Credit: Courtesy Musée de Bayeux
Bayeux Tapestry will return to Britain in 2022 — after 950 years
The Bayeux Tapestry will go on display in the UK in 2022, it has been announced. The landmark agreement means that the artwork will leave France for the first time in 950 years.
Depicting the Battle of Hastings and the events leading up to William the Conqueror's conquest of England in 1066, the embroidery features a series of 20-inch-tall linen panels. Although some scholars believe that it was created in England, the artifact has been housed in Normandy, northern France, ever since.
The loan was first touted ahead of a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May in January. It was confirmed yesterday via a memorandum of understanding signed by the UK's culture secretary Matt Hancock and his French counterpart, Françoise Nyssen.
The agreement will also see experts from both countries collaborate on a "full English translation" of the artwork's text.
"The Bayeux Tapestry is a world treasure and a symbol of the deep ties between Britain and France," Hancock said in a press statement.
"This agreement takes us a step closer to bringing the Tapestry to our shores for the first time in almost a millennium. It also underlines the ongoing commitment from both nations for greater cultural, digital and scientific collaboration now and into the future."
The 225-foot-long artwork is currently on show at the Bayeux Museum, which will be undergoing refurbishment in 2022. It is yet to be announced where in the UK the item will be exhibited.
The Bayeux Tapestry has only twice been displayed outside Normandy -- once when Napoleon ordered it to be shown in Paris as he plotted to invade England, and again in 1944, when the Gestapo took it to the Louvre during the Nazi occupation of France.
A museum in the British town of Reading carries a full-size copy of the artwork. But attempts to bring the real artifact to the UK -- for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and for the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings 13 years later -- have proven unsuccessful until now.