BOV extends partnership agreement with Heritage Malta

From left: Ernest Agius, Noel Zammit, Kenneth Farrugia and Kenneth Gambin

Last Updated on Friday, 26 January, 2024 at 8:26 pm by Andre Camilleri

In virtue of this extended agreement, the Bank will continue to finance the restoration works of the Gran Salon

Bank of Valletta has extended its support to Heritage Malta for another three years in financing the resotration works of the Gran Salon located at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta. The Bank will continue to be the sole sponsor of this important restoration project, which has been underway for a number of years since the initial partnership between BOV and Heritage Malta in 2017.

The Gran Salon is the most captivating architectural feature of the Auberge de Provence in Valletta, built between 1571 and 1575 to house the Provencal Knights of the Order of St John. The Auberge now hosts Heritage Malta’s National Museum of Archaeology. Located on the upper floor of this Auberge, the Gran Salon is one of the most striking and elegant halls in the Maltese islands. Its elaborately decorated walls and ceiling suffered from surface and structural decay throughout the centuries. Scientific analysis, using the best possible conservation treatments, will enable the conservation of the eighteenth century mural paintings in the best manner possible, restoring the Gran Salon to its original outstanding aesthetic characteristics.

A painting from the time of the Knights, which was discovered two years ago as part of the conservation project, was officially confirmed late last year to be an image of Neptune holding a trident in his hand. The painting was found on top of a fireplace behind a blocked archway. The painting is thought to be late 17th century or early 18th century. This discovery is the only remaining component of the Gran Salon’s original decorative scheme, which existed before the room was redecorated in the early 19th century.

The agreement was signed by Kenneth Farrugia, CEO at Bank of Valletta and Noel Zammit, CEO at Heritage Malta, during a visit at the Gran Salon. Kenneth Farrugia stated that “Protecting Malta’s rich cultural heritage forms an integral part of the Social dimension in the Bank’s ESG strategy. Bank of Valletta has a long established history of supporting restoration projects of national importance, and we are indeed very excited and feel privileged to strengthen our partnership with Heritage Malta and support them in the sterling work they have been carrying out over the past years.

“As we celebrate the Bank’s 50th anniversary, we are keen to continue extending our contribution to the conservation of our island’s historical and cultural heritage, for the benefit of both the domestic community and the thousands of tourists visiting this artistic and cultural gem.”

Mr Zammit commented that “BOV have proved to be an invaluable partner to Heritage Malta in the fulfilling of its core mission of safeguarding our islands’ rich heritage, and extending its life for future generations to also inherit and enjoy, as we have, in an even better condition.

“These past six years of unrelenting work by our conservators at the ‘Gran Salon’ at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta have been very fruitful – the hall has already visibly regained its vibrancy and we have made exciting discoveries; such as the finding of a previously-unknown image of Neptune, the Roman God of the Sea, behind a blocked arch, filling us up with anticipation for what is yet to come.  We are therefore so grateful that BOV are extending their support to allow the reaping of further fruit from this partnership, which will eventually be enjoyed by the whole Maltese nation. “

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