Title

Incongruous Conceptions: Owen Jones’s Plans, Elevations, Sections and Details of the Alhambra and British Views of Spain

Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Art

Major Professor

Elisabeth Fraser, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Esra Akin-Kivanc, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Allison Moore, Ph.D.

Keywords

British Travel, Jules Goury, Nineteenth Century, Orientalism, Pascual de Gayangos, Romanticism

Abstract

This thesis analyzes Plans, Elevations, Sections, and Details of the Alhambra (1836-1842) by British Architect Owen Jones in relation to British conceptions of Spain in the nineteenth century. Although modern scholars often view Jones’s work as an accurate visual account of the Alhambra, I argue that his work is not only interested in accuracy, but it is also a re-presentation of the fourteen-century monument based on Jones’s ideologies and creative faculties. Instead of viewing the Alhambra through a culturally sensitive, historical lens, Jones treated it as an Imaginary Geography, as Edward Said called it, through which he could promote his interests and perspectives.

Although there were many British views of Spain in nineteenth-century, this thesis will focus on two sets of seemingly contradictory conceptions of Spain that were especially important to Jones’s visual and ideological program in Alhambra: Spain’s status as both the Catholic and Islamic Other, and its frequent interpretations through both romantic and reform-oriented lenses. Through a closer look at Arabian Antiquities of Spain by James Cavanah Murphy and the illustrations from The Tourist in Spain: Granada by David Roberts, I show the prevalence of these mindsets in nineteenth-century reconstructions of the Alhambra. Then, I compare portions of these works to plates from Jones’s Alhambra to illustrate Jones’s similar adaptation of these perspectives despite the visual peculiarity of his work as a whole.

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