If you have an interest in historical fiction and romances as I do, coupled with a love for the arts, you will probably like this novel by Tracy Chevalier who also wrote the Girl with a Pearl Earring which has since made into a movie.
The Lady and the Unicorn is a story about how the tapestries, now housed at the Musée de Cluny in Paris, came to be. The book starts by introducing the artist, Nicolas des Innocents, as he is summoned to the Le Viste estate for a commission. The novel offers an interesting insight into the creation of the art work to the weaving of the tapestries. Living with an artist, I can relate to the negotiations, cajoling and machinations that goes on even before paint hits the canvas. The whole story is an amusing look at the social interactions of the the day, the difference in class and status that always interests me.
Tracy Chevalier describes the scenes so beautifully that you almost feel like you are standing in the same room. I found the details of the weaving process intriguing. Even though I have never seen the actual process, I could visualize it just from the author’s descriptions; and after researching a bit on the internet, I found that my visualizations were not far from the actual process.
I won’t go through and give you a synopsis, you can find very well written reviews and summaries on the amazon page. I can tell you this was a very enjoyable read especially as there is still nothing worth watching on tv what with the writer’s strike.
If you aren’t familiar with the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, it may be fun to read the book first just to see if you can envision them as described in the book. But if you can’t wait, you can look here for photos of the panels.