Rye News was invited to attend the preview of an extraordinary exhibition in Hastings, in the crypt of St Mary in the Castle in Pelham Arcade – a very appropriate setting for the many mosaic panels which show a complete recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry.
That tapestry tells the story of the battle fought 950 years ago by William the Conqueror and Harold, Earl Of Wessex, in 1066 at nearby Battle which led to the Norman Conquest of Saxon England . The Victorian Replica of the tapestry can be viewed at Reading Museum.
Hastings Council has brought this modern (2004) version of the historic tapestry , along with additional information on what happened before and after, to Hastings to celebrate the 950th anniversary of the battle – and it is just one of many events celebrating the anniversary during 2016 which are attracting visitors to Hastings, Battle, Rye and the surrounding area. This particular event is on until October 28 and is open 10m to 5pm Monday to Saturday.
The pictures in the panels at the Hastings exhibition are created out of three million tiny pieces of steel, taken from an old knitting machine, each about 7sq mm. I was shown an individual piece, and it is minute. After creating the mosaic with these minuscule steel pieces, Michael Linton with the help of his daughter Rachael, painted each bit, the necessary colour, separately with a very, very small brush.
This exhibition of these wonderful panels, telling the story of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, is the first in Europe, in fact it’s the first time the panels have been shown outside New Zealand where the creator and his daughter live.
Michael Linton was available at the preview to answer the many questions some of us had and was, deservedly, very proud of their work.
The piece won a Guinness World Record for the largest steel mosaic.
Just as I was leaving local MP Amber Rudd arrived with her minders (as she is now Home Secretary and could be a terrorist target) which Michael appreciated and happily explained again how he created this amazing art work.
There is so much to know about the actual history, why and how he and his daughter came to be so passionate about the 1066 Battle of Hastings and the details of their technique. Rather than get it wrong I would suggest anyone interested to go to Michaels’ website which is an interesting read. I would also urge people to go and see the panels, a totally unique and one off work of art or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Heidi Foster
Image Credits: Heidi Foster .