Edmund de Unger (* 1918 in Budapest) is an estate agent and since the 1950s a collector of Islamic art.

Live Edit

Edmund de Unger was born in 1918 as a son of a Hungarian aristocrat's family in Budapest. His family built up in 1830 this Ungarische national museum and also his father was a passionate collector of carpets. At the age of seven or eight years started to sketch de Unger, inspired from the carpets of his father, own patterns. His father who died when Edmund ten was took him quite early with in the most different museums and exhibits and even auctions. After his death Edmunds mother promoted his interest in the collecting, because it itself was fascinated by the beauty and Farbigkeit of the carpets. Already in his school hours collected de Unger stamps and coins. At the age of eleven years he bought the first object of his collection, an iron box from South Germany which he paid off one and a half years in rates. In 1934 Edmund the first spot came to London to learn English and to study later in Oxford. When the second world war began, he went back to Hungary to look after his family and saves some pieces from father's collection before the war, while he allowed to transport them with the help of his cousin to Belgium. During the Stalinism in Hungary Edmund more often got in the look of the secret police. That's why, among the rest, in 1949 he went back to Great Britain to study law. After end of his study he worked as a lawyer in the colonial office in Ghana and Nigeria. When he returned to England, he decided to become active on the property market.

Although quite early by various exhibits the passion was woken up to Turkish carpets, one can call Edmund de Unger only from 1958 to a serious collector. Reason for it was a stay in Cairo and a visit in the museum in which he admired especially the fatimidischen chandelier ceramics. In Egypt it also acquired be the first Islamic object, fatimidisches fragment with a face on it. Three years later he got to know the Islamic metal art in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Thus a substantial collection primarily of Islamic, but also European art gathered for more than five decades in. In 2009 this received Museum for Islamic art in Berlin as the long-term loan de Ungers "Keir Collection" which exists of 1500 works of Islamic art and is with it one of the biggest private collections of this kind. [1]

Edmund de Unger lives in Ham (Surrey) [2] in England.

Collection Edit

Carpets and textiles Edit

„ My love to the Islamic art began with carpets. I perceived the first one at the age of six years when my father Richard forbade to me to enter him. [...] Bit by bit covered themselves floors and also walls of my flat with new acquisitions. The end came when I discovered everywhere three positions of carpets on the ground – it could not go on. "[3]

The carpet collection de Ungers is one of the most important and biggest private collections of oriental carpets. The collection exists predominantly from Holbein-, lotto, Ushak-, transsilvanischen and Persian carpets as well as other carpets with plant motives and animal motives which can be divided, however, hard in groups. Beside carpets contain the collection de Unger still „ a varied fund, above all, in silk fabrics […] “ [4] whose large part exists of European textiles (200 objects), closely followed by Persian materials from the Safawidenzeit.

Book art Edit

„ In my childhood I liked the stories from " Tausendundeiner of night “ especially, and her coloured descriptions and advantages rich in picture must have stamped me. “ [5]

The accumulated book art objects Edmund de Ungers form collections of the highest importance and uniqueness. In the objects of the collection the development of the book art can be clearly understood. Beginning with Arabian painting of 13. Cent., about some illustrated sides from the Shahnama of Firdausi from 14. Cent. and two miniatures from "Layla wa Majnun" of Nizami (Herat school) from 15. Cent., up to "Five youths and two girls enjoying themselves in the country" of Riza-i' Abbasi (Isfahan school) from 17. Cent.

Metal Edit

„ I believe, no collection of Islamic art would be entire without metal work. […] in Islamic metal work I recognise the varied quality which is based on high-class technology and workshop. […] Here these are the form and, above all, the ornament and the art craft in which itself the mastery reveals. “ [5]

The Keir Collection contain only one small number in metal objects (21). Most respond by her quality and beauty, other, however, are from scientific interest and can enrich the research. The objects are decorated predominantly from bronze and with the most different technologies, one finds, for example, golden inlaid works and copper inlaid works. Most pieces come from Egypt.

Rock crystal Edit

The rock crystal objects of the collection de Unger come up to two objects from fatimidischen Egypt. The specific feature of the objects lies in the different forms and decorations.

Ceramics Edit

“ At that time I met for the first time Islamic ceramics. Like her attached counterparts they show the same connection of luminous colours, delicacy and daring of the ornament draught. Especially I admire the chandelier ceramics – in my opinion the biggest present, the Muslim potter of the humanity did […] and she lies to my heart probably most near. “ [5]

The ceramic collection is one, by her diversity impressive collection. She can be arranged roughly of three big groups, early chandelier ceramics, chandelier ceramics of 12. and 13. Cent. and fatimidische ceramics from Egypt which is probably the most impressive part of the collection. In addition, there are also objects from other areas and epochs, how the Abbasides and Umayyaden.

Literature Edit

  • Claus-Peter Haase (Hrsg.): Sammlerglück – Islamische Kunst aus der Sammlung Edmund de Unger, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz und Hirmer Verlag, München, 2007, ISBN 978-3-7774-4075-0
  • B. W. Robinson (Hrsg.): Islamic Art in the Keir Collection, Faber and Faber Limited, London 1988, ISBN 9780571137534
  • Géza Fehérvári: Islamic Metalwork of the Eighth to the Fifteenth Century in the Keir Collection, Faber and Faber Limited, London, 1976, ISBN 0571097405
  • Ernst J. Grube: Islamic Pottery of the Eighth to the Fifteenth Century in the Keir Collection, Faber and Faber Limited, London, 1976, ISBN 0-571-09953-X
  • B. W. Robinson: Islamic Painting and the arts of the book, Faber and Faber Limited, London, 1976, ISBN 0-571-10866-0
  • John Carswell, Edmund de Unger. Prime Collector, in: Hali: carpets, textiles and Islamic art, Heft 156, S. …, Hali Publ. Ltd., London, 2008, Template:ISSN
  • Friedrich Spuhler: Islamic carpets and textiles in the Keir Collection, Faber and Faber Limited, London, 1978, ISBN 0571097839

Web links Edit


References Edit

  1. communication of the state museums to Berlin from the 10th June, 2009
  2. Ham, Surrey
  3. Edmund de Unger," to the escort ', in: Claus-Peter Haase (Ed.), " collector's luck – Islamic art from the collection Edmund de Unger ", state museums to Berlin – endowment Prussian cultural possession and Hirmer publishing company, Munich, in 2007
  4. Gisela Helmecke, " brocades and velvets ", in: Claus-Peter Haase (Ed.), " collector's luck – Islamic art from the collection Edmund de Unger ", state museums to Berlin – endowment Prussian cultural possession and Hirmer publishing company, Munich, in 2007, p. 81
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named collector.27s_luck