How things have changed.

I have a a lot of books on the Bayeux Tapestry.

Each one  shares a different perspective.

One of my favorites is the "The Bayeux Tapestry Embroiderers' Story" by Jan Messent.

Someone lent me an older version and this one is a  little different, it was published in 2010.

She has hand drawn all the images for the book and even written the text in Calligraphy form.

As I work on my project I refer to her description of the working conditions of the women who made the original embroidery. It's fascinating.

When we view these wonderful antiquities, often we  don't give a second thought to how they were made or indeed the working conditions of those who made it.

Were the women working in the huge dark hall of the Abbey? What was it like.? I have visions of it being long, dark and damp.

I doubt that there was glass in the windows because glass was rare and a luxury.

Medieval windows were often narrow, splayed and round or flat at the top. Often they had metal grills as added protection.

Window treatments were also practical; oiled sheep and goatskins kept out rain, wind and cold while wooden shutters did the same and could be bolted closed for security.

Embroidered curtains were also used as window treatments and were particularly common during the late medieval period.

Sheets of horn  were also used to protect one from the elements. but I don't think they would let a lot of light into the room.

Artificial light would have been a candle, possibly made from tallow. OOOh the smell….

Was it placed on the sewing table or hanging from the ceiling. Neither implements give a much light.

Jan states in her book "The commonest form of artificial light was from candles made of tallow, a smoky and smelly product of of animal fats,The more expensive beeswax candles were reserved for Church use.

The candles would have been set in rings or stood on prickets on a tripod base and placed on beams, brackets and niches. Rushlights were created from stripped rush dipped in fat"

I have 4 spot lights in the studio as well as the ceiling lights. When its dark outside and I'm working by artificial light I often turn on my photography lamps… so from the outside the place looks like its about to take off into space.

I can't imagine how hard it must have been and then I think how lucky I am.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Your project really interesting and enjoyable.Thanx to share with us this wonderful notes.
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