Mapfre MSV Life sup­ports Villa Frere restora­tion project

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

Mapfre MSV Life is spon­sor­ing a restora­tion project to safe­guard what re­mains of Villa Frere, one of Malta’s most im­por­tant his­toric es­tates which has been aban­doned for over 70 years. It was the place where John Hookham Frere (17691846) spent the last years of his life in Malta.

The project is be­ing un­der­taken by the Friends of Villa Frere and in­cludes the restora­tion of a num­ber of fine pieces of sculp­ture in­clud­ing well-heads, exquisitely carved benches and troughs once em­bel­lish­ing Villa Frere’s idyl­lic gar­dens. These arte­facts, which had been pre­sumed lost and were only re­cently dis­cov­ered and re­turned with the co­op­er­a­tion of the Min­is­ter of the En­vi­ron­ment, Dr Jose’ Her­rera, are be­ing re­stored by lead­ing lime­stone preser­va­tion­ists.

An­nounc­ing the spon­sor­ship, Michael Galea, chief of­fi­cer Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment at Mapfre MSV Life said: “We are de­lighted to be sup­port­ing such an im­por­tant restora­tion project that is be­ing han­dled so pro­fes­sion­ally by the NGO Friends of Villa Frere. We be­lieve that this is an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion that we are mak­ing to­wards our na­tional her­itage in a project that is sal­vaging part of what was once a glo­ri­ous 14 tu­moli Mal­tese gar­den rich with his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

Mapfre MSV Life is spon­sor­ing the restora­tion of a well­head and gib­bet which orig­i­nally stood in the up­per gar­dens of Villa Frere just be­hind of the Neo-Clas­si­cal Tem­pi­etto and pho­tographed on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions. It bears the Frere coat-of-arms on its ped­i­ment. To­day its con­text at Pi­eta’ is rad­i­cally al­tered, how­ever, there are plans to have this space re­stored in time. Carved in glo­bige­rina lime­stone, its flo­ral arabesque style so exquisitely ex­e­cuted could very pos­si­bly have been pro­duced by the work­shop of ac­claimed ar­chi­tec­tural sculp­tor Vin­cenzo Dimech (1768-1831).

Ed­ward Said, sec­re­tary of Friends of Villa Frere thanked Mapfre MSV Life for their spon­sor­ship and ex­plained that the in­ter­ven­tion on the arte­fact be­ing spon­sored in­cluded the dis­man­tling from Casa Leoni, Sta Ven­era, where it was dis­cov­ered re­cently, mak­ing good of the re­main­ing well-head at Casa Leoni, trans­porta­tion to Villa Frere, re­in­state­ment and fin­ish­ing.

The works are cur­rently on­go­ing and it is ex­pected that the re­stored arte­fact will be placed on site within the gar­dens of Villa Frere over the com­ing weeks.

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