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Title Grand Master Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc
Collection Museum of the Order of St John, St John Ambulance, London
Artist Maltese School
Date Earliest probably about 1775
Date Latest probably about 1797
Description Portrait of Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc, Grand Master of the Order of St John, 1775-1797. He was responsible for the building of Fort Tigne and the re-fortification of St Lucian's Tower and battery, as a result of which it was renamed Fort Rohan. He also elevated the village of Zebbug to city-status, renaming it Citta De Rohan. He is the author of the Code de Rohan, a book of constitutional law, published in two volumes in 1782. His rule as Grand Master was in the nature of a calm before the storm; in 1792 the Directory in France decreed that all the commanderies of the Order under their government should be broken up, and their property to be confiscated. It then turned its eye on the Island of Malta itself, which it hoped to make French territory. The seeds of doubt and eventual treason were sown amongst the Knights by French agents, and it may be that since the majority of Knights on Malta were French, some of them had split loyalties. In any case, it is probable that the anguish of these dark days at the end of his rule contributed towards the attack of apoplexy which killed him in 1797.
Current Accession Number LDOSJ:1761
Subject portrait (Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc, Grand Master)
Measurements 80 x 64 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by the Princess Paleologue 1948.
Notes There is a letter on file from the Princess Paleologue, offering this painting for sale to the Order. Unfortunately she makes an elementary negotiating error in saying that although she would prefer to sell it in 'these times', she would be prepared to donate the painting if the Order could not afford to buy it. Having shown all her cards in this way, it is unsurprising then that the Librarian of the Order replies to say that unfortunately they could not possibly afford to buy the picture at present, due to the cost of repairs being carried out on the bomb-damaged church, but that they would gratefully receive her gift of the painting as a donation to the Order.
Rights Owner Museum of the Order of St John
Author Malcolm Barclay



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