Artist recreates entire Bayeux Tapestry on a glass dish
It is already a marvel of craftsmanship, but now the Bayeux Tapestry has another breathtaking incarnation, after being painstakingly recreated in its entirety on a glass dish.
The stunning creation, by Somerset artist Frank Grenier, will form part of the Reflections On Glass exhibition by artists at Glastonbury Abbey from Friday.
Mr Grenier, who lives in North Cadbury, near Wincanton, has been engraving professionally for 20 years following a career as a submariner, after training at West Dean College, West Sussex, and then as a student of Simon Whistler, son of the famous glass engraver Lawrence Whistler.
The Bayeux Tapestry dish is a shallow crystal bowl blown by Neil Wilkin. The engraving shows all 58 panels of the medieval embroidery and took Mr Grenier six months to engrave. It includes an English description of each major event, from the departure of Harold of Wessex from the village of Bosham – a few miles from West Dean – to Normandy, up to the fleeing of English troops from the Battle of Hastings.
The embroidery, in which the tiny figure believed to be King Harold can be seen with a minute arrow in his eye, is just one of the remarkable pieces of engravings by Mr Grenier on display.
He said: “Through this variety of engraved glass pieces I hope to show some of the magic involved in the art form. Many subjects can be represented and they all depend on the effects of light on the engraved surface.”
Commissions he has completed include a large work commemorating the D-Day landings in Normandy which stands in the British Garden of Remembrance in Caen.
The timely exhibition follows research that revealed the abbey to have the earliest evidence for Anglo-Saxon glass-making in Britain.
Furnaces at the Abbey date to Saxon times and are likely to be associated with the rebuilding of the Abbey undertaken by King Ine of Wessex.
Fragments found are on display but the new exhibition will include newer creations and the work of Somerset artists Fabrizia Bazzo, Nina Gronw-Lewis, Rowan van der Holt and Sonja Klingler.