Artists and authors often look to the Middle Ages for inspiration. Both history and legend offer brave knights, epic battles, and castles full of royalty. Now, anyone can create their own medieval-style storyboards, greeting cards, or memes using an online application known as the Historic Tale Construction Kit. Created by a team of programmers (Leonard Allain-Launay, Mathieu Thoretton, Maria Cosmina Etegan), the site allows users to digitally recombine the dramatic lettering and images seen in medieval tapestries to create their own, new image. (The functionality is similar to that of meme generators from the 2000s, which allowed users to comb through images and apply their own text to create their own memes.)
The new iteration of the Historic Tale Construction Kit draws its elements—beasts, buildings, and folks—from the embroidery of the famous Bayeux Tapestry, which resides at the Bayeux Museum in Normandy, France. The physical tapestry is 224 feet long and 20 inches wide. Historians believe Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, commissioned the work upon the consecration in 1077 of his new cathedral. It depicts the victory over England of his half-brother William the Conqueror, the first Norman king of England.
The functions of the Kit allow for maximum creativity. The code is public for those who wish to elaborate on the program, which we took the liberty of doing. In fact, the J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired “tapestries” seen in this post are all user generated. The text and images match beautifully as Tolkien himself drew from medieval history to create the characters and storylines of The Lord of the Rings. Even so, it should be noted that medieval fonts can lend themselves to more modern themes or perhaps to visualize the words of your favorite modern poet.
Thankfully, the physical tapestry has survived both the French Revolution and the Nazi occupation of France. Now, this new online Historic Tale Construction Kit allows another generation to experience the tapestry, learn some history, and follow their own medieval muse.
You can now create your own digital tapestry using the Historic Tale Construction Kit.
The interactive website allows users to customize elements found in the Bayeux Tapestry—including beasts, buildings, and folks.