About

Mary Corbet

writer and founder

 

I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Bayeux Tapestry & Other Historical Embroideries

 

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.

Have you heard about 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. It’s a fun lesson in history, and a great lesson in perseverance.

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!

 
 

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(3) Comments

  1. I found your site a few days ago, and am just reading through the archives.
    I grew up in Leek, and while I knew all about Joshua Wardle, and the towns history with silk making, I had no idea we had an embroidery society who replicated the Bayeux tapestry. Thanks for teaching me something new about my home town!

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  2. Dear all,

    The project that Annette Banks had done is now on her website at http://www.annettebanks.co.uk.

    Dear Mary Corbet,

    My mother thanks you for your comments, I hope you have time to see the other work that she has done over the years. Your comments on the work that she has done with the “Needle and Thread” would be welcomed.

    Thank you once again.

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