The Life Story of a Masterpiece
The story of the Bayeux Tapestry - its origins and making, but also its long and dramatic afterlife, from 1066 to Napoleon, Nazi raids and modern adverts
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.
“Hick's enchantment with the tapestry is compelling, and her style confident and writerly”
Kate Colquhoun, Daily Telegraph
“Hicks tells her fascinating tale with the deftest of touches”
Helen Castor, Guardian
“I was bowled over... it is a book full of page-turning vignettes”
Simon Young, Sunday Telegraph
“A fittingly meticulous tribute to the world's fiddliest masterpiece.”
Ned Denny, Daily Mail
“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”
Peter Mandler, TLS
“A perceptive and sure-footed guide. …fascinating tale with deftest of touches.”