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Paul Mellon Centre | Movement: Britain & the World in the Middle Ages
May 5, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Amanda Luyster gives the fifth in a six-part public lecture course on Britain and the World in the Middle Ages: Image and Reality.
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.
Please note this lecture is online only.