Bayeux Lace

16 May 2013

Golly, but I've been getting a heinous amount of spam and a lot of it has not been caught by the filter!  Seems my post on an Alternative Tour of London has attracted all sorts of dodgy interest.  Anonymous of Thailand, USA, Malaysia etc.  You know who you are!  Now go away!

Meanwhile, back to Bayeux.

No more on the Tapestry but instead a quick mention of the town museum and the other textile link - lace (or  dentelle in French).

I feel a bit of a connection with 19th Century Lace, simply because my 'home from home' is in the heart of a lace making centre focused around Olney (which itself has a lovely lace museum.)  And I re-discovered that lace makers from Normandy settled in Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire around 1685 following religious persecution.

The MAHB museum in Bayeux is worth a visit if you are in the town.  It is housed in the former Dean's House near the cathedral (everything is very centrally located - you can do it all on foot!)

There is a lot covered in the museum (pre-roman, Roman, medieval etc.) but there are also a couple of lovely galleries dedicated to lace.

There is a fine selection of lace ribbon or edging.

Some amazing larger shawls - this is one.  In fact it would have been made in strips which experts then joined together, but you cannot see the join.

And collars.  The one at the back looking turquoise in the photo is actually still mounted on it's pattern paper.

And there are cabinets stacked full of the pattern papers.  I am no lace maker, but I understand that the papers were put over the cushion to mark out where the pins would go to create the pattern.  The process is a wonder.

And finally, the museum also has a collection of pictures.  Most were typical oils of notable local dignitaries through the ages but I also found this.

This is a three dimensional mixed media piece showing 2 fishwives having a bit of a blarney.  The background was painted on card and the bodies and faces made with scaps of textiles.  I love it!  No mention of who did it and I think it is just over 100 years old, but fabulous.

A final post script - I have never met so many Canadians and Americans before in one place.  Bayeux is a place of pilgrimage I now realise because of the Normandy Beaches which are only a few miles away. Many seem to just do the beaches which have fabulous museums, but I know that a few readers of this blog do live across the Pond, so if you are planning to do the Beaches then I urge you to find time to appreciate the textile treasures as well.


  1. A lovely blog H thank you for your comments on mine. Been 'off' for a while, not sure why, but love to read others. Working up some inspiration at the moment. Take care Jxx

    1. Hello Jan. how's the inspiration coming? I've got lots of it but a bit lacking on time. Today though is a day for action! And not procrastination!


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