A Karabagh 'Blossom' carpet, South Caucasus, 18th century. Estimate: £5,000–10,000
‘I am obsessed with this rug from its incredibly beautiful muted palette to the intricate pattern. I can see it working in literally any room making it instantly complete from the living room to the bedroom to the dining room. Everybody knows that good design starts from the floor up so selecting the right rug is a big decision. Yet with this piece I feel you can partner it with literally any style of furnishings from mid-century modern to Hollywood glam and it would work. The pattern adds instant pizzazz and the muted palette with its soft undertones means it’s perfect for anywhere in any space. I personally would plonk it centre stage in the living room slap bang in the middle of my conversational area so everyone would get to see it!’
Right: An Abigail Ahern interior. Photography by Graham Atkins-Hughes
Abigail Ahern, the London-based ‘high priestess of interior style’ (Livingetc), is an influential tastemaker acclaimed for her glamorous, eclectic and witty approach to design.
A Kufic Qur’an folio on blue vellum, probably Qairouan, Tunisia, 9th century. Estimate: £120,000–180,000
‘I don’t read Arabic, let alone Kufic script, but I have always loved calligraphy. A page of découpé calligraphy that I bought fairly recently is currently on loan to the Metropolian Museum's upcoming show of Deccani art.
‘This damaged fragment of a Qur’an, probably (the note tells me) from Qairouan, Tunisia, dates from the 9th century. It's written in red-outlined gold, with silver verse markers and carries an extraordinary charge — the word of God made manifest in high style. I even like the fact that it is a damaged fragment — that attests to its frailty and, paradoxically, to its strength as a survivor. When I collected Indian miniatures I was never obsessive about their condition. That meant I could occasionally afford to buy masterpieces.’
Left: Howard Hodgkin (B. 1932), Writing, 1991–1993. Oil on board. © Howard Hodgkin
Right: Photo © Robin Friend
English painter and printmaker Howard Hodgkin is known for his vibrant and distinctive style. His work has invited comparison with Matisse, Degas and American Abstract Expressionist painting, as well as Pahari miniature paintings of which he is a keen collector.
Antique Dealer and Founder of Jamb
A Karachopf Kazak rug, South Caucasus, circa 1890. Estimate: £9,000–12,000
‘I would choose lot 175 — the Karachopf Kazak rug. There is something about the design and colourway that lifts the soul.’
Left: Photography by Gisella Torres. Right: The bedroom at Will Fisher’s 18th century house in South East London. Photography by Simon Upton
Will Fisher, founder of Jamb, is one of the most respected and revered antique dealers. With over 20 years’ experience in the trade, he selects pieces for their distinguished design, individuality and exceptional finish.
A silver-embroidered velvet headdress, Caucasus or Russia, late 18th/19th century. Estimate: £2,000–3,000
‘The most beautiful thing I have ever seen.’
Left: Photography by Kevin Davies. Right: OC 864 from the Philip Treacy Spring/Summer 2015 collection. Photography by Kurtiss Lloyd
Internationally renowned milliner Philip Treacy has created exquisite hats for royalty, nobility and stars of stage and screen. His eye was caught by a silver-embroidered velvet headdress to be offered in our South Kensington sale.
An important 'Damascus-style' Iznik pottery dish, attributable to the 'Master of the Hyacinths', Ottoman Turkey, circa 1555. Estimate: £70,000–100,000
‘The Ottoman period fascinates me as a jewellery designer. The most important thing I learned from my profession is the importance of details… Creating harmony in a piece is [about] taking good care and paying attention to details. When my mind is drawn into Ottoman art, specifically Ottoman ceramics… I immediately find that I am there in Istanbul in all these great mosques… the Blue Mosque, [the] Rüstem Pasha Mosque; their walls covered with roses, tulips, carnations and apricot flowers. [At the] Topkapi Sarayi and National Museum, while I am among all these ceramic plates, I wonder how these great artists and craftsmen put all these details together in harmony…’
‘My appreciation of this has inspired me to create the ‘Splendours of the Ottoman Garden’ collection... A tribute to this beautiful art.’
Left: Photography by Omar Heikal. Right: Ottoman-style jewellery by Azza Fahmy
Egyptian jewellery designer Azza Fahmy creates exquisite pieces inspired by 7000 years of culture, combining contemporary design with traditional craftmanship.
Explore Islamic Art Week London
For more features, interviews and videos, see our Art Digest homepage