Book Series Studies in Medieval and Early Renaissance Art History

Bringing the Holy Land Home

The Crusades, Chertsey Abbey, and the Reconstruction of a Medieval Masterpiece

Amanda Luyster (ed)

  • Pages: 376 p.
  • Size:240 x 240 mm
  • Illustrations:136 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2022

  • ISBN: 978-1-912554-94-2
  • Hardback
  • Available

This volume 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.


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.


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

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