In 1878 an eight thousand-strong host of British and Indian troops arrived on coast of Malta. Their encampment was vast, the peaks of neat white tents appearing almost to span the horizon. The British government had deployed the troops to defend the Mediterranean ports against a perceived threat from Russia, and Malta proved a strategic stopover point before the troops advanced to occupy Cyprus.
The main force arrived in Malta in May 1878, and soon set about preparing the camp and making new roads. The Artillery Camp and Indian Cavalry Camp at San Antonio, Attard portrays the scale of the operation, from the distant aisles of cannons to the troops industriously preparing sandbags and drawing water. Soldiers also engaged with weapons-training and sports, and they enjoyed learning more of Maltese culture and religion. Gianni alludes to engagement with Maltese customs by representing locals sporting the distinctive faldetta in the foreground of The Infantry Camp at Lazaretto, Malta.
Girolamo Gianni completed these magnificent panoramas to commemorate the arrival of the garrisons in Malta. Scenes such as these demonstrated the army’s effective operation across exotic locations, and Gianni’s scenes skilfully convey the garrison’s preparedness and anticipation for its next manoeuvre.
Our British & European Paintings specialists’ knowledge encompasses all major European art movements from the 17th to early 20th century; including genre scenes, portraiture, still life, landscape and narrative paintings from Britain, Austria, Germany, France (including the Barbizon School), Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, Malta, Poland and Russia.
As one of the United Kingdom's premier fine art auctioneers and one of the longest established in Europe, we have developed an extensive client base internationally. Frequently, artworks offered at Lyon & Turnbull will return to their point of origin, as artworks tend to be achieve their greatest appreciation and value within the culture of their creation. This is why we regularly 'tour' the highlights of the British & European Paintings auctions to London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and where appropriate further afield, with recent international destinations including Philadelphia, New York, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.