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Bayeux Tapestry

"Propaganda on cloth"
(probably late 11th c). Not properly a tapestry but a strip of linen 231 ft (70.4 m.) long and 20 ins (50.8 cm.) deep embroidered in coloured wools. It represents events in the life of Harold of England and the Norman Conquest (1066) in a series of scenes which are supplemented by a Latin commentary and decorative borders depicting, e.g. scenes from tables and everyday life. First mentioned (1476) in an inventory of Bayeux cathedral, where it was used occasionally to decorate the nave. It was probably commissioned by Odo, bishop of Bayeux, half-brother of William the Conqueror, but whether it is of Norman or Saxon design is uncertain; a totally unfounded tradition connects Mathilda, William the Conqueror's queen, with the B. t. It is the only work of its kind which survives and is now exhibited in Bayeux.



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