The Marchese Gallery, takes its name of one of the main donors who bequeathed huge collections to the museum. Count Saverio Marchese donated a large collection which was set to be the original collection which started off the museum. The donation was made to the Cathedral Museum in the late 19th century, at the time when the museum was found within the cathedral itself.
The donated collection included a large selection of paintings, old master drawings and engravings. This newly refurbished hall hosts some of the most important panel paintings in Malta dating from the 15th century. The chronological set up leads the visitor to paintings from the 16th century.
Dominating this hall is the polyptych of St Paul. A polyptych is a painting, usually an altarpiece, consisting of more than three leaves or panels joined by hinges or folds. This is the oldest Altar painting in Malta, commissioned by the Cathedral Chapter to one of the most important art schools in Europe – that of Luis Borrassa of Cataluña in Spain (1360-1426). The central piece of the polyptych of St. Paul, shows the enthronement of St. Paul, surrounded by other panels showing various episodes from the life of the apostle of the gentiles.
Undoubtedly, a city that possessed such an outstanding masterpiece was not languishing in some cultural wilderness.