The Bayeux Tapestry: Embroidering History with Alexander Wilson

The Bayeux Tapestry: Embroidering History with Alexander Wilson


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

Many of us have heard of the famous Bayeux Tapestry and 1066, but what is the real story behind the unique masterpiece and the momentous events of that year? This conversation looks to unravel both the history and the mystery behind this brilliant weave, with a local expert based in Normandy.

On the UNESCO ‘Memory of the World’ register since 2007, the almost 1000-year-old Bayeux Tapestry is actually an embroidery. Around 70 meters long and 20 inches wide, it is a long storyboard which tells the story of William Duke of Normandy’s conquest of England, culminating spectacularly in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Commissioned by William’s half-brother, Bishop Odo, to be displayed in his spectacular new Cathedral in Bayeux, it tells the history from that of the victor’s standpoint: it is a work of propaganda designed to lend legitimacy to William the Conqueror’s seizure of the English throne.

Beyond the narrative, it is an extraordinary work of art and a source of inspiration even today. At the same time, it gives amazing historical detail on the nitty-gritty of medieval life, from food through shipbuilding to warfare. This talk will explore these different aspects, looking to put the Bayeux Tapestry into its historical context and to delve into some of its mysteries. Including the fascinating story of its very survival through centuries of upheaval and war. Led by Alex Wilson, local guide and historian who lives nearby, this Context Conversation will also hopefully entice participants to include Bayeux and its unique masterpiece in their next visit to Normandy.

Photo credit: Wiki Commons

Alex Wilson, a History First from Oxford, has been living and working in France for 35 years. After running his own publishing company, he has been guiding in Normandy (and for Context) for the last ten years. While his interests extend from William the Conqueror through to the post-War reconstruction, his main focus is on WW2 and the Battle of Normandy.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 78 reviews
92%
(72)
5%
(4)
1%
(1)
1%
(1)
0%
(0)
S
S.L. (The Valley, AI)
Fascinating!

Mr. Wilson is an exceptional seminar leader. He is knowledgeable, funny and speaks very well so he is easy to understand. He knows so much about Normandy….we have learned so much. If only he could lead small group (vs. custom, independent) tours of the area! He is a treasure!!!

J
J.C. (Wakefield, US)
Bayeux Tapestry -- stitches through centuries

Mr. Wilson was very informative and responsive. He pointed out details in the tapestry itself, as well as filled in the back story of the Battle of Hastings. He needed more time, but managed to answer all questions in the chat box. Recommended!

A
A.I. (Pensacola, US)
Comprehensive and engaging

I already knew a bit about the tapestry, but am headed for Normandy in a while and wanted more in-depth information, which Mr. Wilson certainly offered. I would have enjoyed even more close-ups of the tapestry, but I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation.

J
J.A. (Ithaca, US)
Bayeux Tapestry

Alexander imparted so much fascinating and intriguing information about the tapestry and he was a joy to listen to...so relaxed and obviously delighted by his subject. He inspired us to learn more about it. Unfortunately access to the chat room disappeared during the session so we would like to thank Alexander now for the wonderful seminar!

M
Mary-Anne Rayburn (Portland, US)
The Bayeux Tapestry: Embroidery History with Alexander Wilson

The program was excellent. Mr. Wilson brought life to history- not only scenes in the linen but the cast of characters who are the focus of the story. Mr. Wilson was more than a lecturer but offered insight and understated humor to explain and teach. I only wish there was more time in the seminar to look at the many other panels that comprise the “Tapestry”. I hope to view it in person in 2022.

Customer Reviews

Based on 78 reviews
92%
(72)
5%
(4)
1%
(1)
1%
(1)
0%
(0)
S
S.L. (The Valley, AI)
Fascinating!

Mr. Wilson is an exceptional seminar leader. He is knowledgeable, funny and speaks very well so he is easy to understand. He knows so much about Normandy….we have learned so much. If only he could lead small group (vs. custom, independent) tours of the area! He is a treasure!!!

J
J.C. (Wakefield, US)
Bayeux Tapestry -- stitches through centuries

Mr. Wilson was very informative and responsive. He pointed out details in the tapestry itself, as well as filled in the back story of the Battle of Hastings. He needed more time, but managed to answer all questions in the chat box. Recommended!

A
A.I. (Pensacola, US)
Comprehensive and engaging

I already knew a bit about the tapestry, but am headed for Normandy in a while and wanted more in-depth information, which Mr. Wilson certainly offered. I would have enjoyed even more close-ups of the tapestry, but I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation.

J
J.A. (Ithaca, US)
Bayeux Tapestry

Alexander imparted so much fascinating and intriguing information about the tapestry and he was a joy to listen to...so relaxed and obviously delighted by his subject. He inspired us to learn more about it. Unfortunately access to the chat room disappeared during the session so we would like to thank Alexander now for the wonderful seminar!

M
Mary-Anne Rayburn (Portland, US)
The Bayeux Tapestry: Embroidery History with Alexander Wilson

The program was excellent. Mr. Wilson brought life to history- not only scenes in the linen but the cast of characters who are the focus of the story. Mr. Wilson was more than a lecturer but offered insight and understated humor to explain and teach. I only wish there was more time in the seminar to look at the many other panels that comprise the “Tapestry”. I hope to view it in person in 2022.