Wirt Ghawdex free public lecture on The ta’ Braxia Cemetery

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Wirt Ghawdex free public lecture on The ta' Braxia CemeteryThe ta’ Braxia Cemetery – is the title of the next lecture, organised by Wirt Ghawdex in Gozo.

The lecture will be delivered in English by Dr. Conrad Thake, along with Janica Buhagiar. This lecture is based on their recently-published book of the same title.

The Ta’ Braxia cemetery at Pietà was designed and planned by the Maltese architect Emmanuele Luigi Galizia (1830-1907), the first extra-mural cemetery to be established in Malta.

This book narrates the challenging religio-political context that prevailed during the mid-nineteenth century and the steadfast determination of the British colonial government, than headed by Governor Sir William Reid, to implement this project for the ‘formation of a cemetery at Ta’ Braxia for all denominations without distinction of creed,’ even when faced by opposition from conservative Catholic quarters.

It traces the foundation of the cemetery from its establishment in 1855-1857, to its physical expansion around 1880.

The book also considers the distinctive qualities and characteristics of a garden cemetery and the diverse typology and rich iconographical symbolism of the various funerary monuments at Ta’ Braxia.

Also covered are the origins and history of the Lady Rachel Hamilton Gordon chapel (1893-94) which is the main architectural icon of the cemetery.

Prof Conrad Thake is an architect, urban planner and architectural historian. He graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Architecture from the University of California, at Berkely, U.S.A. (1996).

He has co-authored with the late Dr.Quentin Hughes the two volumes: “Malta-The Baroque Island”(2003) and Malta-War & Peace, an Architectural Chronicle 1800-2000 (2005).

Prof Thake has published in several prestigious journals and he is a Salzburg fellow and a member of the International Committee of Architectural Critics.

He has served on the management board of various Governmental agencies such as The Development Control Commission, the Planning Appeals Board, the Mediterranean Conference Centre and the Valletta Rehabilitation Committee.

He is currently an associate professor in the Department of Art and History of Art at the University of Malta.

Janica Buhagiar graduated in History of Art at the University of Malta(2010) and completed her post-graduate studies with a Masters degree in History of Art (2013), focusing on funerary art and architecture.

She has co-authored with Prof Conrad Thake, “Ta’ Braxia Cemetery” (2017) and currently works with Heritage Malta as an assistant curator.

Besides the main analytical text, the book includes several transcripts of original archival documents and contemporary newspaper reports

There is also comprehensive photographic documentation of the cemetery complex in its present state and a specially-commissioned selection of architectural drawings comprising a general plan of the cemetery and plans, elevations, and sections of the memorial chapel.

The book will be available to those interested at a reduced price.

The free of charge lecture is open to the public and is taking place on Friday, the 1st of June, at the Santa Cecilia Chapel, starting at 6.30pm.

As usual, seats can be reserved by emailing membership@wirtghawdex.org the request.

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