Intersections: Entanglements with Medieval and Renaissance Textiles, 1100-1550

Intersections: Entanglements with Medieval and Renaissance Textiles, 1100-1550

The 28th Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium at The Courtauld

Held at The Courtauld on May 22, 2023

Papers given at this symposium:

Textiles, Piety, and Memory in Late Medieval Tuscany, by Samuel Cohn

‘Per la gran furia di compratori’: Obtaining Flemish Tapestries in Sixteenth-century Italy, the case of the Van der Molen firm (1538-1544), by Julia van Zandvoort

The ‘intersecting geographies’ of the tapestries of the Trojan War – tapestry production between Paris and Tournai, by Nina Reiss


(Re-)Weaving Ritual Paths: Silk Textiles as Markers of Ceremonial Space in Late Medieval Venice, by Chiara Stombellini

The stink of the cities – secondary scenting of domestic textiles in Europe, by Pauline Devriese


Textile and glass interweaved. Entanglements of two arts in Renaissance Venice, by Karina Pawlow

Tapestries on the altar: exploring the design and use of the Louvre Virign of the Living Water and the Sens Three Coronation tapestries, by Jessica Gasson

Overlapping Incarnation and Consecration Textiles, Images and Gestures around the Cluny Museum’s Corporal Case (13th century), by Julie Glodt

“The Garden of the Incarnation and the Conversion of the Heart: The Mass of Saint Gregory”, by Aimee Clark

Fragmentation and reconstruction of an embroidered altar frontal, by Mireia Castano Martine

Many layers of textiles. The relic treasure of Herkenrode in Hasselt (Belgium) revealed through material technical research, by Jeroen Reyniers


At the Intersection of Political and Ritual functions of textiles: Sensory Experiences of Textiles in the Sumtsek at Alchi, Ladakh, by Jordan Quill

Abstract: During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, textiles wrapped up and coated walls, people, furniture, and objects. They provided omnipresent, and often complex, symbolic and visual demarcations of spaces. Diplicare, the root of display, is in unfolding: so much of the frameworks of how we surround ourselves are rooted in practices using cloth. The value of these textiles, both in their materiality and craftsmanship, exceeded that of many other art forms which have been privileged by scholars. Textiles were often disregarded in art historical study, considered to be visually unappealing or discredited in previous centuries as part of the decorative arts. In addition, only a fraction of the textiles that functioned in these spaces survive, many of which are in a fragmented state.

In recent years, textiles have received more attention in art historical studies, and blockbuster exhibitions on tapestries have made the importance of textiles clear to a wider public. There are, however, still many new angles from which we can interrogate and discuss textiles which can enrich, connect, and reframe not only textile history but wider research subjects in Medieval and Renaissance studies.


In this symposium we would like to draw together varying angles of research through their intersections with textiles, in whatever capacity. The theme of this symposium centres on how Medieval and Renaissance textiles, real and depicted, combine, overlap or intersect in different ways. In short, it aims to interrogate how textiles get entangled with other people, arts, materials, objects and functions.

Top Image: Trojan War textile – Catedral; Zamora; Castilla y León, Zamora: Photo by PMRMaeyaert / Wikimedia Commons