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(b London, Feb 26, 1905; d off Stornaway, Feb 24, 1941).

British writer and traveller. His travels in Greece in 1925–7 resulted in two books, The Station and The Byzantine Achievement, in which he presented readers brought up on the culture of Classical antiquity with a novel view of the importance of the civilization of Byzantium and the seminal influence of its art on the later development of European painting. In The Birth of Western Painting he developed this line of thought with a reassessment of El Greco as the ‘last and greatest flower of Byzantine genius’. His best-known book is The Road to Oxiana, a record of travels through Persia and Afghanistan in 1933–4 in search of the origins of Islamic architecture and culture. He contributed a conspectus of Timurid architecture and photographs taken on his journeys to the Survey of Persian Art. Although his views were often coloured by personal enthusiasm and prejudices (for example his hatred of the historical writings of Edward Gibbon) a surprising number of his insights into Byzantine and Islamic culture have been confirmed by later scholarship, and he played a major role in bringing these cultures to the attention of educated readers. He was also a founder-member of the ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Lölling, July 27, 1878; d Vienna, July 8, 1961).

Austrian historian of Byzantine, Islamic and Indian art. He studied art history and archaeology at the universities of Vienna and Graz and in 1902 completed his doctorate at Graz under Josef Strzygowski and Wilhelm Gurlitt, a study of the paintings in a manuscript of Dioskurides’ De materia medica (Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., Cod. med. gr. 1) copied for the Byzantine princess Juliana Anicia before ad 512. After military service (1902–3), Diez pursued further research in Rome and Istanbul and worked in Vienna as a volunteer (1905–7) at the Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie. From 1908 to 1911 he worked in Berlin at the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum with Max Jacob Friedländer, Wilhelm Bode and Friedrich Sarre. He was then appointed lecturer at the University of Vienna. From 1912 to 1914 he made trips to Iran, India, Egypt and Anatolia, which led to articles on Islamic art and architecture and ...

Article

(b July 21, 1904; d July 10, 1989).

British museum curator and art historian. After taking a degree at Oxford, he spent a season in Istanbul with David Talbot-Rice at the British Academy excavations of the Great Palace of the Byzantine emperors. In 1928 he joined the staff of the Department of Printed Books at the British Museum; in 1930 he moved to the subdepartment of Oriental Prints and Drawings, then headed by Laurence Binyon, who encouraged his enthusiasm for the arts of Asia. Gray’s involvement in the great 1931 Exhibition of Persian Art at the Royal Academy led to the publication with Binyon and J. V. S. Wilkinson of the monumental Persian Miniature Painting, and his relations with Binyon were strengthened by his marriage to Binyon’s daughter Nicolète in 1933. He took charge of the Department of Oriental Antiquities in 1938 on the retirement of R. L. Hobson and was named Keeper in 1946, an office that he held until his retirement in ...