The Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry

Book - 2004
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A brilliant new reading of the Bayeux Tapestry that radically alters our understanding of the events of 1066 and reveals the astonishing story of the survival of early medieval Europe's greatest treasure.

The Bayeux Tapestry was embroidered (it's not really a tapestry) in the late eleventh century. As an artefact, it is priceless, incomparable - nothing of it's delicacy and texture, let alone wit, survives from the period. As a pictorial story it is delightful: the first feature-length cartoon. As history it is essential: it represents the moment of Britain's last conquest by a foreign army and celebrates the Norman victory over the blinded Saxon Harold. Or does it?

In this brilliant piece of detective interpretation, Andrew Bridgeford looks at the narrative contained within the tapestry and has discovered a wealth of new information. Who commissioned it? Who made it? Who is the singular dwarf named as Turold? Why, in a work that celebrates a Norman conquest is the defeated Harold treated so nobly? Is Harold indeed the victim of the arrow from the sky? And who is the figure depicted in the tapestry who, at the moment of crisis for the Normans rallies the army just at the point when it mistakenly believes William is dead and it will be defeated?

Using the tapestry, the book retells with vivid characterisation the story of the remaking of England in and after 1066. It is a compelling story, as is the tale of the extraordinary survival of the tapestry itself: history has rarely been writ so large, with such fine detail and yet been so veiled in mystery.

Publisher: London ; New York : Fourth Estate, 2004.
ISBN: 9781841150413
Branch Call Number: 942.0190222 Bri
Characteristics: viii, 354 pages, [16] pages of plates : illustrations, map ; 22 cm.


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Apr 14, 2017

Absolutely Fascinating!
A must read!
Very helpful for a report!

Feb 18, 2015

1066: The Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry --- by --- Andrew Bridgeford. The tapestry is unlike any other. It reads like a document in embroidered pictures that depict a pivotal moment in, at least, the history of Britain. In considerable detail, it tells the tale of the Norman Invasion of Britain in 1066. Bridgeford’ book, which, incidentally, contains a colour-photograph pictorial representation of the entire tapestry (which, incidentally, in my opinion is far too small to be interpreted in many of the finer details) tells the tale of the invasion as depicted on the tapestry. But it does so in the historical context; it provides the detail of who the figures are (only 4 on the entire tapestry are identified by name) who were they; what was their relationship to one another; why was the tapestry produced; who is responsible for its creation; where, when and why was the tapestry produced; what were the unusual circumstances that allowed such a remarkable work to survive, largely unscathed, through such a long stretch of turbulent history. Indeed, Bridgeford tells the tale of a most remarkable artifact. And he does so in a remarkably accessible manner. We so often expect that books on esoteric and “old” subjects must be remote and difficult to follow. This is certainly not the case with 1066. Indeed, in parts, it almost reads like historical action fiction set at the beginning of the previous millennium. I give this book a firm thumbs-up.

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