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The Wenches

  • Mary Jo Putney

  • Patricia Rice

  • Susan Fraser King

  • Anne Gracie

  • Nicola Cornick

  • Andrea Penrose

  • Christina Courtenay

In Memoriam

  • Jo Beverley
    Word Wench 2006-2016

  • Edith Layton
    Word Wench 2006-2009

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June 2023

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Wenches Statistics

  • Years published: 164

    Novels published: 231

    Novellas published: 74

    Range of story dates: nine centuries (1026-present)

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Isn't your parish tapestry wonderful! Did you do Ashdown House? I expect there was some competition for that section!

My favourite tapestries are the Lady and the Unicorn series in the Musee de Cluny, Paris. They are wool and silk tapestries woven in Flanders in the 16th century, and are absolutely beautiful. I discovered them years ago, when I was exploring Paris as a penniless student and happened upon Cluny. I didn't even know that the tapestries existed, so when I suddenly saw them I was captivated. They were restored recently, so I really ought to go back and look at them again.

Nicola Cornick

Thank you, HJ! Yes, I think it is a wonderful piece of work. I wasn't nearly accomplished enough to do Ashdown and the lady who ran the workshops took that on and made it look very pretty, I think.

I've taken a look at the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries online and they are very beautiful. I love that they depict the five senses. How wonderful! Next time I visit Paris I will make a point of going to see them.

Andrea Penrose

Wonderful post, Nicola, and goreous images. I love storytelling in all form, but particularly love these tapestries because of my visual arts background. Amazing the nuances of plot, character, etc they create in a seemingly simple form. Real artists!

Elinor Aspen

I had the good fortune to see the Unicorn series years ago. They are displayed at The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park rather than the main Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue. The Cloisters also has the surviving pieces of a Nine Worthies series from ca. 1400-1410, but the Unicorn series is my favorite, for the rich colors and botanical detail.

Nicola Cornick

Thanks, Cara/Andrea! Yes, I thought you would be very appreciative of visual storytelling. As you say, it is astonishing how cleverly the artists convey all the nuances. Truly wonderful.

Nicola Cornick

Thank you, Elinor. I've looked up the Nine Worthies series. I love discovering new tapestries! The Unicorn series really is remarkable for the vividness of the colours after so many centuries!

Shannon McEwan

The Ashbury Village Textile Map looks and sounds like a wonderful community project.

In Melbourne there is a group called the Australian Tapestry Workshop. They collaborate with contemporary artists. Their tapestries are amazing!!!

Their website has images of many of the tapestries they have created over the years (they started out in 1976), as well as images of the weavers at work. Do, do, do have a look -


Nicola Cornick

Thank you so much for the link, Shannon. I've had a browse through the tapestries and they are stunning!

Sonya Heaney

The most famous tapestry I remember seeing is The Lady and the Unicorn in Paris. On my last trip to Spain I was fascinated by the historical map tapestries on display in some of the palaces. The whole world according to 15-something!

I also remember in history class at school the teacher had a roll of paper with the Bayeux Tapestry on it. I have a very distinct memory of being marched out, two or three students at a time, to view it!


That parish tapestry is beautiful and what a great community project. Congratulations on its completion!
Just before seeing this post, I was reading about an exhibit of North American Plains Indian art at the Met, and the buffalo robe painting used to illustrate that review reminded me very strongly of your Bayeux tapestry image with the horses. You can see it here: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/16/moving-pictures-art-world-peter-schjeldahl
They both have that same 2 dimensional quality, with a lot of action figures, very little interest in the background landscape, and tell the story of a battle. Plains Indians paintings were mostly war stories or religion, so it seems they had that in common with the Normans!

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