Architecture and Math Show the Bayeux Tapestry Was Designed to Decorate a Cathedral
by Jason Daley/Smithsonian.com
The Bayeux Tapestry, an epic embroidered cloth that recounts William the Conqueror’s invasion of England in 1066, is perhaps the most exciting story ever committed to linen. But while the centuries-old artwork offers much illumination on the medieval period, details regarding the tapestry itself—including who embroidered it, where it was created and its original purpose—remain few and far between.
A new study published in the Journal of the British Archaeological Association attempts to address some of these unanswered questions, outlining evidence that suggests the tapestry was designed for display in a specific section of Normandy’s Bayeux Cathedral.
As study author Christopher Norton, an art historian at the University of York, explains in a press release, scholars have long viewed the Bayeux Cathedral as the tapestry’s likeliest point of origin.
Norton says, “This general proposition can now be corroborated by the specific evidence that the physical and narrative structure of the tapestry are perfectly adapted to fit the [liturgical] nave of the 11th-century cathedral.”