Home news Bayeux Tapestry to be displayed in UK for the first time

Bayeux Tapestry to be displayed in UK for the first time

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The Bayeux Tapestry is set to be displayed in the UK after France agreed it could leave its shores for the first time in 950 years, the BBC understands.French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce the loan during his visit to the UK on Thursday.The Times said it could be five years before the tapestry – which depicts the Norman Conquest of England – arrives.The paper said the loan was subject to the outcome of tests to make sure the 11th Century artwork was safe to move.The tapestry tells the story of the future William I’s conquest of England, culminating in the Battle of Hastings and the defeat of Harold in 1066.It is on permanent display at a museum in the town of Bayeux, in Normandy, and has very rarely been moved.However, President Macron is expected to announce the proposed loan at a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May in the UK this week.The Times said the agreement was made after “months of talks between culture department officials in London and Paris” but it has not yet decided where the tapestry will be displayed in the UK.What are the origins of the tapestry?

Historians have long debated the origins of the tapestry, which is 70m (230ft) long and 50cm high.The earliest written reference to it is an inventory from Bayeux Cathedral in 1476, but little is known about how or why it was created.According to Reading Museum, which houses a replica of the tapestry, it was “probably commissioned” in the 1070s by the half-brother of William the Conqueror – the Bishop Odo of Bayeux.Some say it was created by teams of nuns across England – not France – possibly in Canterbury, Kent.In 2012, a PhD researcher at the University of Manchester said the artwork’s needlework was “consistent throughout”, suggesting one group of specialist embroiderers worked on it, in the same place at the same time.What does the tapestry depict?The Battle of Hastings, between William of Normandy and Anglo-Saxon King Harold II, is one of the most famous battles in English history.On 14 October 1066, William I and King Harold II came to loggerheads after William claimed the former king, his distant cousin King Edward, had promised him the throne of England.It is likely both sides had between 5,000 and 7,000 men each when they met in battle at a hilltop near Hastings.Thousands of soldiers were killed in a day of a fighting, which ended in King Harold II’s death.It was a turning point in history as it ended the Anglo-Saxons’s long reign of more than 600 years.Why is the tapestry in France?Napoleon put the tapestry on display in Paris in 1804, while he was planning an invasion of England.It was then exhibited in Paris for the second time in 1944, during World War II, before it was returned to Bayeux.Mr Macron’s offer comes after previous attempts to bring the tapestry to Britain failed.One request is thought to have been made ahead of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, while another was made for the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, in 1966.What are the myths and legends of the tapestry?The story that Harold was killed by an arrow in the eye is thought to have come from the tapestry. However, earlier sources dispute this and claim he was hacked to death by four Norman nights.Another story suggests the tapestry was almost used as a tarpaulin to cover ammunition during the French Revolution, before a lawyer saved it.
Source: BBC Sussex