A Gift of Glory – Exhibiting the Tapestries at St John’s Co-Cathedral, to mark the finalisation of their Restoration
The St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation is delighted to announce that The Set of Tapestries will be exhibited at St John’s Co-Cathedral after an extensive restoration process that lasted 16 years at De Wit Laboratories in Belgium. The last time they were displayed was during Pope St John Paul II’s visit to Malta in 1990.
The set of tapestries was commissioned by Grand Master Ramon y Perellos upon his election in 1697. The set consists of 29 pieces depicting the Triumph of the Roman Catholic Church, scenes from the life of Christ and the twelve apostles. The majority of the tapestries were based on cartoons by the renowned artist Peter Paul Rubens and woven in Brussels by the weaver Judocus De Vos, their intricate design woven from wool and pure silk make them a true masterpiece of European art.
The restoration process was complex and very time consuming because over time their condition deteriorated causing several open seams and loss of the silk treads. The project was carried out by a team of experts at De Wit Royal Manufacturers in Belgium. The tapestries were carefully cleaned and repaired, and the original colours and designs were restored to their former glory. The restoration process was funded by the St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of this unique UNESCO World Heritage site. The majority of the tapestries measure 6.2 x 6.5m making this set of 750m2 the largest antique set in the world.
The tapestries, which will be hung in the Main Nave of the St John’s Co-Cathedral, will be displayed between 5 May and 24 June 2023. This is a rare opportunity for visitors to see these magnificent tapestries and appreciate their beauty, historical and religious significance. The exhibition, which will attract art enthusiasts from all over the world, will undoubtedly be a highlight of the cultural calendar in Malta. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the St John’s Co-Cathedral to experience this unique cultural event.
The set of Tapestries was last displayed in the Church during Pope St John Paul II’s gathering with clergy and religious of Malta, on 25 May 1990.
– Courtesy DOI Malta