Famous tapestry is really a medieval embroidery

THE famous Bayeux Tapestry is technically not a tapestry (tapestries are woven), but a huge band of embroidered linen measuring 50cm in width and 70m in length.

Depicted on what is now beige fabric in eight colours are dozens of scenes of the Norman Conquest.

The story it tells begins long before the Battle of Hastings, with Edward the Confessor sending Harold Godwinson on a mission to France, and ends with the Normans victorious at Hastings in 1066.

There may have been more depicted, but the end of the tapestry is missing.

Decorative borders along the top and bottom display scenes from fables, farming and hunting, and occasionally items related to the main story.

Known facts about the tapestry’s creation are few. It may have been commissioned by Bishop Odo (half-brother of William the Conqueror), whose name is one of the few that appear in the work.

It was probably made at Canterbury in Kent, where Odo was earl after the conquest, and it was apparently completed no later than 1092. A recent tradition has it that William’s wife, Matilda worked on the embroidery herself, but there is no evidence to substantiate this. Except for two brief periods (once during the Franco-German War and once during World War 2), the tapestry has remained in Bayeux since the Middle Ages. © Google

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