In response to one of my articles posted in early February, I received a phone call from David Sanderson, Arts Correspondent of The Times in London. He was writing an article about the Hastings Embroideries which is being published today, March 8, 2018.
The Times – Free to a good home… the Hastings Embroidery, rival to Bayeux Tapestry, will be given away – By David Sanderson
The Borough of Hastings are offering the Hastings Embroideries FREE to a good home. That is, to a home that has space and can preserve them properly for the nation. Yes, I would love to have them but our apartment is already full of us. This is a great and exciting offer and I hope that these glorious and historic embroideries will find a permanent home somewhere in Britain.
It was a pleasure to have a conversation with David and to know that the search is now official. The article as published is very brief. The articulate voice of public opinion is needed to locate a new home for these magnificent embroideries that tell the history of Britain.
To add my voice, I am reprinting my original article. Please spread this around. Permission is given for reprinting this article. Please include an attribute to this author.
Go for it – stitchers and historians.
The Hastings Embroideries were commissioned by Group Captain Ralph Ward, or, the County Borough of Hastings. It was made by the Royal School of Needlework in 1965 to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1966. It consists of 27 panels, each 9′ – 3′ and shows 81 great events in British history that occurred during the 900 years between 1066 and 1966. It took 22 embroiderers 10 months to complete.
Apologies for the quality of these photos. Screen shots do not give the best reproduction.
This is the first panel and shows King William being crowned at Westminster Abbey. Crowd control was necessary as the Saxon inhabitants were not happy with his take over of England. He built a lot of castles/fortresses including the Tower of London.
The Hastings Embroidery was stitched before the Overlord Embroidery (1968-69 -70 approx), and is also worked in applique. It uses antique fabrics, modern fabrics, cord, thread, leather and some feathers contributed by the parrots at the London Zoo. I have no information on the designer. It is bright/vivid/colourful and vibrant.
It was given to the town/city of Hastings who currently have two panels on display in the Town Hall. The first picture above is one of these.
Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales
This enormous historical embroidery needs to be displayed in a building that is climate controlled such as the one in which the Bayeux Tapestry is displayed. The Overlord will also be displayed in a climate controlled environment when the Portsmouth Museum reopens the gallery later in 2018.
Hastings says that it is unable to afford a suitable building for this and has been saying so for the last 52 years.
In reality, this is a National Treasure and should be hung in an environment that is part of the British National Heritage. I am thinking of London Museums such as the Victoria and Albert or the British Museum. Maybe there is a suitable venue for it in Windsor? Is there space in Hampton Court Palace which is also the location of the Royal School of Needlework.
Or, could a new building be located in the area of Hastings or Battle become its permanent home.
It is a dramatic and a graphic lesson on British history.
The Hundred Years War.
It would make a wonderful history teaching book both in the Coffee Table size and for School Libraries. For a publishing company, it would be a great marketing tool and some profits could go to helping establish a permanent home for the panels. With young people already aware of the existence of these panels, it would be on the worthwhile outings list for every school.
Think about it world.
This is a national responsibility. It is a shame that it remains in storage (apparently in London) rather that being available for the public to see and enjoy. Maybe the upside of this is that it is stored in a climate controlled space and is not suffering deterioration.
King Henry VIII welcoming the King of France.
One of the final panels is of Sir Winston Churchill on the White Cliffs of Dover. This makes it a continuous narrative with the Overlord Embroidery. His right hand is making his famous salute and his left hand holds a cigar.
You will be delighted when you see the real embroideries after being introduced to them via these photos.
A 45 minute film of the complete Hastings embroidery can be viewed at The Hastings Embroidery.
It is worth the time to view it.
Feel free to forward the link to this series to friends and other interested persons. That is, including publishing companies.
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