Bayeux tapestry: How will it get to the UK?

France’s Bayeux Tapestry could be making a return to England, after President Emmanuel Macron agreed to let the artwork leave the country for the first time since the 11th century.

Elysée officials have said that checks must be made to ensure the tapestry is robust enough to send overseas. Whoever ships the 950 year-old tapestry will have a logistical task of historic proportions on their hands.

In its lifetime, the 230 foot-long tapestry has undergone 512 repairs of an exquisitely delicate nature. Composed of 160 different threads including wool, linen and hemp, its vibrant colours are the product of natural compounds used in plant dyes typical of the Middle Ages.

These ageing pigments, along with the sensitive nature of the fabric, are just some of the reasons why the tapestry must be transported in a controlled environment with precise levels of humidity, temperature, and light. Security is, of course, vital.

IAG Cargo’s custom-built vaults offer advanced security with witness loading, advanced tracking technology and experienced security teams on hand to monitor consignments at all times. Our service has been used to ship everything from ancient South African rock art to surrealist paintings at the National Gallery.

Discussions about the tapestry’s logistical route might be a while away  – if the loan goes ahead, it will likely take place after 2020 – but IAG Cargo’s Secure product offers the expertise and facility to deliver the UK-bound masterpiece in the best possible condition.