The Girl on the Wall (Paperback)

One Life's Rich Tapestry

Jean Baggott

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Jean Baggott is ‘the girl on the wall’ – a 1948 photograph taken of her when she was eleven – whose life was never going to be remarkable and the pinnacle of whose achievements would come from being a wife and a mother. Almost 60 years later, with her children gone, dealing with the loss of the love of her life, Jean began the education denied to her as a girl. Inspired by ceilings of Lincolnshire’s Burghley House and by the History degree she had begun, Jean began to stitch a tapestry which looked back at her life and the changing world around her. It took sixteen months to complete. The tapestry consists of over 70 intersecting circles, each telling some aspect of her life. Some represent extraordinary events such as the moon landings or world historical news stories like the Cuban Missile Crisis; some circles comment on famous people and places she remembers, others about the music she loves – Pink Floyd – and the games she played as a child, and growing up during the second world war with her brothers. Each chapter of “The Girl on the Wall” features a circle from the tapestry and Jean’s accompanying narrative, exploring the circle and the memories it evokes. It reveals an ordinary life in extraordinary detail. The result is a truly unique, touching portrait of a seemingly average British woman’s life. To stand back and look at the tapestry is to be struck by the richness of one human journey – from 1940 to the present day. The girl on the wall would be proud. The book includes a full-colour pull-out of Jean’s tapestry inside the back cover.

Jean Baggott was born in 1937 and lives in Warwick, and has lived in various parts of the Midlands for most of her life and She remains passionate about her Black Country roots. She is now in her final year of a degree in History at the University of Warwick.

‘Stop all the reading clocks because the most exquisite book arrived yesterday; it’s quite taken my breath away… [it is] a remarkable and unique visual representation of her life, memories and associations in all their astonishing and intricate detail and it really is the most stunning work of art.’DoveGrey Reader
‘The writing style is knowledgeable yet unpretentious and with an intimacy that reveals Jean to be a wonderful raconteur.’DoveGrey Reader
‘The author’s words convey a richness of a life well-lived.’Embroidery Magazine
‘An engrossing read.’BBC World of Cross-Stitching Magazine
‘A fascinating and intricate project.’Cross-Stitcher Magazine
‘A unique record of her life and times…’Daily Mail
‘The most moving moments of the past 70 years captured in one woman’s extraordinary embroidered memoir.’Daily Mail
‘Jean Baggott has not only written about her life, she has produced an exceptional cross-stitch tapestry that details events in her own life and records those momentous historical events that have formed its backdrop.’Family Tree Magazine
‘It could be the stuff of misery memoirs but in Jean Baggott’s nimble fingers, this life’s rich tapestry positively shimmers.’Sunday Herald
‘A remarkable woman tells the story of her remarkable life.’Leamington Spa Courier
‘A most extraordinary new book… there are valuable observations in the book too complex to be rendered in thread… her work can be read as a quietly profound celebration.’Sunday Telegraph
‘Unique.’Susan Hill, The Lady Magazine
‘A mother’s day gift to delight in.’The Bookseller
‘An extraordinary piece of work. A Unique book.’Bookseller
‘Her memoir evokes a childhood whose privations did nothing to stop her enjoying a full and satisfying life. Those who were old enough to remember those days will thank her for bringing them back; others will learn perhaps for the first time what they were really like.’Nicholas Bagnall, Sunday Telegraph

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about this book

ISBN: 9781848311893

Price: 7.99 GBP 18.00 CAD 19.99 AUD 24.99 NZD 14.50 USD

Pages: 352

Publication date: 03/03/2011

Category: Biography & Memoir

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