During the coming weekend, the public will be given the opportunity to visit, for the first time, the Main Guard building in St George’s Square in Valletta. Heritage Malta will exhibit the progress of restoration and conservation works carried out since it took over the building two years ago. The building features, among others, over 300 paintings by members of the British military that reflect not only the military life but also the social aspect of the period, especially in Valletta.
The Main Guard was built in the beginning of the 17th Century by Grand Master Wignacourt, while during the British era it was decorated by wall paintings, many of them are in the former Officers’ Mess. The artworks, which were painted by soldiers themselves, were discovered in recent months during conservation and restoration work by Heritage Malta.
The agency’s conservator Anthony Spagnol said some of the painting are linked with the capital’s life and others with a military aspect such as badges and old lithography, by persons who painted them as a hobby.
Heritage Malta chief executive Noel Zammit said that when the work is completed at the Main Guard, the place will also serve as a centre featuring all the sites that the agency has in Valletta and in other places. “It will be an attraction to tourists and to the Maltese and Gozitans. In the ground floor, we will have a display of all Heritage Malta sites and museums and the upper floor we will interpret these paintings in a technological way to revive them”.
Heritage Malta, which will continue with the restoration of more paintings in the building, will open the Main Guard doors for the public, with free entrance, on Saturday till 10.00pm and Sunday till 4.00pm.