Museum – Main hall

Up the stairs, the main hall is dominated by the Bishop’s Landau built by Nurse and Company of London in the 1860s [31].

In the adjacent showcase, one can admire a tabernacle canopy of local cotton [32], a Flemish tapestry baldacchino (early eighteenth century) [33], and a green umbrella, formerly used to shield the bishop from the sun during processions held in the morning [34]. Inside the same showcase, there are several eighteenth century statuettes of Portuguese origin. In the corners of the hall, there are the Easter and Triangular candlesticks [35]. The three oil cans next to these were used to fill up the oil lamps that hung inside the Cathedral.

Behind the landau, an old clock and old statues stand on an early nineteenth century Maltese chest of drawers with inlaid designs of Maltese crosses [36].  Further around the hall, there are showcases with the mitres of past bishops [37.39] and vestments used in the liturgy of St John Chrysostom [38]. A host of items, including a sample of Gozo onyx, is on display in the central showcase [40]. In the corner, there is a sandal of Pope Pius VII (1800-23) [41], a porcelain flower pot stand [42], and a set of bronze mortar-pieces [43]. These were used for firing shells in pyrotechnic displays on the feast of Santa Marija.

The local stone altar [45] was brought from the countryside chapel of St Martin at Santa Dminka, Rabat. Above, there is a picture of the Holy Family and, beneath, The Last Supper, a masterpiece in wax (c1830).

Opposite the altar, there is a varied collection of locally made pottery [46].  More items are on both sides of the altar, including an old Maltese wash-stand and secretary’s desk with inlaid designs [44.47]. There is also a beautiful reliquary [48] and a cardinal’s red hat [49]. The last exhibits [50] are an old gold embroidered altar-frontal (late sixteenth century) and a richly-ornamented, silk altar-cover (1880).

© copyright • joseph bezzina • 2014