Thomas W. Arnold

Other names: 

Sir T. W. Arnold

Thomas Walker Arnold

Date of birth: 
19 Apr 1864
City of birth: 
Devonport, Devon
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
09 Jun 1930
Location of death: 
London, England

19 Gloucester Walk, Kensington, London


Thomas Arnold was an Orientalist scholar and administrator. From 1888 to 1898, Arnold taught philosophy at the Muhammad Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh. His contemporaries were Theodore Morison (chair of the report into scholarships for Indians to study technical subjects in the UK in 1913) and Theodore Beck, the Principal of MAO college.

In 1898, Arnold joined the Indian Educational Service and taught philosophy at Government College, Lahore, where he had a profound influence upon the poet-philosopher Mohammad Iqbal. Arnold returned to London in 1904. He worked as assistant librarian at the India Office, and taught Arabic at University College, London.

In 1892, Arnold married the niece of Theodore Beck. Theodore Beck's sister, Emma Josephine Beck, was Honorary Secretary of the National Indian Association from 1905 to 1932. In 1910, when the NIA's offices were housed in 21 Cromwell Road, so were the offices of the Bureau of Information for Indian Students for whom Arnold acted as educational advisor to Indian students (1909-12). Arnold was also involved in the formation of the India Society in 1910. In 1920, he retired from the India Office and was appointed as the first holder of the School of Oriental Studies' (founded in 1917) chair of Arabic and Islamic studies. 


Emma Josephine Beck, Theodore Beck, Laurence Binyon, Mohammad Iqbal, Theodore Morison.

Involved in events: 
Published works: 

Bihzad and his Paintings in the Zafar-namah ms (London: B. Quaritch, 1930)

The Caliphate (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924)

The Court Painters of the Grand Moghuls (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1921)

(with Alfred Guillaume) The Legacy of Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1931)

Painting in Islam (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928)

The Preaching of Islam (London: A. Constable & Co., 1896)

Secondary works: 

Gibb, H. A. R., ‘Arnold, Sir Thomas Walker (1864–1930)’, rev. Christine Woodhead, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Archive source: 

Correspondence and papers, School of Oriental and African Studies Archive, London

Correspondence, British Library of Political and Economic Science, LSE, London

Correspondence, Bodleian Library, Oxford