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The Bayeux Tapestry: a stripped narative for their eyes and ears

The Bayeux Tapestry: a stripped narative for their eyes and ears

Brilliant, Richard

Word and Image, Vol..7, (1991)

Abstract

The Bayeaux Tapestry, a masterpiece of medieval narrative art, tells the highly politicised story of the ascension to the English crown, held by Edward the Confessor. The historical narrative begins in 1064 while Edward was still king, and ends in 1066, when Harold, formerly the king of Wessex and domestic claimant lost his life and crown to the foreigner, William Duke of Normandy,at the Battle of Hastings. There is some scholarly agreement that the Tapestry was made in England not long after 1066, possibly at Canterbury, and even more that the work was done at the behest of Norman patrons, perhaps even for Odo, William’s half-brother, and artfully composed to present the Norman side of the story. Yet, there is very little agreement over how the Tapestry was originally displayed, although a secular rather than ecclesiastical environment seems likely.

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