From the bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring comes a historical tale of love, sex and revenge.
Keen to demonstrate his new-found favour with the King, rising nobleman Jean Le Viste commissions six tapestries to adorn the walls of his chateau.
He expects soldiers and bloody battlefields. But artist Nicolas des Innocents instead designs a seductive world of women, unicorns and flowers, using as his muses Le Viste's wife Genevieve and ripe young daughter Claude.
In Belgium, as his designs spring to life under the weavers' fingers, Nicolas is inspired once more - by the master weaver's daughter Alienor and her mother Christine.
They too will be captured in his threads.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 04/12/2006
- Category: Historical fiction
- ISBN: 9780007172313
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Review by Eyejaybee
A tour de force of history and imagination, The Lady and the Unicorn is Tracy Chevalier's answer to the mystery behind one of the art world's great masterpieces - a set of bewitching medieval tapestries that today hang in the Cluny Museum in Paris. They appear to portray the seduction of a unicorn, but the story behind their making has always been unclear.Chevalier offers us an enthralling version of her own. In Paris, in 1490, a shrewd French nobleman commissions six lavish tapestries celebrating his rising status at Court. He hires the charismatic, arrogant, sublimely talented Nicolas des Innocents to design them. Nicolas creates havoc among the women in the household (dallying in turn with mother, daughter, servant, and lady-in-waiting) before taking his designs north to the Brussels workshop where the tapestries are to be woven. There, master weaver Georges de la Chapelle risks everything he has to finish the tapestries (which he acknowledges will be the finest and most intricate works of his career) by the tight deadline set by his exacting French client. The results change all their lives ( though the strands of all those lives have been captured in the tapestries, for those who know where to look).In The Lady and the Unicorn, Tracy Chevalier weaves fact and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry to offer the reader an extraordinary story exquisitely told.