The French presidency said Wednesday that it was in talks to loan the Bayeux Tapestry to Britain, but that the 11th-century embroidery would not be transferred before 2020.
French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce the proposed loan of the tapestry, which depicts the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, during a visit to Britain on Thursday.
The 70-metre-long (230 feet) artwork has rarely been moved from the museum in the northern Normandy city of Bayeux. It was displayed in Paris in 1804 and again briefly at the Louvre in 1945.
An official in Macron’s office said “it will not be before 2020 because it’s an extremely fragile cultural treasure which will be subject to major restoration work before being transported anywhere.”
The Bayeux tapestry, which dates from around 1077, depicts the Battle of Hastings in 1066 when William the Conqueror from France defeated English forces at the Battle of Hastings.
The Times reported earlier that preparations for the relocation were under way following months of discussions between cultural officials in both countries, but it is contingent on tests showing the embroidery can be moved safely.
No decision has been made about where it would be displayed during the loan, The Times said, citing British officials.
Macron will hold talks with May at a Britain-France summit at Sandhurst, a British military academy, later this week, with cooperation on various issues set to be discussed.
Source: News Agencies