Why does the Cathedral have a Textile Conservation Lab?
By Rebecca Merrill
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.