By Elizabeth Carson, Pastan Stephen, D. White, Kate Gilbert

Features of the Bayeux Tapestry (in truth an embroidered striking) have consistently remained mysterious, regardless of a lot scholarly research, no longer least its layout and shopper. the following, within the first full-length interdisciplinary method of the topic, the authors (an paintings historian and a historian) contemplate those and different concerns. Rejecting the popular view that it was once commissioned through Odo, the bishop of Bayeux and half-brother of William the Conqueror, or by way of another related shopper, they carry new proof to endure at the query of its dating to the abbey of St Augustine's, Canterbury. From the learn of art-historical, archeological, literary, ancient and documentary fabrics, they finish that the priests of St Augustine's designed the placing for reveal of their abbey church to inform their very own tale of the way England was once invaded and conquered in 1066.

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Indd 5 13/10/2014 11:03 6 The Bayeux Tapestry and its Contexts Pastan generates a new conception of what the image may have meant in the monastic milieu where the embroidery was designed. In Chapter 7, “The Fables in the Borders,” White proposes new ways of understanding how the fables selected for depiction in the borders, including more than a dozen that have hitherto been misidentified or gone all but unnoticed, were related to the pictorial narrative in the main frieze. Challenging the idea that they were intended to reinforce either the Norman Story (which the embroidery, according to traditionalists, conveyed to Norman viewers) or the English story (which revisionists believe it carried to English viewers), he argues that when viewed at St Augustine’s by highly educated, visually sophisticated monks, the fables would have provided ironic, satirical, and sometimes bitingly humorous commentary on the story told in the main frieze and on the political world of kings, great lords, milites, and clerici in which that story was set.

22 The establishment of a cartoon would be necessary in order to maintain consistency throughout the embroidered hanging. 23 A detailed cartoon would be especially important if, as has sometimes been 18 Bédat and Girault-Kurtzeman, “Technical Study,” 99 report on carbon-14 testing on the lining and the thread attaching it that points to c. 1600–1680. , 101 and pl. 24, p. 100. 20 Discussed in Messent, Embroiderer’s Story, 7 and 81–2. While identifying those who did the embroidery is beyond the scope of this study, it is worth noting that if, as has been suggested, the embroidery work was performed at an English community of female religious, a particularly plausible candidate would be the large, affluent, and influential abbey of Barking.

45 Hicks, Masterpiece, 51 notes that the couched-and-laid technique is believed to have been devised by needlewomen seeking to make the most of the expensive gold thread. 46 It took her 257 total hours, or approximately 51 days, to execute her copy of the Maaseik strip, which is the equivalent of 1/684th of the Bayeux Embroidery. Where the Maaseik re-creation differs, of course, is in the use of gold-wrapped thread, and in the fact that unlike the unadorned linen ground of the Bayeux Embroidery, the field of the Anglo-Saxon example is completely embroidered over in a dense covering of threadwork.

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