“PRECIOUS” metalwork dating back as far as the 13th century has gone on display at a Bradford gallery.

Cartwright Hall in Lister Park has opened its latest exhibition ‘Precious and Rare: Islamic Metalwork from The Courtauld Gallery’ - and it features one of the finest pieces of Islamic metalwork still in existence.

It is an important collection of work that has left London for the first time in decades.

The ten remarkable pieces of Islamic metalwork date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, and include some of the finest examples of this intricate craft from modern-day Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Turkey.

The exhibition began at the Bradford Council-run art gallery, in the heart of Lister Park, on Saturday and will run until May 10.

The objects are on loan from The Courtauld Gallery in London as part of a four-date touring exhibition whilst it is temporarily closed for a major restoration project.

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The Courtauld Gallery’s small but renowned collection of Islamic metalwork was formed by one of the great Victorian art collectors, Thomas Gambier Parry, to complement his acquisitions of precious medieval and early Renaissance paintings and decorative arts.

Many of the best pieces in the collection have been on permanent display in The Courtauld Gallery since their bequest in 1966, and only a few pieces have ever been on loan before outside of London.

The intricate objects have now been cleaned and conserved for the first time since the bequest was made, over 50 years ago.

The most spectacular piece in the collection is the Courtauld Bag, made in Mosul, present-day northern Iraq, for a noble lady of the Persian-Mongol court, around 1300-1330.

It is recognised as one of the finest pieces of Islamic inlaid metalwork in existence, and is the only surviving object of its kind.

Other items include an intricately decorated incense burner, a stunning bowl and a pair of candlesticks.

The free exhibition explores the origin and cultural context of these extraordinary objects, and offers an opportunity for visitors to learn more about a fascinating area of the arts of Islam.

The objects will be displayed alongside paintings, photography, calligraphy and glassware from Bradford Museums and Galleries own collections.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “This important and little-known area of The Courtauld Gallery’s collection offers an opportunity for visitors around the country to learn more about a fascinating area of the arts of Islam.”

Dr Alexandra Gerstein, The Courtauld Gallery’s curator of sculpture and decorative arts, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Cartwright Hall to provide an opportunity for the local community to experience and enjoy some of the most treasured art works from The Courtauld Gallery.”

A launch event where people can meet the team from The Courtauld Gallery will be held on Sunday, February 2, from 1pm to 3pm.

This event is free and refreshments will be provided.

Dr Sussan Babaie, Iranian-American art historian at The Courtauld and the president of the Historians of Islamic Art Association, best known for her extensive research on Persian and Islamic art and architecture of the early modern period, will be giving a fascinating talk at Cartwright Hall on Sunday, February 9. To book a free ticket, telephone 01274 431212.

Those wanting to explore the exhibition in more depth can take part in a ‘Responses to Art: The Art of Metal Jewellery Workshop’.

Led by local jeweller Glenys Phillips, the workshop will use the pieces on display to create a small piece of jewellery in silver plated wire.

Places on the workshop will be £20 and can be booked by calling 01274 431212.

The Courtauld Gallery’s Tour of Islamic Metalwork is organised in collaboration with the Subject Specialist Network in Islamic Art and Material Culture at Birmingham Museums Trust and is supported by Art Fund.

For more information about this exhibition and other events and exhibitions at Bradford Council run museums and galleries visit: www.bradfordmuseums.org.

Cartwright Hall is also currently hosting an exhibition featuring work by the British Press Photographer’s Association.

Assignments 2019, which runs until mid April, features some of the best images taken by press photographers last year, featuring celebrities, politicians, wildlife and sporting events.