Practical Applications: The Bayeux Tapestry
By THL Lucia Thaylur

My pouches were made with designs which were inspired by the borders of the Bayeux Tapestry.

Fabric: 56 count Linen (Messent, p. 11).

Colors in the Tapestry:

Woolen threads were dyed with vegetable dyes to produce a nice array of colors. Wolfgang Grape suggests a total of eight colors were used to produce the tapestry: reddish yellow, ochreous yellow, terracotta red, blue/ green, sage green, olive green, blue and bluish black (p. 62). Jan Messent says there were fourteen colors: pale green, pale blue/green, deep green, dark blue/green, deep blue, grey /blue, very dark blue, deep gold, pale gold, straw, brown, orange, black and pale grey (p.79).

The colors suggested by both authors include the primary colors (red, blue, yellow and green). Vegetable dyes vary in intensity due to a number of factors: age of dyestuffs, climate, soil, strength of the dye, time allowed in the dyebath, temperature of the bath, etc. so I chose to use the wider palette suggested by Messent.

Use of Color:

The individual designs of the tapestry are rarely completed using only one color. While every effort was made to have the animals appear lifelike the colors disrupt their organic coherence (Grape, p. 66). Messent suggests colors were used to keep shapes from mixing up with those on either side of them and the system employed was to use a different color for outlining than was used in the laidwork (p. 101).

Technique:

The entire tapestry is done using laid and couched work with outline and stem stitch (Grape p. 63, Messent p. 50-51).

Size:

The overall tapestry is 272 ft (70 meters) long and made from eight panels sewn together (Messent, p. 105-110). Grape states the tapestry is “some 50 centimeters high” (p. 23). Playing with the math, I came to the conclusion the borders accounted for approximately 1/3 of the overall height so the figures on the borders would be approximately 8cm or a little over three inches high. The main designs on the pouches is well within the parameters.


Photos will show a closer view
You must have JavaScript enabled and allowed to run on this site
to be able to see the close up images

photo
Front
photo
Back
photo
Front
photo
Back
photo
Front
photo
Back
photo
Front
photo
Back
photo
Front
photo
Back
photo
Front
photo
Back
photophotophoto
photophotophoto


On line images of Bayeux Tapestry:

http://rubens.anu.edu.au/htdocs/bytype/textiles/bayeux/index.html

Use of wool laid and couched work in other applications:

Ottomans used the atma stitch and bucharan couching:

http://www.textilemuseum.org/fsg/gallery/stitch_glossary.html

Guojonsson tells us the altar frontal from a Draflastaoir church in Northern Iceland 16th c. was done in refilsaumur (p.14)

Works cited:

Grape, Wolfgang. The Bayeux Tapestry. Prestel . Munich, London, New York ISBN 3-7913-1365-7

Guojonsson, Elsa E., Traditional Icelandic Embroidery. Self published. Iceland. 2003 ISBN 9979-9202-6-2

Messent, Jan. The Bayeux Tapestry Embroiderers’ Story. Madeira Threads (U.K.) Ltd.. North Yorkshire. 1999. ISBN. 0 951 634852.

Photography by: THL Donegal



Last updated: 11/25/2006