The movement of art objects both into and out of medieval Britain was significant not only in itself, but because of the impact that those imported objects had. In my lecture I hone in on a remarkable group of English tiles, called the Chertsey tiles, and their extraordinary textual inscriptions, as an avenue through which to explore this theme. These ceramic tiles were discovered in the nineteenth century in the heart of the English countryside, at Chertsey Abbey. Two of the best-known tiles, roundels showing King Richard I of England, called the Lionheart, fighting Saladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, are currently on display in the British Museum. These roundels are part of a group known as the combat series and were probably commissioned for the Royal Palace of Westminster. My recent reconstruction of the layout of the Chertsey tiles reveals connections far beyond England. I will highlight their debt to the global movement of luxury textiles. Silk medallion textiles with figural compositions were traditionally woven in the Islamic and Byzantine Mediterranean, but were valued and imitated across a much broader geographical area, from medieval Japan to, as I will show, the British Isles.
No prior art historical knowledge is necessary.
Registration is required. Please book tickets in the link above. This lecture will take place online only.
About the Speaker: Amanda Luyster is Senior Lecturer at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, USA. She has published in journals including Speculum, Word & Image and Gesta, has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society, and has served on the Board of Directors of the ICMA, the International Center of Medieval Art. Her work on the Chertsey tiles and the roles of imported Islamic and Byzantine objects in medieval England is connected to her current book project as well as to an exhibition she is co-curating for Spring 2023.