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

This volume, published by Brepols, reveals the impact that art objects manufactured in the Islamic and Byzantine Mediterranean had on the medieval visual culture of England.  It also addresses the complex phenomenon of the Crusades, in which both violence and dynamic cultural interaction coexisted.

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.


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

For more information, visit the Brepols website.


Published by Dr Julia Faiers

Julia Faiers received her PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2021. She wrote her thesis on the art patronage of Louis d’Amboise, bishop of Albi from 1474 to 1503, under the supervision of Professor Kathryn Rudy. Her postdoctoral research includes the nineteenth-century reception of medieval art and architecture, and late-medieval female art patronage in France. Julia gained a First Class Honours degree in art history at the University of St Andrews (1995). She won a British Academy Award to study for her MA in German Expressionism at The Courtauld under the supervision of Dr Shulamith Behr (1997), and spent almost twenty years working as a journalist before returning to academia in 2016.

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