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Introduction

  • George Beech
Chapter
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

The Tapestry of Bayeux would probably rank among the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World should anyone ever have made up such a list. Students and those familiar with it from our own day consider it one of the most celebrated and important of all survivals, artistic, literary, documentary, and so on, from medieval times. Its contemporaries, however, do not appear to have viewed it with such veneration. With the possible exception of a poem written around 1100 (by Baudri of Bourgueil), not a single medieval author or written record refers to it until it appears in a 1476 inventory of Bayeux cathedral (hence its name) some four centuries after it was made. It may have been little known beyond the confines of Bayeux cathedral where it was exhibited once annually (such was the case, at least, in 1720), or outside the restricted circles of the court—if it had earlier belonged to royalty or aristocratic society. Even those who knew it may have looked condescendingly at its simple colored wool figures stitched on a plain linen background and thereby lacking the rich gold, silver, and silk threads of the luxurious tapestries of later medieval times.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    R. Gameson, ed., The Study of the Bayeux Tapestry (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1997), 161.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    W. Ziezulewicz, “Restored churches in the Fisc of St. Florent de Saumur 1021–1118. Reform Ideology or Economic Motivation?” Revue Benedictine 96 (1986), 106–117; Google Scholar
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  4. 5.
    J. Mallet, L’art roman de l’ancien Anjou (Paris: Picard, 1984), 44–50; 161–69.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    M. Hamon, “La vie de Saint-Florent et les origines de l’abbaye,” Bibliotheque de l’École des Chartes 129 (1971), 215–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© George Beech 2005

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  • George Beech

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