Where should the Bayeux Tapestry be displayed if it comes to the UK? - Museums Association

Where should the Bayeux Tapestry be displayed if it comes to the UK?

Three British institutions vie to host medieval artwork
Profile image for Geraldine Kendall Adams
Geraldine Kendall Adams
A bidding war is heating up between three British institutions over the right to display the Bayeux Tapestry if it comes to the UK.

The epic medieval tapestry, which depicts events leading to the Battle of Hastings and death of Harold II in 1066, was offered on loan to Britain by the French president Emmanuel Macron in January.

Subject to tests confirming that it is safe to travel, the tapestry could be sent to the UK in 2022 while its regular home in northern France, the Bayeux Museum, is closed for renovation.

The British Museum was quick off the mark following Macron’s offer, with its director Hartwig Fischer declaring that the museum would be “honoured and delighted” if it was chosen to display the legendary 68 metre-long embroidery.

But a number of rival claims have since emerged. According to reports, English Heritage is exploring a bid to display the artwork in a temporary building at its Battle Abbey site in Sussex, which lies at the heart of the bloody events depicted by the tapestry.
Rowena Willard-Wright, a senior curator at the organisation, told the Guardian: “The problem for the British Museum is what you might call the Tutankhamun effect: people end up queuing all the way into Russell Square. If people have to queue, where better than the Sussex countryside?”

Meanwhile Historic Royal Palaces may also be planning to throw its hat into the ring. A spokeswoman from the institution told the Times last week that, as one of the most visible remaining symbols of the Norman conquest, the Tower of London would be an ideal venue to showcase the tapestry.

The tapestry is believed to have been created in England, but has not left France for 950 years. 

Which British venue would be best placed to display the Bayeux Tapestry? Vote in our Twitter poll or share your thoughts in the comments below.

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