The Bayeux Tapestry is now available online!
Musée Tapisserie de Bayeux, © S.Maurice - Bayeux Museum
While waiting to have its thousands of pairs of eyes behind its window like every year, the Bayeux Tapestry has entered a new era of mediation for the international public, thanks to the creation of a digital panorama which allows exploration from a computer or a touch pad.
The visitor now has access to the embroidered canvas in its entirety online. Among the exploration tools available, the zoom function allows to view the Bayeux Tapestry until the details of the embroidered patterns in maximum focus. The side information panel offers translations in French and English of the Latin inscriptions, and a graduated ruler at the bottom of the screen allows you to quickly navigate to a chosen scene. The panorama was built from the photos taken in 2017 outside its window, and recalibrated by teams from the University of Caen Normandie and CNRS.
Listed in UNESCO « Memory of the World » register since 2007, the Bayeux Tapestry depicts with wool threads embroidered on linen cloth, the story of William, Duke of Normandy who became King of England in 1066 after the Battle of Hastings. It begins in 1064, when Edward the Confessor, King of England, instructs his brother-in-law Harold Godwinson to travel to Normandy in order to offer his cousin William the succession to the English throne. Although the end of the embroidery is missing, the story is finished suddenly with the Anglo-Saxons fleeing at the end of the Battle of Hastings in October 1066….
The famous embroidery is an account of the medieval period in Normandy and England like no other. It provides information about civil and military architecture such as castle mounds, armour consisting of a nasal helmet, hauberk and oblong shield and seafaring in the Viking tradition. Through the great number of items depicted, it also gives precious details of everyday life in the 11th century.
Contrary to popular and romantic belief, the embroidery of nearly 70 meters long, was probably not crafted by Queen Matilda and her ladies-in-waiting. No one knows for sure who created the Bayeux Tapestry. Most historians believe that Odo, Bishop of Bayeux and William the Conqueror’s half-brother, commissioned the embroidery to decorate the nave of the new cathedral of Notre-Dame of Bayeux, consecrated on 14 July 1077.
A NEW MUSEUM IN 2026: Housed in the former Seminary in Bayeux since 1983, the Bayeux Tapestry is now the focus of a project to create a new setting for its display to the public from 2026. A report on the condition of the Bayeux Tapestry was thus carried out by a team of eight restorers, all specialists in antique textiles, at the beginning of 2020 in order to gain a better understanding of its state of conservation.
This examination represents an essential basis from which to develop a restoration protocol. It will
also inform and support deliberations as to how the Tapestry should be exhibited in the future, in line with the latest recommendations regarding textile conservation.
Explore the tapestry online:
14402 Bayeux cedex, France