nearly seven decades, this is the first complete transcription and English translation, with critical annotations and apparatus, and reproductions of all its illustrations, to appear in print. The launch featured a talk by the editors, followed by a Q&A chaired by Professor Francisco Bethencourt (Charles Boxer Professor at King’s College, London), and concluded as guests purchased copies of the new publication and enjoyed the refreshments provided.
Our first lecture in 2016 will take place at 6pm on Thursday 14 January when we will see Dr Nur Sobers Khan (British Library) lecture on “Urdu Manuscript Collections at the British Library”. We hope to see you then, and until then extend our best wishes for the festive holiday season.