Michael Linton's Bayeux Tapestry: 1066 - A Medieval Mosaic and Puzzles
The Medieval Mosaic
The Recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry, as a 34 metre Medieval Mosaic Masterpiece.
This complete re-creation of the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the Battle of Hastings in 1066, was created out of 1,500,000 pieces of spring steel. The tiny pieces of steel, which have an area approximately 7 square millimetres, are the off-cuts from a patterning disk used on a very large industrial knitting machine. There are 72 teeth on each disk.
The first stage of the project was to break off the teeth from these disks, one at a time, until the required 1,500,000 pieces had been collected.
The second stage of the construction could now begin. That is, the task of sticking all the pieces down. The pieces are all stuck down onto masking tape. Many years were spent constructing the metal canvas until finally 34 metres had been assembled.
Stage three, the colouring of the background could now commence. A method had to be found of colouring the white masking tape black, but without colouring the surface of the metal. After much experimentation a solution was found. Shoe Polish. Dozens of tins of shoe polish were applied to the surface of the metal in order to colour the background black. The only effect the polish had on the metal surface was to make it shine.
Stage four was to prepare a paper drawing of the entire length of the tapestry at full scale to ensure that everything was in the correct place and fitted into the 34 metres feet before painting could commence.
Stage five. The picture was then drawn in faint outline onto the metal surface. This outline was then painted over with enamel paint and the detail and colour finally added. Each colour was applied one at a time across the entire picture. By the end of the first year of painting the colour silver was finally finished. It was then back to the beginning to start the colour gold. Close to two years were spent completing the gold. A further year was spent completing the colour red. Eight colours in all are used to be in keeping with the original tapestry.
A very fine OO nylon paint brush was used to carry out the painting. This brush allowed for the pieces to be painted one piece at a time, thus avoiding filling the background with paint. At no time during the painting was any contact made with the surface of the metal. A sliding glass plate was mounted half an inch above the picture which allowed for the painting to continue over the top of wet paint. It also avoided hand contact with the metal which could have resulted in surface rust. The final stage was to apply two coats of polyurethane varnish.
This labour of love has single-handedly taken Michael 20 years to complete. It was started in 1979 and was finally completed in 1999. The mosaic measures 33.8 metres and weights approximately 230 kilograms.