Splendour & Devotion: The Art Collections of the Order of St John, Theresa Vella


By Theresa Vella with photography by Daniel Cilia
Produced by Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti | Published by Kite Group
Publication date 26 April 2023


“With this astonishing new book, Theresa Vella, has claimed her place in the first rank of active art historians.  Splendour & Devotion is a massive, yet meticulous, contribution to the social history of the making, collecting and usage of art by the Knights Hospitaller through many centuries.


Vella’s emphasis is on the Grand Masters, whose collections were enduring.  Copiously documented biographies are provided for all the leading actors in this spectacle, from dell’Antella to Zondadari.   Animated by fresh perspectives on topics seemingly covered in the past (though only narrowly, we now see), Vella’s magnificent and lavishly illustrated tome stands alongside great reference books, classics based on documented facts, which never go out of date.”


— John T. Spike, Florence, Italy, April 24, 2023

  • Author:Theresa Vella
  • Format:Hardback
  • Pages:304
  • Year:2023
  • ISBN:978–9918–23–103–4
  • Dimensions:300 × 255 cm
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The rich history of the Order of St John is often told through descriptions of important battles and the deeds of heroic men. The loss of Rhodes, the granting of Malta to the Knights by Charles V, and the Great Siege, are perhaps the most significant markers in the history of the Order in the early modern period. It is therefore exciting to discover an alternative approach to the history of the Order through the lens of art appreciation, collecting, and display. Theresa Vella’s meticulous research into a rich body of source material, especially inventories, wills, and correspondence, draws the reader into what it was about the Knights’ experience that was distinctive and specific to them, while also placing them in the larger framework of European elite culture. Elegantly written and thoughtfully conceived, this lavish production is grounded in scholarly research but accessible to a wide readership. To read it is to enter a fascinating world.

Additional information

Dimensions 300 × 255 cm

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