An exhibition display, library and office for a private charitable foundation in Kensington, London.
The Foundation aims to document and preserve Islamic written heritage. It pursues this aim principally though its work in surveying, imaging, cataloguing, editing and publishing Islamic manuscripts.
Islamic manuscripts extant in the world are estimated to number three million, covering subjects as diverse as the Quran, Prophetic traditions (Hadith), jurisprudence (fiqh), logic, history and philosophy, as well as mathematics, the various sciences, poetry and literature, and art and craft.
This large and important resource is, tragically, in great danger of being damaged or lost for ever. Political conflict, social upheaval and the merely natural causes – whenever and wherever there is a lack of resources essential for its its maintenance and preservation, this heritage is in danger. The Foundation is committed to mobilising every available expertise to preserve this heritage and to restore these manuscripts and their content to cultural mainstream.
The Foundation houses a library which supports and enhance the Foundation’s research activities. The Library was founded in July 1990, and houses a carefully selected collection in various Islamic languages, including Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, and Swahili, as well as in Western languages.
Priority is given to a comprehensive collection of printed catalogues of Islamic manuscripts and to important primary and secondary sources in the field of Islamic studies.
Although the Library does not principally collect manuscripts, (it holds microfilms and CD-ROMs of several thousands of manuscripts) there are a number of significant examples within the collection. Ashton Porter’s project permits the display of these valued texts on a series of structural glass display surfaces.