Din l-Art Helwa’s latest restoration project is the conservation and restoration of the monument of Queen Victoria in Valletta, located in the prominent and popular square in front of the national library in Valletta.The statue was erected in 1891 and is the work of the Sicilian sculptor Giuseppe Valenti.The statue and the pedestal are executed in white marble, while the base and steps are made from a grey stone. There are two coat-of-arms on the monument which are cast in bronze.
Paid for by public subscription, the monument commemorated Queen Victoria’s 50th Jubilee. It depicts her with a lace shawl, as she had ordered “eight dozen pairs long and eight dozen pairs short mitts, besides a scarf” of Malta lace.
Like all public monuments, the monument representing Queen Victoria is exposed to varying weather conditions. Over time, constant fluctuations in temperature and wet and drying processes affect the various components of the monument. Pigeon colonies in the square also cause damage.
The restoration works removed all surface grime, biological growth and deposits. The missing elements were reconstructed and the bronze coat-of-arms were cleaned, stabilized and given various protective layers.
The restoration project was generously sponsored by M. Demajo Group, as part of its celebrations of 100 years of continuous operation.
The work was entrusted to Heritage ResCo, and carried out by conservators Ingrid Ross, together with James Licari and Frank Chetcuti who also work as lecturers and conservator-restorers with Heritage Malta. The Valletta/Mdina/Kottonera Rehabilitation Project within the Ministry of Resources and Rural Affairs provided the scaffolding.