New study suggests the original location of the Bayeux Tapestry is finally solved

Related Articles

Related Articles

New evidence, published in the Journal of the British Archaeological Association, has confirmed that the Bayeux Tapestry was designed specifically to fit a specific area of Bayeux’s cathedral.

New research suggests the Tapestry was designed to be hung along the north, south and west sides of the nave of Bayeux Cathedral, between the west wall and choir screen. It has long been known that the Tapestry was hung in the cathedral in the fifteenth century, but new analysis of the linen strips on which it is embroidered suggests that it was intended to hang there from the moment it was made in the eleventh century.

This discovery proves that the designer must have visited Bayeux and known the nave’s exact dimensions, adjusting the design accordingly.

 

The findings shed light on how the artwork, depicting one of British history’s most famous stories, should be displayed ahead of its loan to the UK.

For centuries, there has been debate around where the Bayeux Tapestry was manufactured, who commissioned the embroidery and whether it was originally displayed in England or France. Questions have also persisted over its exact dimensions, and the specific venue it was made for.

“It has always been the case that the simplest explanation is that it was designed for Bayeux Cathedral,” says author Christopher Norton from the University of York. “This general proposition can now be corroborated by the specific evidence that the physical and narrative structure of the tapestry are perfectly adapted to fit the (liturgical) nave of the 11th-century cathedral.”

Professor Norton’s research is based on mathematical calculations, analysis of documentary evidence including of the Tapestry’s linen fabric, and of surviving architectural details. Published data on the Tapestry’s measurements was assessed and compared along with information on medieval cloth sizes, allowing for factors such as shrinkage and missing sections.

By studying the cathedral’s surviving architectural features, Professor Norton also established how the nave would have looked in the 11th century. This enabled him to establish the nave’s original proportions by pinpointing the choir screen’s location – the Tapestry would have fitted five bays of the nave, with the artwork’s ‘narrative’ deliberately structured in relation to doorways and architectural supports.

He recommends that the Tapestry, currently kept in a long U-shaped tunnel, should be displayed along three sides of a rectangular space (31.15 m long x 9.25 m wide). This would evoke the original architectural setting, he adds, and enable viewers to appreciate the artwork as intended.

The findings arrive with the news that the embroidery is set to be lent to Britain (possibly in 2022) for the first time in recorded history, following a promise made by President Macron last year. The upcoming exhibition of the Tapestry, documenting the 1066 Norman conquest of England, has huge significance in UK-European relations – especially as it will go on public exhibition post-Brexit.

TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Ancient Mosaic Criticises Christianity

An ancient mosaic from a 4th-century house in the centre of the ancient city of Paphos in Cyprus, was a 'pictorial' criticism of Christianity according to experts.

Geoscience: Cosmic Diamonds Formed During Gigantic Planetary Collisions

It is estimated that over 10 million asteroids are circling the Earth in the asteroid belt. They are relics from the early days of our solar system, when our planets formed out of a large cloud of gas and dust rotating around the sun.

Vettuvan Koil – The Temple of the Slayer

Vettuvan Koil is a rock-cut temple, located in Kalugumalai, a panchayat town on the ancient trade routes from Kovilpatti to courtallam, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

The Testimony of Trees: How Volcanic Eruptions Shaped 2000 Years of World History

Researchers have shown that over the past two thousand years, volcanoes have played a larger role in natural temperature variability than previously thought, and their climatic effects may have contributed to past societal and economic change.

Sentinels of Ocean Acidification Impacts Survived Earth’s Last Mass Extinction

Two groups of tiny, delicate marine organisms, sea butterflies and sea angels, were found to be surprisingly resilient--having survived dramatic global climate change and Earth's most recent mass extinction event 66 million years ago.

The Venerable Ensign Wasp, Killing Cockroaches For 25 million Years

An Oregon State University study has identified four new species of parasitic, cockroach-killing ensign wasps that became encased in tree resin 25 million years ago and were preserved as the resin fossilized into amber.

Modern Humans Reached Westernmost Europe 5,000 Years Earlier Than Previously Known

Modern humans arrived in the westernmost part of Europe 41,000 - 38,000 years ago, about 5,000 years earlier than previously known, according to Jonathan Haws, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Louisville, and an international team of researchers.

Akrotiri – The Ancient Town Buried by a Volcano

Akrotiri is an archaeological site and a Cycladic Bronze Age town, located on the Greek island of Santorini (Thera) near the present-day village of Akrotiri (for which the prehistoric site is named).

Popular stories

The Secret Hellfire Club and the Hellfire Caves

The Hellfire Club was an exclusive membership-based organisation for high-society rakes, that was first founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton, and several of society's elites.

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.

Did Corn Fuel Cahokia’s Rise?

A new study suggests that corn was the staple subsistence crop that allowed the pre-Columbian city of Cahokia to rise to prominence and flourish for nearly 300 years.