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Title: Ta’ Braxia Cemetery, Pieta` : a selection of case studies warranting conservation and restoration
Authors: Brincat, Julian
Keywords: Ta’ Braxia Cemetery (Pieta, Malta)
Cemeteries -- Malta -- Pieta
Sepulchral monuments -- Malta -- Pieta
Cemeteries -- Conservation and restoration -- Malta -- Pieta
Historic preservation -- Malta -- Pieta
Issue Date: 2020
Citation: Brincat, J. (2020). Ta’ Braxia Cemetery, Pieta`: a selection of case studies warranting conservation and restoration (Master's dissertation).
Abstract: Ta’ Braxia Cemetery, an everlasting monument of the British Colonial period, was the first extra-mural cemetery to be built in Malta during the mid-nineteenth century. It was designed by the young and talented Maltese architect, Emanuele Luigi Galizia. This cemetery is notable not only for the vast range of iconographic symbols scattered all over the myriad of funerary monuments but also because it falls under the Romantic concept of garden cemeteries. The main objective of this dissertation is to build upon existing literature on Ta’ Braxia, including Ms Janica Buhagiar’s unpublished M.A. dissertation as well as Prof. Conrad Thake and Ms Janica Buhagiar’s publication on the same subject, which have mainly sought to analyse the origins and historical formation of the cemetery as well as the iconography of several funerary monuments. This dissertation takes existing literature a step further and analyses Ta’ Braxia from a different perspective by shedding light on the cemetery’s current state of preservation in the hope of raising greater awareness regarding the need for a comprehensive conservation and restoration programme. Ta’ Braxia Cemetery deserves more widespread recognition than it currently enjoys. Not only is it the final resting place of a number of British citizens, some of whom were prominent members of local society, but it also houses within it some of the finest examples of nineteenth-century Maltese funerary sculpture and architecture. Unfortunately, the cemetery suffered extensive damage during the Second World War, following which it went through a long period of neglect. The setting up of the local NGO ‘Friends of Ta’ Braxia’ in 2001 signalled the first efforts geared towards the preservation of this cultural gem. In spite of the organisation’s efforts, however, the cemetery and most of its monuments are still in dire need of restoration. The introductory chapter of this dissertation discusses the socio-political and religious context within which the cemetery was built. It sheds light on the prevailing burial customs prior to the arrival of the British as well as the controversy sparked off by the building of an extra-mural cemetery and the changing attitude towards death throughout the nineteenth century. Reference is also made to the foundation and the work carried out by the ‘Friends of Ta’ Braxia.’ The following chapters are intended to shed light on the current condition of a select number of monuments, namely, the William Stephen Eynaud monument, the H.M.S. Gibraltar monument, Rev. Wisely’s memorial and the Lady Hamilton Gordon Memorial chapel, as well as the Galizia fountain and two pillars designed by Galizia. Each chapter focuses upon the figure or group of people being commemorated by these structures with various degrees of reference to their art-historical value. A condition report was drawn up for each case study and suggestions on possible conservation and restoration methods to be used in future interventions are put forward. The final chapter highlights the need to preserve the cemetery for future generations whilst putting forward suggestions as to how funds may be raised in order to conserve and restore this national cultural heritage.
Description: B.A.(HONS)HIST.OF ART
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2020
Dissertations - FacArtHa - 2020

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