Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Silver, 17th and 18th-century furniture, dinner sets and even a Mattia Preti painting are among the items which are being offered up at auction today 13th and tomorrow 14th September.
All the items come from Queen Elizabeth II’s former home in Malta, Villa Guardamangia. She lived there with Prince Philip for intermittent periods between 1949 and 1951 and it is the only building outside of the UK in which she has ever lived.
Among the items up for grabs, one may find a Girolamo Gianni oil painting ‘Mdina’ in gilt frame (estimate €3200 – 3600), an Edwardian inlaid mahogany revolving library (estimate €260 – 300), a Maltese ‘tal-lira’ wall clock (estimate €3200 – 3600), a Carl Wagner iron frame upright piano in walnut case (estimate €220 – 260), a 19th century canon on a wheeled carriage (estimate €740 – 900) and a Mattia Preti oil painting on canvas ‘St Joseph’ (no estimate given).
It is not clear whether any of the items being auctioned were in the house during the periods that the British Monarch was living there.
Villa Guardamangia was built in 1900 by Sir Augusto Bartolo, and was called Casa Medina at the time. Bartolo was a prominent 19th-century journalist, politician and judge, heavily involved in Malta’s quest for constitutional independence. Today, it is privately owned. The building is scheduled as a Grade 2 monument by the MEPA and is currently in a dilapidated state.
The villa is currently up for sale for €6.5 million. The potential sale has provoked the ire of a number of various people who have taken to social media to protest that the building is of historical value and part of Malta’s heritage, and should be restored/preserved as such.
The auction is being organised by Belgravia Auction Gallery at Villa Guardamangia in Pietà on Friday 13th September at 2.30 pm and Saturday 14th September at 10.00 am.
Video: Miguela Xuereb