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The Bayeux Tapestry


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About the Author

David MacKenzie Wilson is a British archaeologist, art historian, and museum curator.


The Bayeux Tapestry, a major monument of medieval art and history, is an embroidered linen panel 70 meters long which portrays the events of the Norman conquest of England, culminating in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The bulk of this new publication consists of a series of excellent color photographs of the entire tapestry, taken when it was re-hung in 1983. Wilson's text is largely a summary of the voluminous scholarship that has focused on various aspects of the tapestry over the years, but it is dry, oddly organized, and difficult to understand unless one is familiar with the period and the issues being summarized. However, high school students and general readers may be attracted simply by the illustrations, while those with more scholarly interests will be better able to follow the text. Kathryn W. Finkelstein, formerly with Georgia Inst. of Technology Lib., Atlanta

Not long after the Norman invasion of England and the Battle of Hastings in 1066, needleworkersprobably Englishcreated an embroidered strip of linen, 231 feet in length, depicting the battle and the political maneuvering that led up to it. The Bayeux Tapestry, as it is now called, is unique as a pictorial chronicle of these events. While its freize-like style is often compared to a cartoon strip, the wall hanging reveals naturalistic artistry and shows vivid details of daily life, of food and furniture, ships and armor in medieval times. This elegant, slipcased volume, adorned with gold-leaf lettering and attractive endpapers, is the first full and accurate color reproduction of the entire embroidery. The original running commentary in Latin has been duly translated, essays give historical background, and a pull-out section of captions enables readers to follow the sometimes confusing story. BOMC selection. October 30

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