Mapfre MSV Life supports Villa Frere restoration project
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.