1959 – Sir Archibald Creswell

Scope and Content

There is no archival material in this series. Please see Related Material for details concerning the conferment of the Medal.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Keppel Archibald Cameron Creswell was born and educated in London. He developed considerable skills in draughtsmanship and worked for Siemens Brothers and then, from 1914, the Deutsche Bank in London. By 1910 his interests were drawn to Islamic architecture for which he started collecting a library that was eventually to become one of the most comprehensive private collections of its kind. As well as working at his engineering day job, he spent time studying eastern architecture. In May 1914 he applied, unsuccessfully, to join the Archaeological Survey of India. The First World War broke out in August of that year, and in April 1916 he was selected on probation for appointment as Assistant Equipment Officer in the Royal Flying Corps. Some time afterwards he was posted to Egypt. He rose through the ranks, and by July 1919 had been appointed (as an Army Captain) as Inspector of Monuments under General Allenby's Occupied Enemy Territory Administration in Palestine and Syria.

In May 1920 Creswell drew up a proposal for a History of the Muslim Architecture of Egypt - this project was to continue until his death in 1974 with a sixth volume prepared but unpublished at that time. Creswell was appointed a lecturer at Fuad University (now Cairo University) in Cairo in 1931, and within three years was made Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture. He held this post until 1951. In 1956 he was appointed a Distinguished Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at the American University in Cairo. In June 1973, his health failing, Creswell returned to England. He died on 8 April 1974.

Related Material

In the Council Minutes for 12 February 1959, it was recorded that "Professor Creswell awarded the Triennial Gold Medal". This is also recorded in the Report of the Anniversary General Meeting in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1959, p.191. Also in the report, p.199, it was recorded that Professor Creswell was not present to receive his award. However on p.200 there is a report of the Presentation of the Gold Medal which took place on 11 June 1959.