Bank of Valletta steps in to fund Verdala ceilings’ restoration

Bank of Valletta is financing the restoration of four decorated ceilings at Verdala Palace in Buskett in collaboration with the Office of the President of Malta

The site of this Palace was originally a small hunting lodge built by Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette between 1557 and 1568.  The present structure was erected by Grandmaster Fra Hugues Loubenx de Verdalle in 1586 planned a fortified structure to provide a minimal form of defence against the Turks who struck Malta from time to time.

The first floor of the Palace was remodeled in Baroque times during the Magistry of Grandmaster Dom António Manoel de Vilhena (1722-1736). The decorated ceilings date to this intervention. The four ceilings follow the same typology with a central medallion and framed segments carrying different references to the Magistry of Vilhena, his coat of arms and armorial references. The wood soffits on which the paintings have been executed have suffered changes in atmospheric conditions over almost three hundred years and this has resulted in considerable damage.

Apart from being an architectural gem and the President’s Summer Residence, Verdala Palace, has played many roles in its history. These include acting as a repository for the National Museum of Arts during the second world war and has hosted distinguished dignitaries during their stay in Malta such as King George V and Queen Mary in 1912, Prince Albert in 1913 and later King George VI in April 1943 among many others.

The four decorated ceilings are one of the main attractions of the Palace and their restoration has been entrusted to Heritage Malta  

“Bank of Valletta has become synonymous with the conservation and restoration of historical buildings in Malta” said BOV chairman Roderick Chalmers. “The restoration of the Cupola at the St Catherine of Italy Chapel in Valletta, currently nearing completion and the Christ the King statue in Floriana are fine examples of Bank of Valletta’s contribution to the community in which it operates”.

“We are proud to collaborate with the Office of the President in this project and look forward to the first open day at Verdala Palace, when these ceilings, restored to their former glory, can be enjoyed by the Maltese people”.