Early Inspirations: The Bayeux Tapestry

King Penguin Number Ten - The Bayeux Tapestry

There’s a very good reason why this 1940s King Penguin book about the Bayeux Tapestry is in such a very worn state. It was probably one of my very first encounters with the graphic form, and I often read and re-read it as a kid.

King Penguin Number Ten - The Bayeux Tapestry

I have to confess that even today, the almost certainly erudite text by Eric Maclagan, a director of the V&A and much admired art historian, is not what drew me back, time and again to pore through its pages. It was definitely the photographs of the Tapestry itself that captured my attention, despite being largely black and white (which in the 1960s mattered not one jot as so was our telly!).

King Penguin Number Ten - The Bayeux Tapestry

King Penguin Number Ten - The Bayeux Tapestry

King Penguin Number Ten - The Bayeux Tapestry

It’s one of a number of books my late Mum, a history teacher, kept down the years and I’m delighted I have it now.

It was also a delight to find out last year that artist Iván Petrus is working on what looks to be a wonderful skit on the Tapestry story.

He shared some secrets of his new project at last year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival and has teased his fans with a single image from this humour title on his official web site. I’m looking forward to reading it!

Bayeux Tapestry project Image by Ivan Petrus

The King Penguin books were published between 1939 and 1959, some 76 titles in total – UK publisher Penguin’s first foray into hardcover books and colour printing.

Most originally combined a classic series of colour plates with an authoritative text.

Scouring Amazon, AbeBooks and other sites, you can buy most King Penguins pretty cheaply – but the memories this particular very worn book holds are very dear to me.

There’s a full list of the King Penguin range here on PenguinFirstEditions

More about the Bayeux Tapestry on the Bayeux Museum web site

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