- Oleg Grabar
(b London, Sept 13, 1879; d Acton, April 8, 1974).
English historian of Islamic architecture. Born in modest circumstances, Creswell attended Westminster School, where he was active in science and mathematics, and the City and Guilds Technical College at Finsbury, where he studied electrical engineering. He became fascinated with the Orient and specifically the Islamic world, gathering systematic notes on every known monument. In 1913 and 1914 his first publications dealt with domes in Iran, concentrating on their ‘origin’ and ‘evolution’, two terms that became essential concerns of his later work. He applied for a job in the Archaeological Survey of India, but World War I intervened, and he went to Egypt in April 1916 as a member of the Royal Flying Corps. In July 1919 he was appointed Inspector of Monuments in the area (occupied by the British Army) that had formerly been Ottoman territory. With the forceful energy that stayed with him until his early nineties, he traversed Syria and Palestine, measuring buildings, recording their condition and photographing them. Out of his Syrian experience, Creswell made plans for a history of the Muslim architecture of Egypt, and after his demobilization found a patron in Fuاad I (...