The conclusion of 16 years of restoration work on the set of the 300-year old 29 tapestries for St John’s Co-Cathedral will be commemorated with a unique opportunity for the public.
For a month and a half from the beginning of next month, the full set of hanging tapestries at the Co-Cathdral can be admired by the public for their artistic masterpiece with a religious significance. Preparations for this occasion are at an advanced stage.
he last occasion when the tapestries were hanged on the Co-Cathedral walls was in May 1990 when Pope John Paul II visited St John’s Co-Cathedral.
With a history of 300 years, damage on the tapestries was evident on their wool and silk, damage caused through light and the UV rays.
Preparations are currently underway at the Co-Cathedral for the mounting of the full tapestries set to be exhibited for a month and a half…..an occasion with the tapestries which will be exhibited for the first time following their restoration.
The St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation chief executive, Tonio Mallia, said the hanging system of the tapestries had to be slightly changed as a result of the restoration.
The tapestries set, which was a gift by Grand Master Ramon y Perellos to the Order’s Conventual Church, were woven in Brussels and arrived in Malta in 1702. The Co-Cathedral’s curator Cynthia Degiorgio, said that the full set contains 29 masterpieces that together measure 870 square metres. During the Order’s time, they were hanged inside the Co-Cathedral for the feast of Corpus Christi and remain there till the feast of St John the Baptist on 24 June.
The tapestries restoration was carried out by an expert team in the De Wit laboratories in Belgium. Ms Degiorgio stated that the restoration process, mostly on the pure wool and silk, was long because of the tapestries size and the cleansing operation with special equipment.
The public exhibition of the tapestries from 5 May till 24 June will also be the first time that the tapestries will be exhibited after their restoration in a process that lasted 16 years at a cost of €1.3 million euro for the Foundation.