Bayeux embroidery comes to Waltham Abbey

A work of art that is an amazing achievement will be coming to King Harold Day this autumn.   It is an embroidery of the Bayeux Tapestry, (which is itself actually an embroidery).

The talented needlewoman who has produced the embroidery is Annette Banks, who lives in East Finchley.   Annette spent a lot of time in hospital as a child, and that was when she started embroidery.   As well as the Bayeux Tapestry, she has worked other large historical pieces, including one of Henry VIII.

It took twenty years to work the Bayeux embroidery, which is 56 feet long, and covers the time from Earl Harold Godwinson’s becoming an adviser to Edward the Confessor until after his defeat and death at the Battle of Hastings, and William of Normandy’s coronation at Westminster Abbey.   One way in which it does differ from the original Bayeux Tapestry is that the descriptive wording is in English, whereas the original is in Latin.

Last year Annette had considerable national press and television coverage of the project, because she wanted the embroidery to be displayed.   She has taken it around to schools, and it has also been shown at an exhibition at Olympia.   We contacted Annette to ask if it could be displayed at King Harold Day, and she kindly agreed to show it at the event on 13 October.

In May Annette brought the embroidery to the Abbey Church to decide where best to show it, and when rolled out it stretched the entire length of the side aisle.

Now Annette has worked an extension of another four feet, making 60 feet in all, which has been done specially for King Harold Day and shows Edith Swan-Neck, Harold’s mistress, identifying his body on the battlefield and bringing it back to Waltham for burial.

This is a truly amazing work of art.   Annette describes herself as an obsessive needlewoman, but as well as her talents with the needle she has put so much research into the story of the tapestry, the history, and into getting the English translation right.   We are honoured to have the embroidery on display at King Harold Day, and are particularly pleased that Annette will be with us to talk about the work.

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Published in: on September 25, 2007 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

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