Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting of the Last Supper has been reproduced as a stunning cross stitch embroidery by an inmate at the Isle of Man Prison.
The framed 6ft x 3ft artwork is currently on public display in Ramsey’s Catholic Church.
Prisoner Brian Parton was first introduced to cross stitch by Prison Officer Tina Quilliam as a way to learn a new skill and to occupy his time in a constructive way.
He showed a natural flair for the decorative form of embroidery and decided to take on a more challenging project following a conversation with Father Brian O’Mahony, one of the prison chaplains. Mr Parton set about recreating the Last Supper, da Vinci’s painting of Jesus and his disciples, working from a special kit.
Father O’Mahony explained:
‘I regularly visited Brian to view the progress. This was a massive project that demanded a great deal of skill, dedication and patience. On completion Brian said he wanted to loan his work to the Catholic Church in Ramsey, which was a wonderful gesture.’
Brian Parton said:
‘I started this type of cross stitching in the Isle of Man Prison and my latest project, the Last Supper, took me approximately 2½ years to complete. I have given this piece of work to Father Brian and the Catholic Church on a permanent loan. I am more than happy to be able to give something back to the local community and to Father Brian. I hope it brings some pleasure to the people who come and see it.’
The Last Supper will be on display in the church on Queen’s Promenade in Ramsey between 10:30am and 9:00pm, Monday to Friday, until 19 July.
The project is part of efforts to provide prisoners with a positive focus while serving their sentences. Jobs for prisoners in the kitchens, laundry or gardens are supplemented wherever practical by suitable work provided in conjunction with community partners.
Michael Coleman MLC, Member of the Department of Home Affairs with responsibility for the Prison and Probation Service, said:
‘Constructive activities not only provide purpose and structure to prison life, they can also encourage the development of new skills and strengthen our efforts to reduce the risk of re-offending among prisoners. This approach also supports the Department’s wider commitment to combating crime in the Isle of Man and reducing the associated social and economic costs.’