Making sense of the Bayeux Tapestry

Readings and reworkings

Edited by Anna Henderson

With Gale Owen-Crocker

Making sense of the Bayeux Tapestry

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9535-1
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: June 2016
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Medieval history, Medieval style, History of art, HISTORY / Medieval, DESIGN / Textile & Costume, ART / History / Medieval, Textile Artworks: Tapestries, Hangings & Quilts, The arts / History of art / art & design styles, Medieval History, Art History
  • Series: Studies in Design and Material Culture


This book aims to make sense of the Bayeux Tapestry by bringing together answers to a number of questions which this famous hanging presents to the viewer.

How did the embroiderers organise the stitching of the Bayeux Tapestry? Are its limited colours used with greater sophistication than viewers have recognised? What do we know of the Tapestry's supporting cast: naked figures in the margins and clerics present at events in the main register? Can we learn anything about the original purpose of the Tapestry from detailed examination of Bayeux Cathedral's 1476 Inventory, the first known reference to the Tapestry's existence? This book combines up-to-the-minute research with an introduction that draws on the contributors' personal observations in order to interrogate the Tapestry's enduring value. Bringing together contributions from leading specialists and newer voices in the field, it will be essential reading for students and scholars of the Bayeux Tapestry, medieval art and culture.


Introduction: Making sense of the Bayeux Tapestry - Anna C. Henderson
PART I: Readings: deciphering the visual evidence
1. The front tells the story, the back tells the history: a technical discussion of the embroidering of the Bayeux Tapestry - Alexandra Lester-Makin
2. Colour and imagination in the Bayeux Tapestry - Gale R. Owen-Crocker
3. Figuring out nakedness in the borders of the Bayeux Tapestry - Christopher J. Monk
4. Ecclesiastics in the Bayeux Tapestry - Michael J. Lewis
5. Locating Hastings in 1066: the evidence from the Tapestry - Maggie Kneen
PART II: Reworkings: the Bayeux Tapestry's afterlife
6. Item, une tente très-longue: the inventory of Bayeux Cathedral and its implications for that textile - Elizabeth Carson Pastan
7. A facsimile for everybody: from Foucault to Foys and beyond - Shirley Ann Brown
8. Through Victorian eyes: re-assessing Elizabeth Wardle's replica - Anna C. Henderson
9. Relating history in needlework in the manner of the Bayeux Tapestry: the embroideries of Normandy - Sylvette Lemagnen
Afterword - Gale R. Owen Crocker


Anna Henderson is a PhD student at the University of Manchester and was formerly Editor of the Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies series

Gale R. Owen-Crocker is Professor Emerita, formerly Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture, and Director of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies at the University of Manchester

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