Event / Richmond Literature Festival

Habitats and Heritage Present: Diana Darke, Stealing from the Saracens

8 Nov 2020 – 12:00 – 13:30 GMT

Join local author and Arabist, Diana Darke as she discusses her new book Stealing from the Saracens: How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe, a revealing history of Islamic architectural influence on some of Europe’s most recognisable buildings, from Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Houses of Parliament.

Diana will trace the ideas and styles from vibrant Middle Eastern centres like Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo, via Muslim Spain, Venice and Sicily into Europe. She’ll describe how medieval crusaders, pilgrims and merchants encountered Arab Muslim culture on their way to the Holy Land; and explore more recent artistic interaction between Ottoman and Western cultures, including Sir Christopher Wren’s inspirations in the ‘Saracen’ style of Gothic architecture.

Recovering this long yet overlooked history of architectural ‘borrowing’, Stealing from the Saracens is a rich tale of cultural exchange, shedding new light on Europe’s greatest landmarks.

Stealing from the Saracens
How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe
Richmond Literature Festival
Orleans House Gallery