A 16th Century baroque hall restoration project by Heritage Malta
Bank of Valletta is supporting the restoration of the ‘Gran Salon’ at the Auberge de Provence in Valletta.
The Gran Salon is among the more captivating features of the Auberge de Provence (National Museum of Archaeology), with its richly painted walls and wooden beamed ceiling. Located on the upper floor of the Auberge, the Grand Salon is a beautifully baroque decorated hall that was used by the Knights of the Order of St. John for their business discussions, as a refectory and also as a banqueting hall. It has one of the only five wooden trussed roofs still surviving from the Knight’s period and the mural decorations found within this hall are also unique on the island.
Heritage Malta Chairman Dr Joseph Buttigieg and CEO Kenneth Gambin cordially invited Mr Deo Scerri Chairman at Bank of Valletta respectively, to view the meticulous ongoing restoration works at the ‘Gran Salon’.
‘The Gran Salon is certainly the most captivating feature of the Auberge,’ said Dr Buttigieg. ‘In its’ 400 plus years of existence, the murals and timber roofing have suffered from different conservation issues, mainly from surface and structural decay, a process we are determined to reverse through this conservation project.’
‘The Auberge de Provence houses the National Museum of Archaeology, the catalyst for all archaeological sites in Malta’ continued Dr Buttigieg. ‘As a living museum with a number of temporary exhibitions, the Gran Salon, apart from being a historic display in its own right, will also house events and temporary exhibitions that will enhance our cultural heritage.’
‘Our rich cultural heritage is a tangible attribute inherited from past generations’ said Mr Scerri. ‘That is why protecting it is an imperative for all. At Bank of Valletta, we have a history of supporting restoration projects of a national interest in line with our Corporate Responsibility.’
‘We actively seek out restoration projects which help keep our islands’ character and charm, and provide a link to its diverse history,’ continued Mr Scerri. ‘The promising results of the ongoing restoration fill us with confidence that we will once again be able to enjoy the Gran Salon in all its glory.’
The project aims to restore and safeguard one of the few surviving examples of sixteenth century timber roofs found within the World Heritage Site of Valletta. Throughout this project and with scientific analyses we also aim at extracting more data on the eighteenth century mural paintings, thus enabling us to conserve them in the best manner and restoring the Gran Salon to its outstanding aesthetic characteristics. Knowledge accessibility is paramount to Heritage Malta and this project will enhance our already existing understanding about this cultural gem.