The University of Malta has proudly welcomed the return of Edward Caruana Dingli’s full-length portrait of King George VI. The painting was returned by Heritage Malta to the University’s collection at the Valletta Campus, following an absence of over three decades.
Commissioned by the University, following the conferment of royal patronage on it by King George VI in 1937, it was a manifest recognition of the honour bestowed by him on the institution. Executed by Edward Caruana Dingli in 1938, the portrait was unveiled by Governor Sir Charles Bonham Carter on 1 October 1938 during the University’s annual degree giving ceremony.
The portrait depicts an enthroned George VI in the full regalia of a British sovereign. For many years this portrait dominated the old Aula Magna of the University at its former seat in Valletta. The transfer of the portrait to the Valletta Campus was made possible following negotiations between the Rectorate, the Administration of Heritage Malta, and the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage.
Witnessing the return of the painting, Rector, Professor Alfred Vella, underlined that the transfer happened at a significant moment when the University was celebrating the 250th anniversary of the historic founding under Grand Master Pinto, whilst Professor Keith Sciberras, Rector’s Delegate for UM’s art collection, stressed on the active role being taken by the University towards the protection and curation of works of art in its collection.
The University thanks the administration and curators of Heritage Malta, in particular its CEO Mr Noel Zammit, for their collaboration and support.