madder plant

 Recording the events of September 1066
raven sketch

Find out about the battle of Fulford

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Use of Colour


The battle of Fulford website


Panel 1 - Scarborough


  Panel 2 - Rampage through Holderness


  Panel 3 - Preparing for battle


Panel 4 -Confrontation


Panel 5 - Outflanking at the ford  


Panel 6 - King Harald enters York

Visiting Fulford

Map York

You can explore the stages in the design process:

Individual sketches

After much research, the components of the design were assembled. An explanation of each image can be found in the story for each panel. Many of the images began with the tracing and this was then adjusted and amended freehand to adapt the image to the intended use. This derivative process is explored further when the rules of iconography are discussed.  

The target was to produce one image per evening and around 120 sketches were used.  

Assembling the images

The possibility of supplying the tapestry as a set of images for the embroiderers to position on the linen was considered. During the research sessions it became clear that the individual images would have to be assembled onto a single roll of paper to ensure that all of the images appeared in the right place. This allowed much more control of the composition.

The borders and bars were applied first when the image was assembled on a computer. The images were scanned and scaled before being  put into their position using a numbered sketch of the whole tapestry. Once all of the central images were in place, several characters had to be adjusted or new images prepared to fit the balance of each panel. As a result about 20 images were either removed or redrawn.   

The credit for this must go to John Hall at Reprotech Studios in York who patiently pieced the jig-saw together.  

The line-sketch from the first 3 panels was used to markup the linen to get the work started before the work on the central panels was completed. At this stage, the sketch had the main figures but only a few of the marginal images and none of the embellishments in place. The images that surround the main panels are there to support and provide context for the central images. So it made sense to compose the marginalia after the story-panels were completed. The paper used was an industrial grade, tracing paper.

The complete, coloured version

Then the image was completed and a coloured version was prepared at 100% scale to give an idea of how the finished tapestry would look. A background texture was applied to this image and then the individual pixels were coloured using Adobe Illustrator. The image was printed onto a reinforced plastic material that is used for outdoor banners. This allows it to be used during shows but has proved very useful to the embroiderers when choosing colours and sometimes for tracing the images.

Fulford tapestry BBC The full-sized, coloured design was unveiled on radio! It was one of the guests on Libby Purvis' Midweek programme on BBC Radio 4.



Transferring the image to the cloth

The traditional method was known as 'prick and pounce' - The outline of an image on the paper is pricked with a pin to make a set of holes. A 'pounce' which is a open-weave cloth filled with powdered charcoal is then dabbed onto the pricked paper design and some charcoal dust should fall through the holes and onto the cloth. One experiment with this method was enough to convince me that it was much too messy and not very accurate.

Instead, a light-box was built that would fit under the frame and with the paper. A special pen was used to mark the cloth. These pens fade naturally so only a small section was done at a time. The choice of colours to use.


Finished panels

  1. Scarborough

  2. Rampage through Holderness

  3. Preparing for battle

  4. Confrontation

  5. Outflanking at the ford  

  6. King Harald enters York


More about the iconography and design

bulletPanel 1
bulletPanel 2
bulletPanel 3
bulletPanel 4
bulletPanel 5
bulletPanel 6
Look at the sections
bulletPart 1  
bullet Part 2  
bullet Part 3  
bullet Part 4  
bullet Part 5


bulletThe marginal images and story
bulletThe use and relevance of colour
bulletBar, tents and decorations

Read about the battle that inspired the tapestry

Panel 1 from the coloured design

The author of the content is Charles Jones -

Supported with lottery funding from:


launched May 2012

last updated Dec 2012

Panel 6 from the original sketch

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