Museum to Display Bayeux Tapestry Copy Owned by Rolling Stone

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January 29, 2024

A 19th-Century reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry once owned by a famous rock star will soon be on display at a French museum dedicated to the famed medieval artwork.

The Bayeux Tapestry is a very large display depicting nearly five dozen scenes from medieval England and France, notably 10 of the Battle of Hastings, the victory by Norman troops over Saxon forces that launched the Norman Conquest of Britain. The Bayeux Tapestry is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage object.

The Bayeux Museum is in the French town of the same name and has displayed the Tapestry since 1982. Hundreds of thousands of people view the tapestry every year. An embroidered reproduction, done in the 19th Century by a group of English embroiderers, is on display at Reading Museum, in the English town of that name.

Bayeux Tapestry cavalry

In 1872, an English photographer took a long panorama of life-size shots of the tapestry. Photography at the time was relatively new, and the result was a set of 180 glass photographic plates. Then, artists from London's National Art Training School painted a representation of the photographic plates. In all, they made six copies of the finished product, which were displayed to the public at the 1873 London Universal Exhibition and the 1893 Chicago Universal Exhibition. The original plates are in the Victoria & Albert Museum, in London.

At some point in the 20th Century, Charlie Watts, longtime drummer of the rock group The Rolling Stones, acquired one of the copies. He died in 2021, and the copy was one of the things auctioned from his estate. The Bayeux Museum bought that copy.

The museum is planning a renovation, to begin in 2025 and last two years, opening in time to mark the 1,000th anniversary of William the Conqueror, the head of the victorious forces at Hastings on October 14, 1066. The newly acquired copy of the photographic plates will go on display at the museum at that time.

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Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2023
David White

Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2024
David White