Papers of Douglas Pickett

Scope and Content

Material relating to Douglas Pickett's published research into kashi, Persian tilework and mosaic faience, and his later unpublished research into the cities of pre-Islamic Syria. The bulk of the collection consists of over 1400 35mm colour slides, mostly relating to Iran with a smaller number relating to sites in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Azerbaijan. The slides cover mosques, madrasas, caravanserais, mausoleums, palaces and other religious and archaeological sites, as well as street scenes and landscapes. Most appear to have been taken by Pickett between 1963 and 1980. One set of slides (MS380812/3/2) represents illustrations used in Pickett's book, 'Early Persian Tilework: The Medieval Flowering of Kashi'. The collection also includes a copy of 'Early Persian Tilework'; an off-print of a published paper by Pickett on the significance of the Friday Mosque, Ushturjan, Iran in the history of Persian tilework; the text of a talk by Pickett on the cities of pre-Islamic Syria (with a box of 35mm slides of ancient monuments in Syria used to illustrate the talk); the unpublished manuscript of his research into the cities of pre-Islamic Syria ("Dead Cities of Syria"), and associated photographs, slides and negatives of archaeological and historical sites in Syria and Lebanon.

Administrative / Biographical History

Douglas Pickett (1936-1994) studied Persian at SOAS as an undergraduate, later obtaining a second undergraduate degree in English from the University of Newcastle, and an MA in Linguistics. He worked for the British Council from 1965 until 1982, serving in the Middle East, Spain, Africa and Indonesia. From 1962 until 1964 he lectured in English at the National Teachers' College, Tehran. During this time he began a study of kashi, Persian tilework and mosaic faience. This later became the subject of his Ph.D. dissertation, 'The Efflorescence of Persian Kashi: the Glazed Architecture Decoration of Islamic Iran in the Mongol and Muzaffarid Period' (SOAS Thesis 1266), completed in 1980, which he undertook as a part-time postgraduate student at SOAS. The dissertation formed the basis of his later book, 'Early Persian Tilework: The Medieval Flowering of Kashi', which was published posthumously in 1997. Pickett also conducted research into the cities of pre-Islamic Syria. After leaving the British Council, Pickett worked for the London Chamber of Commerce until retiring in 1990.

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Copyright held by Estate of Douglas Pickett unless otherwise indicated