Antique Furniture in Malta opens at St James Cavalier

The Sunday Times, March 17, 2002

The 11th Exhibition organised by Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, entitled Antique Furniture in Malta, was officially inaugurated by Education and Culture Minister Louis Galea on Friday evening at St James Cavalier, Valletta.
It will remain open until April 14.
Also launched on Friday was the lavishly illustrated catalogue raisonné of the exhibition, which is being curated by Joe Galea Naudi, curator of St John’s Cathedral Museum.
Antique Furniture in Malta features around 120 pieces of our finest antique furniture, mostly loaned by generous private collectors.  There are some stunning 16th century pieces, but most of the antique furniture on display is from the 17th and 18th centuries when the Knights of St John were comfortably established in their homes and palaces in Malta.
It is indeed again the very cosmopolitan knights to whom we owe so much of our heritage.  While many of the pieces were designed and made in Malta by cabinet-makers who were by then well established in their craft, some pieces were commissioned and imported from abroad.
To do justice to the extensive collection being exhibited, as well as the beauty and mastery of the furniture on display, the whole of St James, including the theatre space itself is being used in a different way and is hosting a light and sound display to bring some our finest pieces of furniture to light under the spotlight!
Some of the finest pieces on display in the theatre space include a late 16th century credenza which is possibly one of the oldest surviving pieces of Maltese furniture, a fine 17th century credenzina and an 18th century bureau bookcase with intricate lacework ornamentation.
Speaking at the press launch on Friday morning, the chairman of Patrimonju, Maurice de Giorgio, said: “This exhibition is the culmination of almost two years of hard work and professional preparation.  The last year has been a very hectic one, particularly as we have put up two exhibitions, published a series of books and successfully concluded negotiations to refurbish Norman House in Mdina.”
In recent years the Maltese have become avid collectors of Maltese antique furniture and it is expected that this major Patrimonju exhibition will draw the crowds to St James Cavalier in the coming four weeks.

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