Remembering in the time of the crusades: concepts and practices

Megan Cassidy-Welch

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The image on the cover of this book shows a thirteenth-century tomb effigy of a crusader, Jean d’Alluye, who died in 1248. Jean d’Alluye was buried at La ClartéDieu near Tours in north-western France, the abbey he had founded before setting off on his crusade to the Holy Land. His limestone effigy shows him in a pose that emphasizes both his piety (his hands are crossed in prayer) and his martial identity (he wears his knightly armour). Now in the Cloisters collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the effigy has been recently restored in public view by museum conservators. As the recumbent knight is painstakingly cleaned of centuries of accumulated grime, Jean d’Alluye’s commemorated form is made visible to the crowds of visitors to the museum, who gather to watch the work in progress. One conservator wrote in the museum’s blog that the relationship between conservator and object is intimate and the task of conservation is usually conducted away from the public gaze. Indeed, ‘[t]he sight of a work in the process of being conserved might also come as a shock to passersby; seeing a work of art in its “stripped” state – where all fills and old restorations have been removed – is like seeing a celebrity un-Photoshopped or without makeup’.1 There is a certain tenderness discernible in the relationship between modern conservator and medieval knight, as the restorative labour of conservation gently reanimates the memory of this long-dead French crusader.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRemembering the Crusades and Crusading
EditorsMegan Cassidy-Welch
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781315543253
ISBN (Print)9781138811140, 9781138811157
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • crusades
  • memory
  • medieval history

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