(1879–1974), prominent British


who specialized in Islamic architecture. Creswell was educated at Westminister College in London and began studying Islamic architecture In 1910. He first traveled to the Near East while serving in the Royal Air Corps during World War I. After the war he was assigned to conduct a survey of the monuments in Syria and Palestine. When this was completed, he launched a project to study the history of Muslim architecture in Egypt. In 1931, he was appointed to the faculty of the Egyptian University in Cairo, where he founded and directed the Institute of Muslim Art and Archaeology. In 1956, as a result of the Suez Canal crisis, all British citizens were to be exiled and forced to leave their possessions behind. Creswell, then 75 years old, refused to leave Egypt and his extensive library; he took refuge at the American University in Cairo, where he served as Distinguished Professor and Chair of Muslim Architecture until his death In 1974. His personal library, now known as the Creswell Library of Islamic Art and Architecture, still houses one of the most extensive collections on the subject in the world. His publishing record, which includes several bibliographies of Islamic art and architecture, reflects his passion for the subject and is an invaluable resource for archaeologists. Creswell is best known for his two-volume work Early Muslim Architecture (1932–1940), which serves as compendium of the subject. He later condensed and updated his magnum opus as A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture (1989).


  • Burns, Kristie. “Cairo's Creswell Collection: A Legacy of Love.” American Libraries 22 (1990): 940–944.
    A look at Creswell's life and the establishment of a research library from his personal library
  • Creswell, K. A. C. Early Muslim Architecture. 2 vols. Oxford, 1932–1940.
  • Creswell, K. A. C. A Bibliography of the Architecture, Arts, and Crafts of Islam to 1st Jan. 1960. Cairo, 1961.
  • Creswell, K. A. C. A Bibliography of the Architecture, Arts, and Crafts of Islam: Supplement, Jan. 1960 to Jan. 1972. Cairo, 1973.
  • Creswell, K. A. C. A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture (1958). Revised and supplemented by James W. Allan. Aldershot, 1989.
  • “Creswell, K. A. C.” In Contemporary Authors: Permanent Series, vol. 1, pp. 147–148. Detroit, 1975.
    Summary of Creswell's life and work, with a valuable bibliography
  • Geddes, Charles L., et al. Studies in Islamic Art and Architecture in Honour of K. A. C. Creswell. Cairo, 1965.
    Festschrift that includes an overview of Creswell's contribution to the field and a valuable bibliography
  • Grabar, Oleg, ed. Muqarnas: An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture. Vol. 8, K. A. C. Creswell and His Legacy. Leiden, 1991.
    A collection of papers given at a symposium at Oxford University, which focuses upon Creswell's contribution to the field and includes a short biography

John D. Wineland