Toledo Cathedral Building Histories in Medieval Castile

Tom Nickson

Medieval Toledo is famous as a center of Arabic learning and as a home to sizable Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities. Yet its cathedral—one of the largest, richest, and best preserved in all of Europe—is little known outside Spain. In Toledo Cathedral, Tom Nickson provides the first in-depth analysis of the cathedral’s art and architecture. Focusing on the early thirteenth to the late fourteenth century, he examines over two hundred years of change and consolidation, tracing the growth of the cathedral in the city as well as the evolution of sacred places within the cathedral itself. Nickson goes on to consider this substantial monument in terms of its location in Toledo, Spain’s most cosmopolitan city in the medieval period. He also addresses the importance and symbolic significance of Toledo’s cathedral to the city and the art and architecture of the medieval Iberian Peninsula, showing how it fits in with broader narratives of change in the arts, culture, and ideology of the late medieval period in Spain and in Mediterranean Europe as a whole.

Nickson  Toledo cover


  • $89.95 cloth, 978-0-271-06645-5
  • $39.95 ebook, available in Kindle and iBook editions
  • 324 pages
  • 140 illus., 60 in color, 9 x 10 in.

Content Excerpt

Table of Contents

about the author

Tom Nickson read Art History at Cambridge, and it was while walking the roads to Santiago de Compostela on a cheap student holiday that he first discovered his love of Spanish medieval art and architecture. He received his PhD from The Courtauld in 2009. He was lecturer in medieval art and architecture at the University of York from 2009, then returned to The Courtauld in 2012. He is Vice-chair of ARTES, a charity dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of Iberian and Latin American visual culture.

Tom investigates two areas that intersect in the Iberian Peninsula. Research in the early stages of his career focused on gothic art and architecture across Europe, particularly its relationship to sacred and profane uses of space. Recent work interrogates the connections between art and belief in medieval Iberia, particularly as a consequence of encounters between Christian, Islamic and Jewish traditions. Multilingual inscriptions have been a topic of particular interest.