The Bayeux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Masterpiece

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Random House, Jul 31, 2011 - Art - 368 pages
3 Reviews

The vivid scenes on the Bayeux Tapestry depict the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. It is one of Europe's greatest treasures and its own story is full of drama and surprise.

Who commissioned the tapestry? Was it Bishop Odo, William's ruthless half-brother? Or Harold's dynamic sister Edith, juggling for a place in the new court? Hicks shows us this world and the miracle of the tapestry's making: the stitches, dyes and strange details in the margins. For centuries it lay ignored in Bayeux cathedral until its 'discovery' in the eighteenth century. It became a symbol of power as well as art: townsfolk saved it during the French Revolution; Napoleon displayed it to promote his own conquest; the Nazis strove to make it their own; and its influence endures today.

This marvellous book, packed with thrilling stories, shows how we remake history in every age and how a great work of art has a life of its own.

 

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User Review  - louis69 - LibraryThing

This is an eminently readable book in spite of its 358 pages - in fact the section on the German threat to the Tapestry during World War II was gripping. I was interested to read of General Choltitz ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - john257hopper - LibraryThing

A fascinating look at the history of this amazingly long-lived artifact, which has come near to destruction or loss on several occasion at the hands of French Calvinists, revolutionaries, Napoleon and ... Read full review

Contents

Lost and Found
61
Border motif fox and bird 71 Colour sketch by NicolasJoseph Foucault 1690s
71
Engraved version published by Bernard de Monrfaucon 1720s
77
Drawing by Antoine Benoit 1729
81
Retolutionaries and Romantics
89
Wichts score for La Tapirserre de la Reine Mathilde 1804
124
Drawings by Charles Storhard 1820
127
Engraving by Godefroy Engelmann for the frontispiece to the French edition of Ducarels AnglmNmnmn Antiquites 1823
135

The Norman knights advance The battle
16
The death of Harold
17
Z3 Bishop Qdo Z6 Eustaee and William
18
Turold the dwarf
28
frontispiece 1041
34
The first join
48
The back of the Tapestry
49
Border motifs
50
The stitching technique
52
The camel in the border
58
The Gentle Touch
141
Border motif cock and hen 149 Frontispiece to Agnes Strickland The Lives of the Queens of England 1340
167
Elizabeth Wardle and her team from the Leek School of Embroidery 1880s
186
The final panel of the Leek replica
188
The Great EscaPe
203
Soldier on the rope 207 The concrete shelter in Bayeux 1939
217
Bibliography
329
Acknowledgments
336
115
347
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Carola Hicks was an acclaimed art historian, and witty, perceptive writer. Born in Sussex, Carola studied archaeology at Edinburgh University, and was an actress, journalist and House of Commons Researcher, before taking up an academic career. For several years she was curator of the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral, and then became a Fellow and Director of Studies in art history at Newnham College, Cambridge. Her books include Animals in Early Medieval Art, Improper Pursuits: The Scandalous Life of Lady Di Beauclerk, and two fine 'biographies' of works of art: The Girl in the Green Gown: The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait and The King's Glass: A Story of Tudor Power and Secret Art. Carola Hicks died in 2010.

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