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Title: Burials and sepulchral ledger stones in the church of Saint Paul shipwrecked, Valletta
Authors: Spiteri, Carmel
Keywords: Sepulchral slabs -- Malta -- Valletta
Church architecture -- Malta -- Valletta
Decoration and ornament -- Malta
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: The purpose of this essay is mainly to bring to light the importance of the parish church of Saint Paul Shipwrecked in Valletta focusing especially on the ledger stones. These practically cover the nave from the presbytery to the west end of the church. Presently these ledger stones are in a state of neglect both physically and intellectually. In this dissertation the ledgers will be described and placed in an art historical context. The different marble types used in the manufacture of these ledgers and their provenance shall be identified. Some of the personages buried under these marble tomb stones will be discussed. The present state of preservation of each ledger will be documented. The church, together with the two sacristies and the oratory were surveyed using a steel measuring tape and a hand held disto-meter. The relevant drawings virtually draughted on computer using appropriate software, namely AUTOCAD 2008. The surrounding pavement on Saint Paul’s Street and the stairs along Saint Lucy Street were included in the survey. The inscriptions on the tomb stones were copied scrupulously, meaning that spelling and line distribution were strictly respected. After this, abbreviations were expanded and the added characters closed in brackets ( ), while characters which should be omitted are enclosed in square brackets [ ]. Unfortunately the inscriptions on two of the ledgers are totally worn out (R6C3, R8C5), while another has some characters missing (R8C2). Most of the chiselled out characters are sans serif, while a few are serif. Most of the dating and numbers make use of Roman numerals while in some cases Arabic numerals are used. Appendix A will also be a record of the writings still legible today. As regards the reference to the layout, the logical system used previously by Rev. Can Fr. Vincenz Azzopardi and later by Rev Fr Karm Zammit, (c 1995) in their transcripts was retained. The latter version was referred to when some characters were dubious due to their state of preservation. With the exception of R10C1, all the ledgers have a vertical orientation. The main corpus is laid out on eight rows and five columns. These are set in what shall be referred to as the main grid, which consists of grey Bardiglio bands of marble between the slabs both horizontaly and verticaly. At each intersection there is a Giallo Siena tozzetto. This is a sacrificial feature which might be broken (and later replaced) in the process to lift open the slabs. The 41st ledger is in the chapel of the sacrament and an oblong memorial is found in the chapel of Charity. Under the niche where the titular statue of Saint Paul is kept there is a 43rd which is partially hidden by the timber structure. In the corridor leading from the sacristy to the choir one finds another seven tombstones cemented to the walls. Their inscriptions are also included with the main corpus although due to the restricted space they could not be photographed properly. These add up to 50 tomb stones. The tomb stones on the floor are laid with their top edge closer to the relevant altar.
Description: B.A.(HONS)HIST.OF ART
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArtHa - 2011

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