Wednesday, May 17, 2017

[443] Internationally renowned scholar explains historical fabric May 5 at MTSU

MURFREESBORO — An expert on one of the most famous pieces of material culture in the Western world will share her analysis of the historical artifact at MTSU.

“The Significance of the Bayeux Tapestry,” a presentation by Gale Owen-Crocker, is slated for 6 p.m. Friday, May 5, in Room 206 of Todd Hall on the MTSU campus.

Owen-Crocker, director of the Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, directs a five-year project titled “The Lexis of Cloth and Clothing.” Her chief research interests are Anglo-Saxon literature and culture and medieval dress and textiles.

She is co-founder and editor of the journal “Medieval Clothing and Textiles” and was chief editor of the “Brill Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles c. 450-1450.”

The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth measuring 20 inches in height and almost 200 feet in length. It depicts the 11th century conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy, in the Battle of Hastings, who defeated Harold, Earl of Wessex. It is believed to have been commissioned in the 1070s by William’s half-brother, Bishop Odo.

“Even though it documents the Norman Invasion of England in 1066, it wasn’t made in Normandy,” said Stacey Graham, research professor for MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation. “It was made in England.”

The linen embroidery with woolen yarns consists of scores of scenes from the conflict depicted in vibrant colors that have endured over time. It is labeled with Latin titles sewn into the fabric and is preserved under bulletproof glass at the Musee de la Tapisserie de Bayeux in Bayeux, Normandy, in France.

“Not only is it preserved, but mostly it is in such condition that you can read all the words,” said Graham. “There’s still so much detail about the clothes they wore, the weapons, the horses … You get a lot of really good detail about the culture.”

“The Significance of the Bayeux Tapestry” is sponsored by the Center for Historic Preservation and is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the center at 615-898-2947 or

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