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The Bayeux Tapestry [Hardcover]

Lucien Musset , Richard Rex
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
Price: 17.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

24 Mar 2005
The Bayeux Tapestry is one of the most extraordinary artefacts to survive from the eleventh century. A fragile web of woollen thread on linen, its brilliant colours undimmed after nearly a thousand years, this masterpiece is unique as a complete example of an art form beloved of the aristocracy in the Romanesque era - the `historiated' or narrative embroidery. The momentous story it tells is that of one of the turning-points in English and European history, the struggle for the succession to the English throne which culminated in the Battle of Hastings in the fateful year of 1066. The version told is that of the Normans who commissioned it - of Harold's perjury and its dreadful price, death and defeat in battle. Yet the sympathies of the English hands that designed and created it are equally evident. And the Tapestry itself is so close to the events it describes, and portrays them in such vivid detail, as to make it in its own right a historical source of the first order, not only for the political crisis of 1064-66 but also for the social history of eleventh-century life.This book presents a full-colour reproduction of the entire Tapestry, with a detailed commentary alongside each episode, equipping the reader to follow the story blow by blow and this marvellous work of art step by step. In addition, a preliminary study sets the Tapestry in its artistic, cultural and historical context. The late Lucien Musset, Emeritus Professor of the University of Caen, studied the Tapestry of nearby Bayeux for nearly fifty years. This erudite but highly readable survey distils a lifetime's scholarship into a wise and impeccably researched synthesis which enables the modern reader to appreciate what the Tapestry meant in the context of its time, at the start of the last millennium.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Boydell Press; annotated edition edition (24 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843831635
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843831631
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 21.5 x 25.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


(A) strikingly illustrated book, which reproduces in colour every centimetre of the surviving embroidery. (...) Admirably balanced and informed. SUNDAY TIMES, Books for Christmas round-up 2005.(An) extremely valuable volume. (...) To be valued as both a survey of work on the tapestry and an extremely well presented and coherent analysis of a medieval masterpiece. TOEBI NewsletterA magnificently illustrated book, and as such is extremely practical for study, teaching and happy browsing. FINDS RESEARCH GROUP(Presents) a new slant, particularly the in-depth analysis of the tapestry's indebtedness to Scandinavia's weaponry, ships, and buildings. Recommended. CHOICEPossibly the most authoritative of the many books spawned by the Tapestry. HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEWHandsome and very reasonably priced. Clearly aimed at the student and the general reader rather than at the specialist, it would be an attractive purchase for all three. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEWA very interesting and informative book. HOBILAR


Possibly the most authoritative of the many books spawned by the Tapestry.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 4 Nov 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is aimed at the interested non-specialist. The first part places the Tapestry in its historical context and covers the general information that can be gleaned from the Tapestry regarding shipping, armour etc. The author also valuably points out the limitations of this visual record and the areas where scholars differ in their interpretations.

It continues with magnificent detailed pictures of the whole tapestry, taken in small sections, the author explaining what is shown in each section and its significance.

I throughly recommend this book.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece about a masterpiece 16 Dec 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
If one cannot see the Bayeux Tapestry in person (and I have been privileged enough to have done so), this book may well be the next best thing. Beautiful, two-page spreads highlight the colour, the detail and the magnificence of the what is perhaps the most famous tapestry in the world.
The Bayeux Tapestry itself is over 70 yards long - that is long enough to be hung from the window of a twenty-story building and still be able to touch the ground. Threads of wool embroidered onto the precious linen are brilliantly transformed into a work of art - were this an abstract representation or simple story-telling device, the work would still be famous and remarkable. Yet it has the added advantage of combining unparalleled craftsmanship with a pivotal story in history - the tale of the Norman Conquest, the last successful invasion of Britain.
The story on Tapestry begins in 1064, with the English king Edward the Confessor, much loved and respected, trying to ensure a peaceful succession. The next two years would see other events transpire, ending with the death of King Harold, shot by an arrow in the Battle of Hastings. The details are fascinating, including the appearance of a comet (which turned out to be one of the periodic appearances of Halley's Comet) shortly after Harold's coronation - comets in this period were usually seen as signs of foreboding and doom, and certainly that was the case for Harold.
William the Conqueror is certainly the hero of this Tapestry, and the origins of the Tapestry are still a mystery. There are historical events throughout the Tapestry, and Musset's text looks at most of the Tapestry in 58 sections, going into great detail about what is presented in the embroidery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous book 10 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a beautiful book this is. Sumptuously illustrated with large close up photos which give you a close look at this marvellous creation along with a very desciptive and rich text.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can this book really be by a Frenchman? 8 Dec 2010
Anyone who has been to see the Bayeux Tapestry will have been exasperated and/or simply amused by the typically French spin on the events it portrays. This bias is, however, notably absent in this marvellously detailed and photographed interpretation of the Tapestry. A balanced scholarly yet easily accessible scene by scene, actually almost frame by frame, analysis is excellent and wide ranging in its examples and insight into the life and politics of the late Dark Ages/Early Middle Ages.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bayeux Tapestry 9 Jan 2011
By J. Ard
This book is well worth the money. It is not, however, one to read from cover to cover but is an excellent "dip into" book. It is full of the most interesting facts and will be just at home on the coffe table or on the bookshelf. Well worth the money.
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