Bristol and Avon Archaeological Society

Explore the Bayeux Tapestry and discover what is missing from the story it tells.

On Wednesday April 28, 2021
Michael Lewis, Head of Portable Antiquities & Treasure at the British Museum and Visiting Professor in Archaeology at the University of Reading.

Lecture is brought to you by Bristol Museums in conjunction with Bristol & Avon Archaeological Society, Bath & Counties Archaeological Society and Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society.

The Bayeux Tapestry is one of the most famous documents of British history and a masterpiece of medieval art. It depicts the events leading to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

This story and the imagery is well known to many. Cartoon-like, animated and extensive, it allows us to get to know the key characters – King Edward, Earl Harold and Duke William, as well as William’s half-brother, Odo Bishop of Bayeux (the likely patron of the embroidery).

It follows the complex nature of the English session crisis resulting from Edward’s childless marriage to Harold’s sister, albeit from a specific (some suggest Norman) perspective.

In this talk, Professor Michael Lewis will unravel the story told in the Bayeux Tapestry, but also examine what is not shown. As it stands, the Tapestry presents a binary conflict between Harold and William for the English throne, putting to one side other events and happenings. It will be argued that this is purposeful, advantageous to both men, and designed to create a narrative that helps the English accept William as their king.

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