Bayeux Tapestry to return to the UK … 900 (or so) years after it left!



Much speculation this morning about an announcement, due to made tomorrow by Emmanuel Macron, who, it is thought, has agreed to loan the Bayeux Tapestry to the UK. Usually exhibited at the appropriately named Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux in Normandy, it will be the first time that the tapestry — which isn’t technically a tapestry at all, since it is embroidered (and, interestingly, usually thought that most of the embroidering was undertaken by women) — has been in the UK since it was produced here (? Kent) in the 1070s (? finished by 1077). The agreement is being hailed/”spun” as evidence of the strength of Anglo-French relations following Brexit … hmm. More here.



  1. I found this announcement on the BBC News this morning both amusing and slightly irritating. The idea that the Bayeux Tapestry might be ‘returned’ or ‘repatriated’ to England where some scholars have suggested it was created is ludicrous. It was produced at a time when parts of England and Normandy had been united into an Anglo-Norman kingdom and as I understand it the ‘tapestry’ is a conqueror’s account of how that was accomplished. So to claim that it somehow belongs here rather than in Bayeux makes no sense. Also it was absurd to see British experts saying that this would be a great opportunity to study the tapestry and to look closely at its back as if somehow they might find something that their counterparts just across the Channel might have missed. If it does come here it will indeed be an ironic gesture in the light of the impending impact of Brexit when we wil be separated from Normandy once again.

    • Thanks for this, Jon. Quite right. Hopefully the tone of my post didn’t suggest that I think its loan to the UK does amount to repatriation, since that wasn’t the intention. From what I remember, which isn’t very much to be honest (hence the conspicuous, and prudent, “?s”), the evidence that it was created in England, though, is fairly convincing, and that’s the spirit in which ‘returned’ was meant in the title to this. Important caveat: I haven’t read anything about this for years ….

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