International interest in 'The Silver of Malta' exhibition

Gallarija, The Malta Independent, March 5, 1995
by Noel Grima

Considerable international interest has been aroused by the forthcoming The Silver of Malta exhibition which is going to be held between the 31 March and the 30 April at the Palace’s Sala del Gran Consiglio in Valletta.
Specialised international journals have already spoken about the exhibition and other journalists are going to come especially for the exhibition.  It will be featured on Euronews and international papers as well and will undoubtedly form an obligatory visit for the thousands of tourists over for Easter.
More than that, it will be a valuable exhibition for the Maltese public especially schoolchildren, who perhaps do not really know the cultural and artistic levels of their forefathers – the Maltese artisans and workers.  The only day the exhibition will be closed will be Good Friday, 14 April.
The exhibition, which is being put up by Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, the Maltese heritage foundation, with the support of the Ministry for Youth and the Arts and the sponsorship of Telemalta Corporation, will be the most prestigious and extensive exhibition held in Malta since 1970.
Fifteen hundred and fifty silver objects and objets d’art will be exhibited, mostly coming from private collections and owners.  One hundred and fifteen of these owners volunteered to help Patrimonju and lend their treasured possessions.  Two Knights of Malta heirlooms are being lent by the St John Museum of Clerkenwell, UK.
The centrepiece of the exhibition will be a table set for a Grand Master as would have happened in Grand Master Pinto’s days.  It is known that Grand Masters dined alone, perhaps out or reverence for their celibate status.  But nearby there will be two tables set for twelve persons each.
The will obviously be extensive security all around: thick plate glass display cases, 24-hour security, closed circuit television, etc.  The display cases will later on be recycled into display cases for the Museum of Archaeology once the reform being planned there by Mr Richardson is effected.
The exhibition will span 400 years of silver artistry, mostly Maltese artisans who benefitted by the exposure to European cultural trends brought to Malta by the Knights as well as by the Knights’ munificence and princely style of living.
The exhibition will also spawn several books about the subject.
One such book will be that by Alaine Apap Bologna, a researcher who has made inroads into little-known important details of the silversmiths.  This is the official catalogue of the exhibition.  It is heavily illustrated and detailed and published by MAG publications.
Another book Silver and Banqueting in Malta, a collection of essays, papers and recent findings is edited by Mark Micallef and published by Progress Press.  Both these books are published under the aegis of Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti.

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