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