Art Lovers in England, Rejoice: France's Famous Bayeux Tapestry is Coming to the UK

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

One of France’s most prized national treasures, the Bayeux Tapestry, is officially heading to England for exhibition. The loan will mark the first time the fragile 11th century work has left France in nearly 1000 years, according to The Washington Post.

French president Emmanuel Macron announced news of the loan in mid-January, viewed by some as a gesture to smooth post-Brexit relations with Britain, ABC reports. The tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, a historically important event replete with guts and glory.

Stretching for 210 feet, the Bayeux Tapestry’s nine embroidered panels tell the tale of Harold, Earl of Wessex, who swore an oath to support the right of William, Duke of Normandy, to the English throne once King Edward (a.k.a. Edward the Confessor) died without an heir. But after Edward's funeral at Westminster Abbey, Harold breaks his oath to William so he could be crowned king instead. Believing he was the rightful ruler, William—today remembered as William the Conqueror—decides to wage war and ultimately defeats Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

The historical narrative has endured for centuries, but the tapestry's provenance has been lost to time. Experts think that the artwork may have been created in England, shortly after the Battle of Hastings, although it’s unclear who designed and embroidered the scenes. Its original owner, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, the half-brother of William the Conqueror, may have commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry. He became Earl of Kent after the Battle of Hastings, and this new title would have afforded him access to skilled artisans, The Guardian explains.

The Bayeux Tapestry is currently on display in the town of Bayeux in Normandy. It likely won’t leave France until 2020, after conservators ensure that it’s safe to move the artwork. According to The Telegraph, the tapestry might be be displayed at the British Museum in 2022.

[h/t The Washington Post]

10 Classy Coloring Pages You Can Print at Home

Museums and libraries are offering dozens of printable coloring pages for free.
Museums and libraries are offering dozens of printable coloring pages for free.
Lordn./iStock via Getty Images

The coronavirus quarantine hasn't been easy on anyone, but cultural institutions around the world have stepped up and offered virtual visits and activities to help home-bound people maintain sanity. Earlier this year, museums and libraries launched the fourth annual Color Our Collections initiative, offering printable coloring pages and adult coloring books of objects in their archives. Some are intricate and highly detailed; others are simple line drawings that invite creativity—so they're perfect for all ages. Here are a few of our favorite coloring pages that you can print at home right now.

1. Trinity Hall, Cambridge Printable Coloring Pages

Cambridge Trinity Library printable coloring pages
Cambridge Trinity Library // Public Domain

The five-page coloring book from Cambridge University's Trinity Hall library is worth downloading for this resplendent cat alone. You'll also get a challenging 15th-century drawing of Venice, a "many branched Tulip," and other designs.

Download it: PDF

2. Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens Printable Coloring Pages

Six pages of vintage art and design make up the coloring book from the Huntington Library in Southern California, a research institution focused on the humanities. Choose from a Suffragist magazine cover illustration, a traditional quilt pattern, a diagram depicting "the mechanics of arithmetic," and other pictures.

Download it: PDF

3. Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Printable Coloring Pages

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site printable coloring pages
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site // Public Domain

This coloring book comes from the Buffalo, New York, mansion where TR was sworn in as president following the assassination of William McKinley in 1901. Four pages, including a newspaper illustration of the inauguration ceremony, will delight die-hard Tedheads.

Download it: PDF

4. Biodiversity Heritage Library Printable Coloring Pages

The Biodiversity Heritage Library's coloring book features illustrations by female natural history artists on subjects ranging from shells to snakes to mushrooms. Each of the 10 pages offers a mini version of the real illustration, so you can choose to render a facsimile or go crazy with your colors.

Download it: PDF

5. Center for the History of Medicine Printable Coloring Pages

Harvard Center for the History of Medicine printable coloring pages
Center for the History of Medicine // Public Domain

Harvard University's Center for the History of Medicine produced a 10-page book of printable coloring pages featuring 19th-century anatomical illustrations and diagrams for obsolete medical treatments. Just what the doctor ordered!

Download it: PDF

6. Brunel University London Printable Coloring Pages

Named for the visionary 19th-century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, this university's coloring book offers four pages around the theme of the industrial revolution. An 1848 train locomotive dubbed "Little England" and a 1734 diagram of the solar system are highlights.

Download it: PDF

7. The Harley-Davidson Archives Printable Coloring Pages

Harley-Davidson Archives printable coloring pages
Harley-Davidson Archives // Public Domain

This surprisingly elegant three-page coloring book includes drawings of vintage motorcycles, such as a 1920 ad for Harley-Davidson's opposed twin Sport Model, the "Womans Out-Door Companion."

Download it: PDF

8. University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology Printable Coloring Pages

The creators of this coloring book have one goal: "to spread the love of spiders." Its 13 pages of original drawings will introduce you to Floridian fauna like the spiny-backed orb weaver, magnolia jumper, and ogre-faced spider.

Download it: PDF

9. Boston Athenaeum Printable Coloring Pages

Boston Athenaeum printable coloring pages
Boston Athenaeum // Public Domain

This three-page coloring book from the Boston Athenaeum, one of the country's oldest independent libraries, puts quality over quantity. Artists can choose between 16th-century sea monsters, a lovely botanical print, and a charming farmhouse scene.

Download it: PDF

10. The Royal Horticultural Society Libraries Printable Coloring Pages

Thirteen pages of historical gardening images await you in the Royal Horticultural Society's coloring book. A determined Victorian man in top hat and tails pushing a lawn mower, a family of cabbages, a guide to apples, and numerous plant drawings will keep colorers busy for hours.

Download it: PDF

7 of the World's Quirkiest Statues

The Jolly Green Giant looms over Blue Earth, Minnesota.
The Jolly Green Giant looms over Blue Earth, Minnesota.
Laurie Shaull, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Public sculpture can inspire, illuminate, and provoke curiosity. Look at the Lincoln Memorial or Auguste Rodin’s famed Thinker. But not all statues reach such lofty heights. Take a look at some monuments that stretch the boundaries of artistic expression.

1. Charles La Trobe // Melbourne, Australia

The Charles La Trobe statue in Melbourne, Australia is pictured
Charles La Trobe displays some inverted thinking.
Phil Lees, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Charles Joseph La Trobe was Victoria, Australia's first lieutenant governor, a post he held through 1854. La Trobe is celebrated for his efforts to bring the Royal Botanic Gardens, the State Library, and the Museum of Victoria to life. In 2004, sculptor Charles Robb debuted a sculpture of La Trobe at La Trobe University. The work is notable for being completely inverted, with La Trobe resting on his head. According to Robb, the point is that educational institutions should strive to turn ideas on their heads.

2. The Jolly Green Giant // Blue Earth, Minnesota

The Jolly Green Giant statue in Blue Earth, Minnesota is pictured
The Green Giant statue offers 55 feet of vegetable advocacy.
Laurie Shaull, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s rare that food mascots receive a 55-foot tall tribute, but this monument to the Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, Minnesota, proves to be an exception. The Giant, of Green Giant vegetables fame, was unveiled in 1979 after a campaign by radio station owner Paul Hedberg, who wanted to lure travelers into the town. Curiously, Green Giant (the company) didn’t offer to fund this enormous and permanent advertisement, which was constructed using donations from area businesses. Hedberg wanted to install a button that would emit a “Ho, ho, ho!” sound, but ran out of money.

3. Man Hanging Out // Prague, Czech Republic

The 'Man Hanging Out' statue in Prague is pictured
Sigmund Freud is left dangling.
Greger Ravik, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Artist David Cerny thought he had the ideal way to depict the warring psychological state of Sigmund Freud, the famed psychoanalyst who was born in Freiburg (now Příbor, Czech Republic). Cerny said the statue, which debuted in 1996 and remains on display in Old Town Prague, is intended to depict Freud as he weighs his options between life and death—whether to hold on or to let go. At various times, police and first responders have mistaken the sculpture for a suicide attempt.

4. Transcendence // Portland, Oregon

Salmon sculpture in Portland Oregon
Transcendence depicts a large salmon breaking through a brick wall.
mike krzeszak, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Walk near Southwest Salmon Street in Portland and you won’t be able to miss Transcendence, a sculpture of a salmon that appears to be breaking directly through the building where Southpark Seafood is located. The 11-foot long bronze fish was created by Keith Jellum and seems to capture the irreverent mood that defines Portland.

5. The Fork // Springfield, Missouri

The giant fork sculpture in Springfield, Missouri is pictured
The attention-grabbing fork of Springfield, Missouri.

At 35 feet tall and weighing 11 tons, Springfield’s immense fork is among the world’s largest utensils. The fork was initially constructed for a restaurant by ad agency Noble and Associates in the 1990s. When the restaurant closed, it was relocated to the agency’s building, which is also home to the Food Channel. A fork in Creede, Colorado, is 5 feet longer but a mere 600 pounds.

6. Viaje Fantástico // Havana, Cuba

Sculpture of a naked lady on a chicken
Viaje Fantastico is one of the world's weirdest sculptures.

Those who gaze upon Viaje Fantástico in Havana—which consists of a naked woman riding a chicken and wielding a fork—will have to find its meaning for themselves. Located in the city’s Plaza Vieja, the sculpture was installed in 2012 by artist Roberto Fabelo, who has yet to provide context for the piece. Because the woman is nude, some have speculated it might be a nod to Cuba’s history of prostitution. The fork and chicken could symbolize that she has sold her body for sustenance. We may never know for sure.

7. Boll Weevil Monument // Enterprise, Alabama

The Boll Weevil Monument in Enterprise, Alabama is pictured
The Boll Weevil Monument in Enterprise, Alabama.
Martin Lewison, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

This elegant ode to pestilence was erected in 1919 in honor of the boll weevil, an insect that destroyed cotton crops in the area. Why celebrate it? Farmers had to look to other crops like peanuts, which helped diversify the region’s agricultural economy. The statue, which is near the Depot Museum, is a replica of the original that was damaged by vandals in 1998.

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