The Bayeux Tapestry

Carola Hicks and Sylvette Lemagnen

An engaging and comprehensive study of one of history’s most celebrated artefacts. This edition features a colour reproduction of the Tapestry, with a scene-by-scene commentary.

Acclaimed art historian Carola Hicks opens her ‘life story of a masterpiece’ – the first part of this engaging book – with a collection of quotes about the Tapestry from well-known figures from history. Winston Churchill notes that it is a ‘story told with irresistible charm’, while Charles Dickens takes a less enthused view, stating that the Tapestry is ‘the work of very feeble amateurs’; Napoleon Bonaparte insisted that it recorded ‘one of the most memorable deeds of the French nation’, while Heinrich Himmler claimed that the Tapestry was ‘important for our glorious and cultured Germanic history’. Such a range of voices and reactions seems appropriate for one of the world’s most famous artefacts. Throughout its long life its very origins have fuelled controversy; it has been lost and found, dismissed and treasured, used as a propaganda tool and spirited through war zones. In short, the Tapestry’s history is almost as dramatic as the events it depicts. 

This volume brings together two works and superb colour photographs to provide both a comprehensive historical background and a detailed description of the Bayeux Tapestry. Hicks’s compelling account of the Tapestry’s creation and history is followed by an extensive scene-by-scene analysis of its content by Bayeux Museum curator Sylvette Lemagnen. Together, these studies offer a rounded picture of the Tapestry, detailing what we have learned from the artefact itself (the gestures of the figures, the inscriptions, the border motifs and the evidence of repairs) and from the extraordinary story of its rediscovery and later political appropriation by Napoleonic France and the Third Reich.

Bound in buckram blocked with a design by Neil Packer

Set in Poliphilus

348 pages

Frontispiece, 12 pages of colour plates, 12 integrated black & white illustrations and a 68-page scene-by-scene commentary

Blocked slipcase

10˝ x 6¾˝

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