The Children’s Crusade of 1212 remains an enigmatic historical episode, recorded in only a few contemporary accounts, but it captured the imagination of the acclaimed painter Paula Rego as a story steeped in imaginative possibilities and contemporary relevance.
It touches on children’s love of adventure but also on darker issues including fears, incipient sexuality and exploitation. In his introduction, Blake Morrison brilliantly illuminates Rego’s twelve hand-coloured etchings and their relation to the crusade. Two passages from medieval chronicles also set the scene. The book concludes with an extensive and revealing interview with Rego, in which she explains her fascination with the subject.
The text has been hand-set in Monotype Caslon, printed on Arches vélin at The Stonehouse Press, and bound at The Fine Bindery, who have also made the slipcases for the de luxe edition. The de luxe edition consists of 75 copies which are signed by Paula Rego and Blake Morrison. Each copy also contains Rego’s signed original etching Bait, which is laid loose into a wallet in the slipcase. The etching is printed on 300 gsm Somerset Velvet at the Culford Press, London.