Sunday, October 31, 2010
During the medieval period, churches recognized the powerful impact a Biblical scene would have on a congregation who could neither read nor write. Between that, and the show of grandeur that every European court craved, the tapestry industry thrived. Tapestries became so coveted that they were considered war prizes, and were taken by conquering armies and brought back to their country. This makes it almost impossible to trace the origin of rare tapestries, unless the artist depicted a recognizable scene, city, or siege.
Paris was the first city to open factories for the production of tapestries, most notably the Gobelins factory. During the Hundred Years Was, weavers moved north and into Belgium. My historical novel, The Tapestry Shop, opens in Arras, France, a place so famed for its tapestries that the city name, arras, is now synonymous with the word tapestry. What I’d give to own one of those ancient tapestries, but of course they are in museums now, the few that exist, and are kept under carefully regulated temperature, light, and humidity.
For those of you within driving distance of Sarasota, Florida, the John Ringling Museum of Art has an exhibition of Renaissance tapestries from a museum in Vienna. The exhibition began in October and runs through Jan. 2, 2011. Here’s the link http://www.ringling.org/Exhibitions2.aspx?id=8490 .
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
During the 13th century, singers and performers played an active role in politics, writing poems of praise to a leader, or creating satirical plays about local politicians. Not to be outdone, there were also women composers of courtly love songs. The women were known as troubaritz, and they wrote songs and sometimes performed them in court or at secular public gatherings.
In my October release, The Tapestry Shop, the main character, Adam, is a trouvere, a poet/musician in northern France, similar to the troubadours of southern France. His songs draw the attention of a magistrate, which leads to a trail of difficulties. Later, when Adam meets Catherine in a tapestry shop, there is an instant attraction, but he later learns that she will join the crusades, a mission he does not support.
Do any of you have a memory of being sung to? If so, I’d love to hear about it, so leave a comment. Who knows? You may find yourself in one of my books, wearing a low-necked crimson gown trimmed with seed pearls, being entertained by a troubadour.
Snippets from early reviews for The Tapestry Shop:
from Renaissance Magazine: “The Tapestry Shop” brilliantly illuminates the nuances of daily medieval life … is highly recommended and will convince the reader to set out on a quest in search of additional historical fiction novels by Joyce Elson Moore.
from Romance Reviews Today: …meticulously researched … Beautifully written, this is an excellent novel for the fan of historical fiction.