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Follow the Brass Markers to the Bayeux Tapestry…… Guest blogger- Barbara Fox

June 19, 2014

 

During my most recent visit to France in 2012

we visited Bayeux, a small town in Normandy,  where the Bayeux Tapestry, one of the most precious artifacts in the world is kept on display. The tapestry documents the events surrounding the Battle of Hastings, where William the Conqueror of France invaded England in 1066.

Completed in 1077, the tapestry was intended to be displayed in the nave of the Bayeux Cathedral. It is made of linen, approximately 230 feet long and nearly a thousand years old. Today it’s kept in controlled conditions in a library adjacent to the cathedral. It is truly an amazing historical embroidery being preserved for the ages.

 

 American cemetery

American cemetery

 IMG_3154

brass markers on walkway in Bayeux

brass markers on walkway in Bayeux

As we walked the town of Bayeux, I kept noticing attractive brass markers (approximately 3 – 4 inches in diameter) on the walkways and stopped to take several photos of them because of my attraction to trees.  It wasn’t until we returned home that I found out what they were and the purpose they served. The tree symbol on the marker is a stylized representation of the trees embroidered on the Bayeux Tapestry that separated the frames (a sort of chapter-type marking for this famous embroidered piece). The repeated occurrence in the town helped direct you to the place where the tapestry is kept.

bayeux

Bayeux

We stayed in Bayeux for three nights, visiting many of the famous sites along the Normandy Coast. Seeing the tapestry was at the head of my list because we had been to Bayeux before and missed seeing it.

Bayeux Cathedral

Bayeux Cathedral

The Bayeux Cathedral held another pleasant surprise. As I was outside taking photos of the cathedral, my husband went inside to look around. He came right back out and told me there was something I needed to see, inside.

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

To my surprise, a French brodeur, Claude Biénacel was there displaying his embroidered reproduction (in 9/10 size) of the Bayeux Tapestry. He also embroidered as he spoke with people. His masterpiece, far from being finished today, represents 5000 hours of work. Apparently, he is a retired baker and took up this task in the years following his retirement 17 years ago. He has been recognized by cultural authorities in France and has been given awards for this work. I spoke with him briefly in my very broken French, which to someone who only speaks the French language must have been laughable, although he did seem to understand what I was trying to convey and he was very much the gentleman.

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel at Bayeux Cathedral

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Bayeux reproduction by Claude Biénacel

Sketch of Gothic Foliage trees from Bayeux Tapestry

Sketch of Gothic Foliage trees from Bayeux Tapestry

We will be watching for the brass markers that lead to the Bayeux Tapestry when we travel to Normandy this year!  Gail

3 Comments leave one →
  1. pennypeters permalink
    June 20, 2014 12:36 am

    I am so looking forward to visiting the Bayeux Tapestry again in October. I never tire of seeing the stitching, or piecing the history together. I have been watching a documentary called Monarchy on Netflix. It describes the history of the ever evolving English Monarchy, and of course the Norman Invasion figures large in that story.

    • Barbara Fox permalink
      June 20, 2014 1:36 am

      The tapestry is fascinating and such an amazing historical document. I kept pausing my audio feed so I could check out all of the embroidered detail and how privileged I was to be able to see it in person. Have a wonderful time seeing it again and enjoy your trip! I will look into watching the documentary.

  2. Hope Laurini permalink
    June 20, 2014 5:31 am

    Enchanting & fascinating! Thanks for sharing ☆♡★♥

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