Portsmouth welcomes the announcement by President Macron about the Bayeux Tapestry being loaned to the UK for temporary exhibition in 2020.
The announcement comes ahead of the D-Day Story opening in spring which will have at the heart of its iconic collection the historic 83-metre Overlord Embroidery to commemorate the 1944 D-Day landings - which was inspired by the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry.
The Overlord Embroidery is an art textile documenting the Allied liberation, codename Overlord. It was commissioned in 1963 by Lord Dulverton of Batsford who served in the British army in WW2 to commemorate D-Day (the Allied landings to liberate occupied France, on 6 June 1944) and the subsequent Battle of Normandy (through to the end of August 1944).
Lord Dulverton was partly inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry which tells the story of an earlier cross-Channel invasion - though in the opposite direction. The Overlord Embroidery is 14.5 metres longer than its cross channel cousin The Bayeux Tapestry which is 68m long.
The Overlord Embroidery was designed by artist, Sandra Lawrence, and took 25 highly skilled embroiderers from the Royal School of Needlework four years to complete between 1968 and 1974. The work consists of 34 panels each 8ft x 3ft (approximately 1m x 2.5m and is the largest embroidery of its kind.
The D-Day Story will open in Portsmouth before Easter containing many exhibits not previously displayed to the public featuring the words and perspectives of those involved from a military and civilian viewpoint .
Councillor Linda Symes, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, Portsmouth City Council said: “We're delighted at the announcement that the Bayeux Tapestry will be on loan to the UK in the future. We'd love the opportunity to showcase it and have written to Prime Minister to ask if we could host it. Our own Overlord Embroidery visually tells the story of D-Day, ensuring that this historically significance event is aesthetically captured for many generations to come - much like the Bayeux Tapestry."