The Bayeux Tapestry
The Life Story of a Masterpiece
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About the author
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.
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.
; July 2011
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Title: The Bayeux Tapestry
Author: Carola Hicks
In the press
"Well written, well documented, quite often serious but not too grave, allergic to over -imaginative fantasy but not immune to romantic pull of those colourful worsted threads on plain linen. Carola Hicks's book weaves its own spell"