The Bayeux Tapestry to Quilt. The research.

This is part of the research I had to do before beginning the quilt. Jamie, my son and I traveled to France and England, conducting interviews and filming, it was I thoroughly enjoyed although at times it was a little stressful.

In 1068 a group of artisans completed one of the most intriguing pieces of art in history. The Bayeux Tapestry.

Carola Hicks states "The Bayeux Tapestry provides a far-from impartial account of a political event, the last successful invasion of England. Its climax is the Battle of Hastings, 14th October 1066, when William, Duke of the Normans, defeated Harold, King of the English, and claimed the kingdom for himself."

Although first described as a tapestry (Tapisserie) the work is not an actual tapestry, but an embroidery, in this case, a strip of linen hand-decorated by needle and woollen thread.

The original Tapestry.

I'm a Quilter, Tutor, Photographer, Illustrator, and an Author and I am re-creating the Bayeux Tapestry as a quilt, and documenting my journey.

I will share with you the comparisons of making the masterpiece in 1068 and my quilt in 2020. Fortunately, I don't have to kill a flock of sheep to make the parchment to do the drawings. I don't have to make my own dyes or even grow fields of flax to make the line base cloth.

In my search for knowledge and inspiration, I have travelled to Bayeux many times. I've walked across the fields that were traversed by the warring armies in Hastings.

Walking across the fields on the route used by William of Normandy's troops.

When I walked across this field during the filming I was ankle deep in mud and being directed by Jamie high on the hill. I couldn't hear a thing, so we used hand signals. It was hilarious.

I stood on the shore of Pevensey Bay visualising the image of 800 Norman ships laden with horses and troops landing on the stony beach.

Pevensey Bay.

I've sat in reverence in the Bayeux Cathedral (Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux) and visualised the Tapestry hanging in the Choir.

The choir in Bayeux Cathedral.

We visited each building represented on the Tapestry and made comparisons.

Battle Abbey in Hastings. The Abbey was built with the stones used as Ballast in the bottom of the ships. It's just a shell now, but still fascinating.
Where the Battle took place.

We have a lot of stories behind the tour through England and France, this is just one of them.

In Hastings we stopped for lunch, A pint of prawns. Yum. The funniest thing was that Jamie was wearing his Australian Idol T shirt and we were constantly followed and stopped with people asking about the program. Maybe they were expecting me to Sing or something.

Bosham Church.
A small drawing of the door.

Bosham Church where Harold and his foot soldiers went to pray before they set sail for France. To actually walk on the floor through the door where he had walked was an amazing feeling. I felt a bit of a dork doing it on film though. Jamie was a hard task master.

Mont Saint Michel Abbey.
I have 100's of images, and it's hard to capture the beauty and Magnitude of the Castle.

This is a small part of the physical research, the filming and interviews. We still have a lot more to do, now I have to add it to the list.

From here I began to work on the quilt.


Photographed and written by Pam Holland