Overlord Embroidery was built to commemorate the successful Allied Invasion of Normandy on this day, June 6th, in 1944.
This inspiring exhibition of 34 panels of embroidery are permanently housed at the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth which is currently undergoing a huge renovation. Each stunning panel is 8 feet long and 3 feet long and when lined up the panels measure a whopping 272 feet.
The piece was commissioned by the late Lord Dulverton. In a speech delivered on the 6th June 1978, he gave some insight as to why he had commissioned them in the first place.
“ The Embroidery is a tribute to our Country and Countrymen over the part played in defeating a great evil that sprang upon the Western World. It is not, and was never intended to be, a tribute to war, but to our people in whom it brought out in adversity so much that is good, determination, ingenuity, fortitude and sacrifice. It focusses upon one historic and explicitly important campaign, to which the world conflict had led and made possible; and the Bayeux Tapestry nearly 900 years before D-Day certainly beckoned it to be made.”
Sandra Lawrence was commissioned to design and paint the Cartoons for the Overlord Embroidery. The cartoons depict the story of the Allied invasion of Normandy on the 6th June 1944. The planning and historical detail of the Operation Overlord, from Britain’s darkest hour in 1940 to victory at the Battle of Normandy in August 1944. Once the paintings were approved, they were sent to the Royal School of Needlework to embroider.
It took four years and 25 highly skilled ladies to create this magnificent piece of art. The piece itself is the largest embroidery of its kind, 33 feet longer than the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry. The original Overlord Embroidery Paintings are displayed along the walls of one of the major thoroughfares in the Pentagon.
When the D-Day Museum reopens, there will be additional displays about how the Overlord Embroidery was designed and made, and the story that it tells, with completely new displays about D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, told through the stories of those who took part.