This particular iteration in the series was known as A Celestial Light. Bodies are strewn across the floor in the foreground, seemingly after a brutal battle as most are dressed as soldiers. A light comes in from the background, with an opening in the top of the composition and that allows more detail within the room to become visible. A bird appears from above, with a circle of lights found just below. Some classical architecture is shown right at the back, with also a tall column on the left hand side, but otherwise the supporting elements are darkened. Some of the bright light brings out detail on the faces of the soldiers, heightening the mood of sadness and horror which has resulted from this bloody conflict. Whilst the image is clear, one must look deeper into the series itself, as well as the author, in order to understand more about the context of A Celestial Light. The illustrator would have already completed many book illustration projects by this point, and so he would have been entirely comfortable in taking on this new commission.
Michaud's History of the Crusades was the source for this project, with Doré providing illustrations for the original texts. Michaud initially published his work in 1840 in six volumes and the content was ideally suited to the Romanticist approach of this illustrator. He would add his own visual contribution more than three decades later, though the original texts continue to be published even today. British author William Robson translated the work into English in 1852, allowing more to become aware of the title. Doré himself was well known in France and England during his career and would illustrate the novels and other publications of the finest authors from both nations. After all, they had something of a shared history in many ways. Doré's version from 1875 was published by Hachette and Company, who also worked alongside him on a number of other publications including Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, Louis Énault's London and also parts of Dante's The Divine Comedy. Other publishers that he worked with included Ward and Lock, Sampson Low and Co., Harper and Co., Garnier and also Chatto and Windus.
The illustrator would cover The Bible in great detail and some of the scenes from Michaud's History of the Crusades, such as A Celestial Light, offered another opportunity to bring great drama to his work. The lighting was key within these illustrations, because there was no real colour variation present. It was in his paintings that we would understand more about his handling of colour but for his illustrations it was more about lighting and composition. Perhaps his restrictions forced him to develop these elements of his work. He would become known as perhaps the most famous French illustrator of all time, certainly with regards books. He was much loved within his own lifetime and continued to have success in the UK and France for many years even after his death, with a gallery running in his name for some years. Today he is often more famous because of specific projects, and his connection to famous literature from previous centuries.