New Publication: ‘Bringing the Holy Land Home: The Crusades, Chertsey Abbey, and the Reconstruction of a Medieval Masterpiece’, ed. by Amanda Luyster

A carefully-integrated group of studies begins with the so-called “Chertsey” ceramic tiles, depicting combat between King Richard the Lionheart and Saladin.  Found at Chertsey Abbey not far outside London and admired since the nineteenth century, we present here a new reconstruction of both the tiles and their previously-undeciphered Latin texts.  The reconstruction demonstrates not only that the theme of the entire mosaic is the Crusades, but also that the overall appearance of the tiles, when laid as a floor, draws from the composition and iconography of imported Islamic and Byzantine silks.  Essays illuminate specific material contexts that similarly witness western Europe’s, and particularly England’s, engagement with the material culture of the eastern Mediterranean, including ceramics, textiles, relics and reliquaries, metalwork, coins, sculpture, and ivories.

Amanda Luyster specializes in the study of the art of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in England and France, with particular attention to secular production and cross-cultural contact with the Islamic and Byzantine worlds.

Table of Contents

Foreword — Michael Wood

Director’s Foreword — Meredith Fluke

Preface: “For we who were Occidentals have now become Orientals” — Amanda Luyster

Violence, Persecution, and Cultural Borrowing during the Crusades — Amanda Luyster

The Chertsey Tiles, Reassembling Fragments of Meaning — Amanda Luyster

A Clash of Civilizations? Diverse Motivations, Multiple Actors, and the Hidden Richness of Muslim Historical Sources — Suleiman Mourad

The Crusades: A Short History — David Nicolle

“So much national magnificence and national history”: The Foundation, Structure, and Fall of Chertsey Abbey — Euan Roger

Epic Sensibilities in French art of the Crusader Period — Richard A. Leson

Recreating the Holy Land at Home: Relics from the East in England — Cynthia Hahn

The Mobility of Fabric: Textiles in and around Medieval Eurasia — Elizabeth Dospel Williams

Crusaders in Jerusalem: Frankish Encounters with Idols, Holy Monuments, and Portable Objects — Eva R. Hoffman

Oliphants and Elephants: African Ivory in England — Sarah Guerin

A Cupbearer Crosses Cultures: Figural Ceramic Traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean — Scott Redford

Citizens and Invaders: Encounters with Sculpture in Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade — Paroma Chatterjee

Object Biographies – Select Bibliography – Index

To purchase, visit Brepols.


Published by charlottecook

Charlotte Cook graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in European History from Washington & Lee University in 2019. In 2020 she received her Master’s degree in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, earning the classification of Merit. Her research explores questions of royal patronage, both by and in honor of rulers, in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England. She has worked as a researcher and collections assistant at several museums and galleries, and plans to begin her PhD in the autumn of 2022.

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