The Bayeux Tapestry and Its Contexts

The Bayeux Tapestry and Its Contexts

A Reassessment

Elizabeth Carson Pastan, Stephen D. White, Kate Gilbert


Boydell Press



A full and provocative reappraisal of the Bayeux "Tapestry", its origins, design and patronage.
Aspects of the Bayeux Tapestry (in fact an embroidered hanging) have always remained mysterious, despite much scholarly investigation, not least its design and patron. Here, in the first full-length interdisciplinary approach to the subject, the authors (an art historian and a historian) consider these and other issues. Rejecting the prevalent view that it was commissioned by Odo, the bishop of Bayeux and half-brother of William the Conqueror, or by some other comparable patron, they bring new evidence to bear on the question of its relationship to the abbey of St Augustine's, Canterbury. From the study of art-historical, archeological, literary, historical and documentary materials, they conclude that the monks of St Augustine's designed the hanging for display in their abbey church to tell their own story of how England was invaded and conquered in 1066.

Elizabeth Carson Pastan is a Professor of Art History at Emory University; Stephen D. White is Asa G. Candler Professor of Medieval History (emeritus), Emory University, and an Honorary Professor of Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews.

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November 2014
32 colour, 69 black and white, 3 line illustrations
476 pages
24.4x17.2 cm
ISBN: 9781843839415
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, ART015000, ARC005000
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Table of Contents

The Material Context of the Bayeux Embroidery: Manufacture, Display, and Literary References
Is the Bayeux Embroidery a Record of Events?
Imagined Patronage
The Prosopography of the Bayeux Embroidery and the Community of St Augustine's, Canterbury
Locating Harold's Oath and Tracing His Itinerary
Bishop Odo at the Banquet
The Fables in the Borders
Representing Architecture
Legal Ceremonies and the Question of Legitimacy
The Fall of the English
Quid faciat . Scollandus? The Abbey Church of St Augustine's, c. 1073-1100
Select Bibliography


I strongly recommend this book; any tapestry scholar will certainly want access to a copy. SPECULUM

Pastan and White present powerful challenges to the old binaries of sacred or secular display and of Norman or English sympathies. . . . . The Bayeux Tapestry and Its Contexts> gives scholars of the famous embroidery a lot to think about, and the next generation of Bayeux Tapestry scholarship will surely be richer for it. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

Interesting and thought-provoking. FRANCIA