Book Series Publications of the Journal of Medieval Latin, vol. 9

The Bayeux Tapestry. Bayeux, Médiathèque municipale: Ms. 1

A Sourcebook

Shirley Ann Brown

  • Pages: 316 p.
  • Size:178 x 254 mm
  • Language(s):English, French
  • Publication Year:2014

Out of Print
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54917-0
  • Paperback
  • Out of Print

A Sourcebook for appreciating the Bayeux Tapestry, its history and scholarship.


"This combination of introductory essays and commentaries plus bibliography, written by one of the most knowledgeable experts on the tapestry, makes available to any interested scholar, the latest views on the subject. A splendid piece of work." (George T. Beech, in: Francia-Recensio, 2014/3)

"Für die Zeit bis in das späte 20. Jahrhundert bietet Shirley Ann Browns kommentierte Bibliografie (...) einen hervorragenden Überblick über die Forschungsgeschichte mit ihren unterschiedlichen Fragestellungen und Methoden seit dem frühen 18. Jahrhundert." (Andreas Bihrer, in: Sehepunkte, 14 (2014), Nr. 10 [15.10.2014])

"The stated aim of the Shirley Ann Brown's volume is to "present the unfolding narrative of Bayeux Tapestry studies", and in this it certainly succeeds." (Richard Gameson, in: The Medieval Review, [15.03.06])

"(...) the book makes good its claim to be a sourcebook for this amazing survival from the early medieval period. For the annotated bibliography alone it will be an invaluable reference book for anyone concerned with any of the many themes noticed here, whether for information or with a view to challenging or developing them (...)." (Elizabeth Coatsworth, in: Speculum, 90/1, 2015, p. 216-218)

"(...) this was an impressive compilation of bibliographic material related to the Bayeux Tapestry. (...) Brown’s volume, which manifests her decades-long dedication to the dissemination of information on the Tapestry and its study, is the definitive publication on this enigmatic and fascinating medieval monument." (Karen Rose Mathews, in: H-France Review, Vol. 15, No. 101, 2015)

"(...) l'ouvrage de Shirley Ann Brown est un travail important, et même fondamental, pour tous ceux qui travaillent sur la Tapisserie de Bayeux. Il est rapidement appelé à devenir un classique et il faut remercier l'auteur d'avoir consacré de nombreuses années à l'historiographie de la Tapisserie, et de nous en livrer aujourd'hui la quintessence." (François Neveux, in: Annales de Normandie, 65 (2015), p. 154)

“Il ne reste plus à souhaiter que les francophones, tout comme les anglophones, s’approprient ce brillant inventaire de ressources documentaires. Le style fluide de l’auteur rend agréable la lecture des chapitres” (Sylvette Lemagnen, dans le Bulletin  Monumental, Vol. 174/1, 2016,  p. 118)



The Bayeux Tapestry is a late eleventh-century embroidery, 68.5 metres/224 feet long, visualizing events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the subsequent Norman Conquest of England. In the past 300 years, since its rediscovery in Bayeux Cathedral, it has provided fertile ground for the musings, opinions, and investigations of antiquarians, scholars, novelists, journalists, and other interested parties. This volume reconstructs the often turbulent history of this remarkable work of art, and offers a critical analysis and annotated bibliography of the more than 1000 publications which have attempted to answer the many questions it has provoked. Discussions have focused on the origin of the Tapestry – workshop location, patronage, artistic sources, dating, and purpose. The narrative has been interpreted as Norman propaganda by some, as English propaganda by others. Its legitimacy as an historical document has been evaluated, often with contradictory conclusions, and attention has been drawn to its value as a reflection of contemporary life and customs. The Latin inscriptions have been analysed and shown to exhibit both English and French characteristics. Links have been proposed with English and French epic poetry, while recent scholarship has brought literary and communication theories into discussions. Its numerous reproductions, facsimiles, and “spinoffs” attest efforts to make it known to a greater audience, while emphasizing its relevance for modern viewers. It has become the world's most famous textile.

Shirley Ann Brown is Professor Emerita of Art History at York University, Toronto. She has published bibliographies and numerous studies of the Bayeux Tapestry, both in the context of medieval art and culture and concerning its appropriation as nationalistic propaganda in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is also Founding Director of the Registry of Stained Glass Windows in Canada (RSGC).