For historical needlework fans, the Bayeux Tapestry is one of those “landmark” works that draws fascinated attention. I love this “tapestry,” and I like to read about it and anything related to it. Part of this interest stems from my love of needlework, and part of it from my love of English literature.
About a month ago, SharonB of inaminuteago directed her readers to a link about a woman named Annette Banks who recreated the Bayeux Tapestry, embroidering it over a span of 20 years. Her accomplishment is certainly more than commendable! How many of us begin projects, and, growing tired of them, do not persevere to the finish line? (Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I do it often!) So this woman certainly has my utmost regard! If you haven’t read her inspiring story, you should! Also, take a look at close ups of her recreation of the Tapestry – it’s really gorgeous, and it’s in full color. (There’s a link in the comment section below!) It’s a fun lesson in history, and a great lesson in perseverence.
If you’re a modern history buff and prefer WWII memorabilia to that of Norman and Anglo-Saxon, you might like to take a look at the Overlord Tapestry. Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, this one depicts instead the D-Day Invasion on the beaches at Normandy. Unlike Annette Banks’s work which is the work of one determined and skilled woman, this one was professionally designed and then executed in panels by the Royal School of Needlework. You can read about the making of the Overlord Tapestry at the D-Day Museum online, and you can view close-ups of different sections of it as well.
The original Bayeux Tapestry (which is not actually a woven tapestry, but rather a work of surface embroidery, on linen, worked in only 8 colors of thread!) is housed in France, and is certainly worth a long and lingering visit if you happen to be in Bayeux, Normandy and want to peruse all 230-ish feet of it. Britain necessarily believed she should have a copy of it as well, and so, during the Victorian Age, the work was undertaken by the Leek Embroidery Society, and, in just over a year, it was completed, with very minor alterations (a few naked figures were apparently clothed). You can view this reproduction and can read the account of the Norman invasion at the Bayeux Tapestry Reading Museum website.
Congratulations to Annette Banks for her great accomplishment, and to all those who persevere in Very Large Projects, you have my utmost admiration!