Saturday, 23 January 2010

Templar Art?

I noticed in Chris Hodapp's blog a story that got I missed first time around from August last year. The discovery of a 'Knights Templar tabernacle', (or the painted door thereof) by antiques dealer Martin Roberts, who supposedly found it in a car boot sale and traded it for a Victorian trunk.

Perhaps I'm overly incredulous after writing about Shaun Greenhalgh yesterday, but I have to say this find rouses suspicions, especially as Roberts has already made an extraordinary find similarly involving a supposed Egyptian antiquity. There is a further parallel with these objects coming to light from obscure country house collections. Likewise congruent is the finder's professed ignorance concerning the objects uncovered.
Regarding this 'tabernacle', there seems little to link it to the Templars, although it does resemble somewhat the icons produced in St Catherines's Monastery in Sinai during the crusader era (and strongly influenced by the Byzantine style, as was much early crusader art- the Melisemde Psalter notably). The St George figure on the new find looks rather like another Sinai example which was similarly linked to the Templars on the somewhat flimsy basis that the saint carried a banner with a red cross.

Regarding this new find, something about it doesn't quite ring true to my eye, something about the grouping of the saints... I say no more.
The story of Roberts' find as reported in the Independent may be read here:

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