Thursday, July 29, 2010

Carola Hicks

Carola Hicks, who has died of cancer aged 68, was a glamorous academic and a serious populariser of art. She created something new in the world of contemporary biography, writing the life stories and afterlives of iconic works of art such as the Bayeux tapestry and the stained-glass windows of King's College Chapel, Cambridge. She swept the dust off old masterpieces, explained their cultural contexts and infused them with life for a new public.

Her book, The Bayeux Tapestry: The Life Story of a Masterpiece (2006), was the first of her innovative biographies of works of art. Carola brought fresh insights to this medieval strip cartoon and instrument of political propaganda. Most groundbreaking was her investigation of the afterlife of the Bayeux tapestry: its rediscovery by 18th-century antiquarians, its survival though the French revolution, its reinvention by the pre-Raphaelites, its skewed interpretation by over-reachers from Napoleon to Heinrich Himmler.

Click here to read this obituary from The Guardian