John Sunderland

The curated works of the author & artist

1990-1991 The World of Mappa Mundi

Summer Exhibition, a temporary build in the ruins of the Chapter House, Hereford Cathedral

Client:  Hereford Cathedral


To create a short-term summer installation based only on the imagery contained within the medieval map, to draw attention to its’ unique value as a National Treasure.


There had been a flurry of agitated press interest concerning the story that the Hereford Cathedral, in order to raise the money to restore its’ failing roof, was to sell a National Treasure that beforehand had languished for centuries in a dark forgotten corner.

The Mappa Mundi, one of the earliest medieval world maps, was to be sold to the highest bidder on the international market. JS made an approach to the clergy and Cathedral trustees to create a summer exhibit (for which he gave his services free) which would attract the paying public and raise finances.


Project Designer


40,000 people flocked to see the special exhibit, which raised awareness of the unique collection of treasures that the Cathedral held for the Nation. Following the exhibit, money was provided by the J. Paul Getty Foundation for a custom designed permanent new building for the safe keeping of the Mappa Mundi and the rest of the Cathedrals’ unique collection. The roof was also fixed!

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