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The Bayeux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Masterpiece [Paperback]

Carola Hicks
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: £11.99
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Book Description

1 Mar 2007

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.

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The Bayeux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Masterpiece + Girl in a Green Gown: The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (1 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099450194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099450191
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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 Times Literary Supplement)

Book Description

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as I hoped but not bad 18 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I went to see the BT last August and can thoroughly recommend it. I was transported back to 1966 and those stamps, so much so I bought a set off e-bay. Deciding I needed to review my visit I bought this book hoping it would go through in some detail the scenes and the text. Unless I missed it, it doesn't really. It does give the plot in reasonable detail (not enough for me) then goes off on a history lesson about the BT over the next 950+ years. That in itself is quite interesting but a bit long winded for me. I agree with another reviewer that there were not enough images in the book and that it would have been better to read this before visiting the tapestry (embroidery, sewy thingy).

Loved the bit about the more recent cartoons, particularly the one with Mitterand and Thatcher - almost made me think of doing my own.

So not bad and I am sure that some people will really love it - the 1* reviewer should be ignored, this is not a 1* book at all and I feel I am being a little bit mean with only three.

One thing I did find a bit sad was on looking up Carola Hicks I discovered she died of cancer last year - HIC LIES CAROLA :-(
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 13 Feb 2008
A fascinating look at the history of this amazingly long-lived artifact, which has come near to destruction or loss on several occasion at the hands of French Calvinists, revolutionaries, Napoleon and the SS. The book also explores the many attempts at reproductions of the work, or other works in different media inspired by the original. It explores the origins of the work and is inconclusive on who commissioned it, though the author makes a good case for Edith, widow of Edward the Confessor. Will interest those into Medieval history and art history alike.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good 10 Oct 2008
By Sally Wilton VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are thinking of visiting the Tapestry, best arm yourself with a book from amazon first as the museum there houses some very expensive books which will put you off finding out more about the tapestry.

Not a particularly light read unless the Normans are a firm favourate for you but there are some very interesting snippets of information that would make a visit to the tapestry much more enjoyable.

Not enough photographs in this book - and there is no doubt that it is a beautiful work of art to see, so it is a shame not to see more photos of it in this book.
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