Informative Essay on Embroidery Bayeux

Embroidery Bayeux

The term “embroidery Bayeux” comes from the technique of “Bayeux Tapestry” which refers to a cloth which is designed and embroidered in a very artistic manner that depicts the chain of events that occurred in the ancient history of England. (Wilson, 2004).
It is an amazing form of art where the events are very uniquely represented on the cloth and they are made so elegantly and expertly that they tend to provide detail in formation and understanding of the events. It displayed various events like the William Duke conquering England right from the Norman Empire and the battle of Hastings involving the King of England Harold Earl.
The first ever mention of the history of this kind of art was from the year of 1476 and this was mentioned on the treasures that were present at the Bayeux Cathedral. The next instance or reference of the design is in 1724 where Antoine Lancelot had sent a report which involved mentioning about the King William in the form of tapestry (Zhuang, 2001).
Later, it was in 1729 as well as 1730 that these art in the form of drawings were published by a Benedictine scholar with the name Bernard de Montfaucon. These drawings were claimed to be one of the best draughtsmen that was present at that time. In England, it was first mentioned and briefly discussed by William Stukeley, in his “Palaeographia Britannica”. This article had not been published till 1767.
In the year of 1792 which had observed French revolution, this kind of art was used to send message as well as cover military armaments like the wagons.
“Society of Antiquaries of London” sent one of their expert draughtsmen in 1816 to visit the Cathedral of Bayeux and develop an analysis and understanding of the art. It was specially displayed in the “Bibliothèque Publique” in 1842. It then had to be protected from various invasions that were made during 1870 as well as the time from 1939 to 1944. It made its way back to the Bayeux in 1945 where it has been displayed in the public form of arts since then (Zhuang, 2001).

It is a very unique and special kind of art which involves formation of the design in the form of different kinds of scenes on the Linen canvas. This kind of canvas was obtained from the fibres that were obtained in the stem of the plant which is known as flax plant. This canvas was exposed to sun for a long time to get the required texture and colour that is required to make the tapestry on the woollen surface. This threads were displaying their texture and colour on the canvas. The length of these cloth is about 70 metres and the width is 50 centimetres
This kind of design refers to the entire story of the time when the England was conquered by the Normans. The example of a tapestry involving the Battle of Hastings is given in the below figure.
Tapestry design showing battle of Hastings:

(Brilliant, 1991)

“Bishop of Bayeux rallying Duke William’s troops during the Battle of Hastings in 1066”

(Brilliant, 1991)
The use of colours also requires a huge amount of expertise and knowledge that provides the correct effect to the scene and can be best used on the canvas. It involves different kind of stitches in the form of straight stitches, bars and picots which are made on the canvas. In the design, there are four kind of stitches that are used while developing the tapestry and they are: Stem stitch, chain stitch, split stitch that has two threads and couching work, or “Bayeux stitch”. The outline is done with the stem stitch and the design is made by the other stitches.
The entire structure is set across the linen canvas with the cloth having length around 70m. It involves portraying the chain of events in continuity and hence had to be ensured that there are no breaks while designing the tapestry on a single canvas. The canvas gets the required colour by soaking in the sunlight and the texture is obtained by the woollen threads that are used in its design.
It spread the history of the Norman Empire established in England with the paintings estimated to be made in 1066. The design is very important as it is one of the only means of spreading the information through painting the chain of events on the canvas as shown in the figure below:
“Entire piece of the chronic painting, the story of a campaign and a display of the events showing the victory”

(BTS Audiovisual (DLA, History of Art), 2012)

Tapestry Bayeux is one of the most precious gift in the form of art to the world from the Norman invasion in England. The various scenes that are depicted through it provide an in depth understanding of the events and scenes that were prevalent during that time (Zhuang, 2001). This helps the artist’s to explore their art on a woollen canvas that was developed initially on the tapering Bayeux kind of style. This style has helped artists to use their art and experiment different forms of drawings on this kind of canvas.

Brilliant, R. (1991). The Bayeux Tapestry: a stripped narrative for their eyes and ears. Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry, 98-126.
BTS Audiovisual (DLA, History of Art). (2012, November 27 ). Retrieved from
Wilson, D. M. (2004). The Bayeux Tapestry. Ebooks.
Zhuang, S. Q. (2001). Bayeux: an architecture for scalable and fault-tolerant wide-area data dissemination. NOSSDAV ’01 Proceedings of the 11th international workshop on Network and operating systems support for digital audio and video, (pp. 11-20). New York.


Posted on

March 10, 2018

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