The Bayeux Tapestry is a famous narrative embroidery (a medieval comic strip) that tells the story of the Battle of Hastings. To mark the 950th anniversary of the battle, English Heritage has teamed up with illustrator Liz Pichon to create a sequel to the Bayeux Tapestry, this time showing the Top 10 Moments from History as chosen by children.
The events, which were selected by schoolchildren around the country, start with the Norman invasion of 1066 and end with Tim Berners-Lee and the creation of the worldwide web in 1989. Along the way they take in the signing of the Magna Carta, the Black Death, the Wars of the Roses, the birth of Shakespeare, the Gunpowder Plot, the Battle of Waterloo, the reign of Queen Victoria and VE Day in Europe.
Liz Pichon is the much-loved children’s author behind the bestselling Tom Gates series. Based on real life funny stories that happened to Liz when she was at school, Tom Gates has been translated into 40 languages so kids all over the world can enter his world! The first book in the series won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the Waterstones’ Prize for Best Fiction for 5-12 year olds.
Readers of Pichon’s books will recognise elements of Tom Gates in the new work. Along with the familiar vivid colours and black and white doodlings.
“I tried to look at the serious history side and imagine what the extra bits of humour might be,” she said.
But there was a challenge in balancing humour with tragedy. “The Bayeux tapestry is filled with death and destruction; there are loads of people being stabbed and arrowed and lots of dead people all over the place. I thought that in such an iconic piece you want an element of that but I didn’t want dead bodies strewn around everywhere.
“I didn’t want it to be that gruesome, so I’ve done it in a kind of Tom and Jerry way, where you only see people’s feet. There’s William in the middle being victorious, and there are lots of people’s feet and arms in different positions.”
But even in the darkest moments in history, Pichon finds the sort of humour that has won her millions of fans. “Underneath the battlefields I imagined there would be creatures such as bunnies wondering what was going on so I’ve added those as well.”
The Kids’ Tapestry is touring the country this summer where you can see it up close at sites like Osborne on the Isle of Wight and Birdoswald Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall.
The Kids’ Tapestry isn’t finished yet – it’s missing one final panel and English Heritage are on the hunt for a budding artist and history fan to complete the tapestry this summer.
They are calling on children to get creative and send them their drawing of Tim Berners-Lee inventing the World Wide Web.
They will pick one lucky winner whose artwork will complete The Kids’ Tapestry. Entries must be received no later than 30th September 2016 to be considered, DOWNLOAD the application form here.
There is an interesting behind the scenes with Liz Pichon explaining how she made the top moments from history come to life in a modern day tapestry.
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