The Tale Begins


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Hilary L Turner read Modern History at Oxford, gaining first an MA and later a Doctorate. Subsequently she worked as a free-lance historical researcher, editor and translator for companies in Oxford, London, Athens and the Gulf. Fascination with puzzles from the past is reflected in her publications on historical, cartographical and architectural themes, ranging from medieval town defences, a fifteenth century traveller in the Aegean, Christopher Wren's staircase at Bletchingdon and the allusions in the tapestry maps woven for Ralph Sheldon. Her publications are listed in major bibliographies.

The tapestries called Sheldon have generated strong emotions, but little academic study. The views expressed here are the result of twelve years work in record offices, museum collections and libraries. The conclusions are based on documents not previously consulted, some indeed not previously accessible, and on study of most pieces defined, by others, as Barcheston products. Their numbers have increased since the 1920s and have never before been studied as a group. Many were shown to her by the kindness of private collectors and public institutions world-wide.

She is the first person to look again at the subject after 80 years - and is not the first or only critic of the older views. It is the sheer bulk of new information which has resulted in a fresh interpretation, a situation which the authors of the initial research foresaw and by which they would not have been surprised.

Some of the research presented here in brief has substantially altered the older views, most notably the cataloguing of the tapestries of Sir William Burrell in 2017 by Elizabeth Cleland and Lorraine Karafel.

Part of this research was supported by a substantial grant from the Pasold Fund. It has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals (Read More).


Page revised 13 February 2022


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