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Exhibition based on da Vinci’s The Last Supper and staged around historic Queen’s Platinum Jubilee table, opens at Rochester Cathedral

An art exhibition entitled Come Eat With Me is being staged with the perfect setting – a 42ft long table made from fossilised wood dating back 5,000 years.

The Fenland Black Oak Table, made to commemorate the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, is on display in Rochester Cathedral.

Jane Furst is the artistic director
Jane Furst is the artistic director

The huge piece of woodwork will form the backdrop of an installation compiled by 18 artists from across Kent and is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper.

It portrays the moment in time when Christ stated “One of you will betray me”. The emotions of the 12 disciples, huddled in groups of four, vary from shock to disbelief.

Aylesford Pottery, based at The Friars, has contributed by recreating 1st Century tableware and curricular icon-like paintings with gold leaf surrounds will be placed like dinner plates on the table.

Rochester-based Jane Furst, who is the artistic director, had only six months to find, brief and train the artists in gold leaf gilding techniques.

Director and curator Elizabeth Mullen said the table was the inspiration for the exhibition.

She said: “I have loved every minute of it and learned so much.”

The music accompanying the exhibition has been produced by Michael Levy, inspired by 1st Century Lyre music.

The Spirit Arts exhibition is directed by Rochester-based artist Jane Furst and curated by Elizabeth Mellen.

The unique piece of furniture – hailed as the Table for the Nation – is crafted from the country's rarest and most precious hardwood, black oak.

The Table for the Nation is on display at Rochester Cathedral
The Table for the Nation is on display at Rochester Cathedral

In 2012, the giant black oak tree was found in a field in Wissington Fen, East Anglia.

The exhibition opens on Saturday, February 10 and runs until Saturday, February 17, 10am- 4pm on Monday to Saturday and 1pm-3pm on Sunday, February 11.

It’s free but donations to Spirit Arts are welcome.

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