The Bayeux Tapestry and St. Augustine’s: Patronage, Politics, and Pictorial Narrative in Late Eleventh-Century England

Collaborative Group

Professor Elizabeth Carson Pastan, Professor Stephen D. White


Art History


Pastan and White argue that to reach a full understanding of the medieval embroidery known as the Bayeux Tapestry, one must dispense with the hypothesis that as its patron, Bishop Odo played a micromanaging role in shaping its narrative and focus instead on the monastic community where this work was created. Scholars have long regarded the monastery of St Augustine's, Canterbury as the place where the Tapestry was produced because of its artistic traditions and its ties to Odo. But because earlier analysis postulated an outmoded model of the patron acting in a dominant authorial role and misread St. Augustine's history after 1066, scholars have failed to realize the full extent of the monks' collective contribution to the embroidery’s creation.

A multi-disciplinary approach draws on Pastan and White's respective scholarly specialties: Pastan is an art historian with expertise in monumental pictorial cycles from her work on medieval stained glass, while White is an historian of English and French law, politics, and the lay patronage of monasteries. Pastan and White’s long standing scholarly collaboration, which includes co-teaching, joint conference presentations and a co-authored article on the Tapestry, has prepared them for this book project.

Award period: September 1, 2009 – August 31, 2010