Robert Hillenbrand

Honorary Fellow


Professor Robert Hillenbrand was educated at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford (D.Phil. 1974); he has been teaching at the Department of Fine Art, University of Edinburgh , since 1971 and was awarded a chair of Islamic art in 1989. Professor Hillenbrand retired in December 2007 but is currently an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES).

His travels have taken him throughout the Islamic world. He has held visiting professorships at Princeton, UCLA, Bamberg , Dartmouth College and Groningen . He has written books on Imperial Images in Persian Painting, Islamic Architecture in North Africa (co-author), Islamic Art and Architecture , The Architecture of Ottoman Jerusalem . An Introduction, Studies in Medieval Islamic Art and Architecture (2 vols.) and the prize-winning Islamic Architecture. Form, Function and Meaning (translated into Persian in 1998). He has also edited Proceedings of the 10th Congress of the Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants, The Islamic Book, The Art of the Saljuqs in Iran and Anatolia , Persian Painting from the Mongols to the Qajars, The ‘Amiriya in Rada‘. The History and Restoration of a Sixteenth-Century Madrasa in the Yemen , Shahnama. Text and Image in the Persian Book of Kings and Image and Meaning in Islamic Art; and co-edited The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Persia . New Light on the Parthian and Sasanian Empires and Ottoman Jerusalem .

He has also published some 120 articles on aspects of Islamic art and architecture. In 1977 he curated one of the largest exhibitions of Persian miniature painting ever held. His scholarly interests focus on Islamic architecture, painting and iconography, with particular reference to Iran and to Umayyad Syria. He has served on the editorial boards of Art History, Persica, Assaph, Islamic Art and the David Collection, Bulletin of the Asia Institute and Studies in Islamic Art and Architecture and Oxford Studies in Islamic Art. He was Islamic art adviser to the 36-volume Macmillan Dictionary of Art. He has organised nine international symposia at Edinburgh. He has also served on the Councils of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem , British Research in the Levant , and the British Institute of Persian Studies (Vice-President).