Palace State Rooms - Tapestry Chamber

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Palace State Rooms - Tapestry Chamber

The State Rooms are the show piece of the Presidential Palace sited at the heart of Malta’s World Heritage Capital city of Valletta.

The Palace itself was one of the first buildings in the new city of Valletta founded by Grandmaster Jean Parisot de La Vallette in 1566.

The Tapestry Chamber was the official meeting place of the Supreme Council of the Order of St John.

Today this chamber hosts ten tapestries of the cycle “Les Tentures des Indes” (The Indian Hangings). They were produced at the Royal Gobelin workshop of Louis XIV. in 1700.

These tapestries were created from the works of Albert van den Eckout and Frans Post. The two artists had accompanied the German Prince during an expedition to both Africa and South America. The flora, fauna and indigenous inhabitants of this little known continent were recorded by Albert van den Eckout and the landscapes were captured by Frans Post. The Prince donated these paintings to King Louis XIV of France.

When Ramon Perellos (1697-1720) became Grand Master of the order he wanted to embellish the Council Room. Grand Master Perellos sent the Knight commander, Fra Jean Jacquest des Mesmes to Paris. The commander found the paintings the most appealing. In the month of October of the year 1708, Mesmes contracted the Royal Manufactory in Paris through its master weaver Le Blonde, and agreed to design the Tapestries according to the wall measurements of the Council Chamber. The tapestries were completed by March 1710.

The Order's ship, on the way back to Malta encountered pirates at the Straits of Sicily. It was only after paying a good ransom that the ship was allowed to continue its journey to Malta.

During the early years of the British, the chamber was used for social functions such as receptions and banquets. It later regained its original dignity as a Council Chamber where sittings were held by the Legislative Council and, after 1921, meetings by the Representative Maltese Government. The Chamber served as the seat of government for Malta’s House of Representatives until 1976.

Source: Heritage Malta