The Overlord Embroidery is the story of the D-Day invasion of Normandy by Allied Forces on 6 June, 1944. Commissioned by Lord Dulverton in 1968 and completed in 1974, it was designed by artist Sandra Lawrence. The 34 panels measure 83 metres (272 feet) in length making this one of the largest works of its kind in the world. This is a big embroidery! Each panel is each 2.4 meters long and 0.9 meters deep. The image is bought to life using appliqué and hand embroidery. It was worked by a team of embroiderers at the Royal School of Needlework using traditional methods.
The embroidery is now housed at the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth. On The D-Day Story Portsmouth site you can see some of the panels and read an article on how the embroidery was made. Over 50 different fabrics were used in the Overlord Embroidery, including pieces from uniforms.
Usually when people think of embroidery as a craft associated with the domestic, the personal and the intimate. We think of small hand held items that evoke memories. Or items used in domestic settings that become associated with family events. Many textile artists explore the themes of personal and family memories via thread and fabric. Only a few have tackled stories of the Big moments of history. The Overlord Embroidery is an example of a textile on a large scale, recording large scale events.
The D-Day Story is one of six museums run by Portsmouth Museums. It holds over 10,000 items that tell the story of D-Day. The D-Day Story was shortlisted for the European Museum of the Year Award 2019.
This video is a rather old fashioned news item covering the making and display of the Overlord Embroidery.
Women in the D-Day Museum: The Overlord Embroidery is a video produced by the
The D-Day Story, Portsmouth to tell the story of the women behind the creation of the Piece.
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