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.


“Specialists will appreciate the focus on the visual impact of the Crusades on medieval England; the short, accessible essays are also excellent candidates to form the backbone of undergraduate reading lists on the topic.” (MEG BERNSTEIN, in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 11/08/2023)

“(…) Bringing the Holy Land Home contributes to other scholarly endeavors that understand works as products of a larger world of material and literary culture, of complex historical contexts, and of inherently permeable borders. More specifically, it contributes to endeavors that see the Crusades not only in terms of belligerents and military agendas, but also in terms of productive contacts both transient and material, and the far-flung locations such contacts could affect.” (Lisa Mahoney, in The Medieval Review, 03/11/2023)


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.


FOREWORD by Michael Wood
PREFACE by Amanda Luyster
We who were Occidentals have now become Orientals


Amanda Luyster
The Chertsey Tiles: Reassembling Fragments of Meaning
Suleiman A. Mourad
A Clash of Civilizations? Diverse Motivations, Multiple Actors, and the Hidden Richness of Muslim Historical Sources
David Nicolle
The Crusades: A Short History
Euan Roger
So Much National Magnificence and National History: The Foundation, Structure, and Fall of Chertsey Abbey
Richard A. Leson
Epic Sensibilities in French Art of the Crusader Period
Cynthia Hahn
Re-creating the Holy Land at Home: Relics from the East in England
Elizabeth Dospěl Williams
The Mobility of Fabric: Textiles in and around Medieval Eurasia
Eva R. HoFFman
Crusaders in Jerusalem: Frankish Encounters with Idols, Holy Monuments, and Portable Objects
Sarah M. Guérin
Oliphants and Elephants: African Ivory in England
Scott Redford
A Cupbearer Crosses Cultures: Figural Ceramic Traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean
Paroma Chatterjee
Citizens and Invaders: Encounters with Sculpture in Constantinople during the Fourth Crusaded


Andrea Myers Achi
Black Fighters on a Late Antique Textile
Sean Gilsdorf
St. Menas Pilgrim Flask
Nina Masin-Moyer
Brooch/Amulet with Inscribed Arabic Seal
Nina Masin-Moyer
Enkolpion Reliquary Cross
Nina Masin-Moyer
Chess Piece with King or Vizier
Alicia Walker
So-called Crusader’s Bowl
A. L. McClanan
Architectural Fragment with Griffin
Nina Masin-Moyer
Amphora with Confronted Hybrid Figures
Meredith Fluke
Section of a Cassone Panel with Beasts in Roundels
Grace P. Morrissey
Lusterware Bowl with Figure
Eurydice S. Georganteli
Gold Penny of Henry III
Nina Masin-Moyer
Gemellion with the Arms of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
Students From Boston College
The Morgan Picture Bible


Some third-party content could not be displayed due to your cookie settings. Click here to allow third-party content.