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the longest steel mosaic in the World

The longest steel mosaic in the world according to the Guiness Book of Records

1066: A Medieval Mosaic

Father and daughter team, Michael and Rachael Linton, want to take 1066: A Medieval Mosaic on tour throughout the United Kingdom,  exhibiting in art galleries, museums, castles, churches, cathedrals, universities or other appropriate venues for the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings – and they’re starting with an exhibition from August to October 2016 in the Crypt of St Mary in the Castle, Hastings, writes Chris Cormack.

Crowning William - extra parts of story added by Michael and Rachael

Crowning William – extra parts of story added by Michael and Rachael

Comprising 3,000,000 pieces of spring steel, the Medieval Mosaic holds the Guinness World Record as the largest steel mosaic. The artwork, measuring 64 metres in length and weighing 450kg, is a complete re-creation of the Bayeux Tapestry and was created over a period of 20 years by Michael Linton. In addition to the original scenes captured in the Bayeux Tapestry, Michael and Rachael have combined their talents to create the untold stories of 1066. An eight-metre ‘Finale’ section, taking five years to research and complete, tells the story from the end of the Battle of Hastings to the crowning of William the Conqueror on Christmas Day 1066. All the scenes can be viewed here.

Michael and Rachael spent eight years researching historical and contemporary literature on every aspect of 11th century history in order to draw a truthful depiction of the events preceding the Norman conquest of England. This has led to Michael Linton becoming one of the world’s most educated historians on 11th- century medieval history.

Rachael Linton researched the design style to match the Bayeux tapestry and studied the illuminated manuscripts and iconography of the time. Michael researched the written stories and documentation of medieval records. As a period piece, it was important that the extension depict the people, events and culture accurately, while maintaining the appropriate artistic style, colour and composition of the original tapestry.

Michael with his Guiness Book of Records award

Michael with his Guiness Book of Records award

Whilst Rachael meticulously designed the artwork, it was Michael’s task to prepare the  section of 3,000,000 steel pieces on which the mosaic was to be painted. Perhaps the crowning achievement of the extension is that only an expert can tell where the original artwork ends and the new one begins.

Michael and Rachael’s Medieval Mosaic has been on display in Geraldine, New Zealand, since October 2001. Michael gives daily talks on the construction and history of the mosaic, now an increasingly popular destination for tour groups and school visits, as well as for visitors from all over the world.

A Tripadviser commentator wrote: “What a find this place was! Having seen the original Bayeux Tapestry in Bayeux, I was keen to check out this mosaic when we were passing through Geraldine recently. We popped in and were blown away, not only by the work of art, but the very personable mosaic’s creator, Michael, who spent a good 20 minutes or more explaining it all to us. This was totally unexpected and added to our knowledge of the tapestry. The mosaic, made from the tiny teeth of industrial knitting machines, took Michael almost 20 years to complete. The original tapestry has a few panels missing, but Michael researched it and created his own panels to complete the tapestry, adding another five metres.”

The new Stamford Bridge section provides more background to the story, being a 22-metre insert, which took a further eight years to complete, adding the stories of the Battles of Fulford Gate and Stamford Bridge which preceded the Battle of Hastings.

The Battles of Fulford Gate and Stamford Bridge

Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, arrived in England on 8 September 1066 and made his way from Riccal, a village situated in the Selby district of North Yorkshire, up to York. On the outskirts of York, Hardrada was confronted by the Earls of Northumberland and their armies. The Battle of Fulford Gate ensued and Hardrada emerged the victor.

Having heard of the Norwegian landing, King Harold led a forced march from London to York, arriving in York in a matter of days. The Norwegian army was taken completely by surprise and after the Battle of Stamford Bridge, the remnants of Hardrada’s army departed the English shores.

To supplement the mosaic, Michael’s extensive research has been compiled into an interactive DVD-ROM that describes the full original artwork and its meaning. It contains a wealth of information including full-text books, genealogy, heraldry, castles, weapons, tartans, humorous verse, talking books, maps, astronomy, Latin text and Brass rubbings as well as Michael’s Magic Cube and Tri-Alphametic Puzzles.


1066: Medieval Mosaic: August to October 2016 in the Crypt at St Mary in the Castle, Hastings.

Posted 11:04 Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016 In: Arts News

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