This landmark exhibition, displaying the visual splendour of the arts of Persia's Qajar dynasty, was organised by the Brooklyn Museum of Art and curated by Layla S. Diba and Maryam Ekhtiar. Royal Persian Paintings: The Qajar Epoch 1785-1925 was not only the most important exhibition held on Qajar art, but perhaps the most important Persian art exhibition held outside Iran for more than 30 years. It was also the first exhibition devoted to the flowering of painting and the visual arts in Iran during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Morris Associates was commissioned by the Iran Heritage Foundation to design the installation for London, with a brief to provide the display with a strong and clear identity on two floors at the Brunei Gallery. However, due to budgetary constraints we were mainly limited to the display furniture that the gallery already possessed. We worked closely with the guest curator Dr Julian Raby and Farhad Hakimzadeh of the IHF to ensure a clear and historically accurate design. This close collaboration became even more apparent when several objects were withdrawn from the original object list and prominent replacements needed to be substituted at a late stage.
The goodwill of many collectors and institutions ensured that important historical examples were replaced and in some cases by even more renowned works. In fact, so many additional objects were lent that a further booklet was designed to accompany the main catalogue. Despite the various complications, the exhibition was still completed on time and budget and was extremely well received by the British public. The attendance figures reached a record high for the gallery (superseding Empire of the Sultans in 1996 - The inaugural exhibition designed by Morris Associates) and considerable international recognition was achieved for these lessor exposed works of art and the exhibition as a whole.