Words in the News


© Getty Images/Westend61 \ Westend61
Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter

To mark a visit to the UK, the French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that France is willing to lend the Bayeux tapestry to the UK, the first time the precious artefact will have left home in its 950 year history. (Possibly. Many experts believe the tapestry was actually made in England before being moved to France at an unknown later date). The 68 metre long tapestry shows the build-up to the invasion of Britain and the Norman Duke William’s victory over the English at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 in extraordinary and exquisite detail.

I have called it a tapestry and that is how it is always referred to, but in fact the artwork is embroidered, not woven as a tapestry is. The probable destination if it does visit is the British Museum, which has a newish gallery capable of accommodating a work of this size.

As well as referring to a woven decorative cloth, tapestry is used to refer metaphorically to a variety or mixture of things. It is often preceded by the adjective rich, and people sometimes refer to an event or experience being ‘part of life’s rich tapestry‘ (or sometimes pageant). ‘Tapestry’ is also the title song of a classic album by singer songwriter Carole King, whose lyrics refer to the singer’s life as ‘a tapestry of rich and royal hue’.

Tapestry comes from the Old French ‘tapisserie’ which in turn derives from ‘tapis’, the French for carpet.

Email this Post Email this Post

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

Leave a Comment