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The Alhambra Room

The Alhambra Room, of breathtaking beauty, is an exact copy from the Alhambra Palace in Granada, recreated here by Mabel Walker-Munro as a present for her husband. During their honeymoon he had so admired the then ruined Alhambra that she was determined to recreate this room for his own private use as a smoking room. She therefore instructed her architects to set out and gather materials, including onyx from Persia and coppersmiths of Moorish origin who were capable of recreating this unique room in England.

High in the dome one sees beautiful stars in Venetian glass forming the Star of David. One could liken the vast dome itself to the breast feathers of a peacock. Below is a bronze grille. This was once part of the first air-conditioning of the house, which could either blow hot or cold air pumped by the great gas engines. On the magnificent copper and bronze lantern is the full Ruaiyat of Omar Khayyam, both in cameo and intaglio, and, on the base, a comet whirling through space shows how God created the world. If one looks carefully, there are six appendages symbolising that in six days God created the world and on the seventh He rested.

The walls of beaten copper with a gesso finish bear the inscriptions: "There is no God but God and Mohammed is his prophet", "God loves all men and loves a true believer" and "The heavens and the earth testify to the magnificence of God". The beautiful mosaic floors with onyx pillars tell the story of how the great and good Caliph Harmoum Al Rashid of Baghdad, by making magic from the pentacle (which is seen in the centre of the floor), rescued his twin daughters from the clutches of Ahnzar the Devil who had turned them into flamingos.

Opposite the doors, notice the tapestry work of the fine Kalim prayer carpets, every stitch a prayer. The doors to the room are inlaid with brass telling the same story as is told in the floor. The tiles on the walls are hand cut and hand burnt and each show flowers and other symbols of religious significance.

For more details contact us at Rhinefield Road, Brockenhurst; Hampshire SO42 7QB