Cathedral of St. John the Divine Blog

Why does the Cathedral have a Textile Conservation Lab? REBECCA MERRILL NOVEMBER 1, 2018


Photo Credit: Helena Kubicka de Bragança

The story of why the Cathedral has a Textile Conservation Lab is as old as the Cathedral itself. In 1891, a year before the cornerstone of the building was laid, American art collector Elizabeth Underhill Coles donated a set of the Barberini Life of Christ tapestries to the Cathedral. Though the building itself was still a dream, Ms. Coles knew that, when finished, a Cathedral needed tapestries to decorate the walls. This momentous donation gave credibility to a dream project and created a tradition of art stewardship at the Cathedral that continues to this day.

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Happy Anniversary Barberini Tapestries! REBECCA MERRILL SEPTEMBER 27, 2018

Video credit:
Mike Bragg
Museum Design Services Manager
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon

It’s been one year since our beloved exhibition, The Barberini Tapestries: Woven Monuments of Baroque Rome opened at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, Oregon. The exhibition debuted at the Cathedral in March 2017 as a celebration of our Textile Conservation Lab’s work to conserve the tapestries, which were donated to the Cathedral before the cornerstone was laid over 125 years ago.

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The Barberini Tapestries: Live Weaving Demonstrations MIKE WU MAY 12, 2017

In celebration of The Barnerini Tapestries, we're hosting live weaving demonstrations on select dates through the end of June! You can get an inside glimpse into the craft behind our priceless tapestries and chat with weavers about their work.

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The Barberini Tapestries: Missa Cantata & Jephte REBECCA MERRILL APRIL 20, 2017

We installed The Barberini Tapestries in the style of the 17th century—on the walls at eye level—in order to transform the Chapel of St. James into a Baroque Chapel. On Wednesday, April 19th, we took the transformation a step further by celebrating a Latin Mass with Baroque music in the chapel.

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History of Textiles REBECCA MERRILL APRIL 3, 2017

Textile manufacturing, along with pottery and metalwork, is one of the foundational human industries. Clothing appeared somewhere between 100,000 and 500,00 years ago; possible sewing needles have been found dating back 40,000 years. Spinning, weaving, dying and the many other textile techniques spread quickly, though it is impossible to pinpoint the origin of most developments. Trade in cloth was of great importance in the ancient world-the famed Silk Road being one of the major trade routes—and tapestries were in use in Hellenistic times, and perhaps before.

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