15th century choir stallsIt is documented that at the turn of the 17 th century, the Chapter appointed Fra Vincenzo del Ponte as its agent to oversee the commission of a new organ intended to replace the previous organ. The new organ, shipped on a French sailing boat via Messina reached the island on the 27 th June 1601.

The organ was positioned in the Cathedral around December when the accounts books mark the purchase of carpenter’s glue, nails, steel wire and other necessary equipment that were handed to the carpenter Salvo Felice. The organ and its loft were positioned above the main entrance of the Cathedral. This detailed description was written by Bishop Baldassare Cagliares.

At present it is unknown whether the balcony and the organ date to the same period. According to Prof. Mario Buhagiar, a purchase bill dated 1601 records the three rotoli of large nails “per inchiodare la gallaria dell organo”. Bibliography also recounts that in 1604, Bishop Thomas Gargallo commissioned Francesco de Oneo for the gilding of the organ and the embellishment of the loft.

The conservation and restoration of the Polychrome Wooden Organ loft consists in the care of the artistic value work of art and of its constituent materials. This brings about the necessity of a multidisciplinary approach for the proper conservation and restoration of the artefact.

Team Credentials for this project:

James Saliba –Wood conservator

Dr Catalina Chiojdeanu – Nuclear Physicist

Dot.ssa Maria Grazia Zenzani – Paintings conservator

Valentina Lupo – Paintings conservator

Scientific Research laboratory – Archaometry Laboratory from Hora Hulubei

A big thank you for the generosity of Madame Duverwin who believed in this project and helped the Museum to restore another unique Cathedral artefact.