Visual Storytelling - T. Benjamin Larsen's Blog
battle of hastings

Bayeux Tapestry

When it comes to classic examples of visual storytelling the Bayeux Tapestry is one of my absolute favourites. The tapestry depicts the Battle of Hastings where the Norman army led by William the Conquerer defeated King Harold's Saxon army. A truly defining moment in British history and one that among other things is largely responsible for the heavy latin influence in the English language. (Something to think about the next time you eat pork).

In the context of this blog I will naturally focus on the use of visuals to tell the story. Told sequentially from left to right with vivid imagery and latin inscriptions it is constructed surprisingly similar to modern day Comic Strips. It is rather ironic that while the Bayeux Tapestry is celebrated as a brilliant piece of medieval art, comic strips are still occasionally shunned upon as an art form.

If you are dreading the continuation of this post to be a dry step-by-step description of the actual tapestry you are in luck. As the tapestry itself was meant to be experienced visually I won't spoil it for you. Thanks to animator David Newton the story depicting a huge battle, Halley's Comet and the fate of a nation can now be experienced in a better way:

Purists might object but I think this is a really clever example of how to present an ancient piece of artwork to a contemporary audience.