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Biography: R.H. Pinder-Wilson

R.H. Pinder-Wilson

R.H. Pinder-Wilson studied an important col­lection of Islamic glass fragments in Cairo, Egypt.

Pinder-Wilson, a resident of London, retired as regents’ professor at the University of California at Berkeley in 1984. He also served as director of the British Institute of Afghan Studies in Kabul (1976–1982) and as keeper and assistant keeper in the Department of Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum in London (1949–1976). He and George T. Scanlon published their first article on glass from Fustat (the first Arab settlement in Egypt, founded in A.D. 639) in the 1973 volume of the Journal of Glass Studies. Their book Fustat Glass of the Early Islamic Period: Finds Excavated by the American Research Center in Egypt, 1964–1980 was published in 2001 by the Altajir World of Islam Trust.

Glass from Fustat was also the subject of Pin­der-Wilson’s Rakow Grant–supported project. Two cabinets containing more than 1,000 fragments of Islamic glass from Fustat were discovered at the Gayer-Anderson Museum in Cairo. These fragments had been in storage since 1945 and had not been documented.

“Finds from the site of Fustat have already made an inestimable contribution to our knowledge of early medieval material culture in Egypt,” Pin­der-Wilson says. “A preliminary expert analysis of the glass collection in the Gayer-Anderson Muse­um has revealed a wide variety of techniques used in the fabrication and embellishment of glass that prove the technical excellence of medieval Islamic glassmaking.”