The Bayeux Tapestry: Collected Papers, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Bayeux Tapestry

Collected Papers, 1st Edition

By Gale R. Owen-Crocker


374 pages

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Hardback: 9781409446637
pub: 2012-12-24
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This collection of fifteen papers ranges from the author's initial interest in the Tapestry as a source of information on early medieval dress, through to her startling recognition of the embroidery's sophisticated narrative structure. Developing the work of previous authors who had identified graphic models for some of the images, she argues that not just the images themselves but the contexts from which they were drawn should be taken in to account in 'reading' the messages of the Tapestry. In further investigating the minds and hands behind this, the largest non-architectural artefact surviving from the Middle Ages, she ranges over the seams, the embroidery stitches, the language and artistry of the inscription, the potential significance of borders and the gestures of the figures in the main register, always scrutinising detail informatively. She identifies an over-riding conception and house style in the Tapestry, but also sees different hands at work in both needlecraft and graphics. Most intriguingly, she recognises an sub-contractor with a Roman source and a clownish wit. The author is Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture at The University of Manchester, UK, a specialist in Old English poetry, Anglo-Saxon material culture and medieval dress and textiles.


'Scholarly interest in the Bayeux Tapestry has heightened to a remarkable degree in recent years with an increased outpouring of books and articles on the subject. Gale Owen-Crocker has contributed to this perhaps more than anyone else and her publications have made her an outstanding authority on the subject… Scholars interested in further research on the Bayeux Tapestry are fortunate to have these articles now brought together into a single volume.' Francia-Recensio

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface, Shirley Ann Brown; Introduction; Part I Textile: Behind the Bayeux Tapestry; The Bayeux 'tapestry': invisible seams and visible boundaries; Fur, feathers, skin, fibre, wood: representational techniques in the Bayeux Tapestry. Part II Sources: Reading the Bayeux Tapestry through Canterbury eyes; Stylistic variation and Roman influence in the Bayeux Tapestry. Part III Narrative Devices: The embroidered word: text in the Bayeux Tapestry. Telling a tale: narrative techniques in the Bayeux Tapestry and the Old English epic Beowulf; Brothers, rivals and the geometry of the Bayeux Tapestry. Part IV Borders: Squawk talk: commentary by birds in the Bayeux Tapestry?; The Bayeux tapestry: the voice from the border. Part V Dress: The Bayeux 'tapestry': culottes, tunics and garters and the making of the hanging; Dress and authority in the Bayeux Tapestry. Part VI Detail: Embroidered wood: animal-headed posts in the Bayeux 'Tapestry'; The interpretation of gesture in the Bayeux Tapestry; Hawks and horse-trappings: the insignia of rank; Index.

About the Author

Gale Owen-Crocker is Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture at the University of Manchester, UK.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / Medieval
HISTORY / General