This weekend, I will be departing on a magical mystery tour of Brittany. One of the main things on my list is the Bayeux Tapestry; I first saw it when I was maybe seven or eight, I don’t remember, but I’ve never quite forgotten it. I do however add it to the list of the material things and experiences which made me a medievalist years later.
This trip has been a year in the planning, or at least in the dreaming. My determination to see the Bayeux Tapestry was strengthened by the news that the designer may have been identified. Dr Howard B. Clarke, then Emeritus Professor of Medieval Socio-economic History at University College Dublin , suggested that Abbot Scolland, a senior monk at Mont St. Michel, was the designer. The full paper is available in hard copy in vol. 35 of Anglo-Norman Studies, which contains the proceedings of the 2012 Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies, published by Boydell and Brewer. Dr Clarke’s paper was entitled ‘The identity of the designer of the Bayeux Tapestry’. As academic, librarian, and tourist, any small development in the history and provenance of the wonderful embroidery that is the Bayeux Tapestry is undeniably exciting, bringing the story of the work into prominence once again. To me, the point of the Bayeux Tapestry is to see the life in the stories and characters it shows.