Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2010.

[p.475]

A NOTE ON PIETRO PAOLO TROISI (1686-1743)

John Debono*

P. P. Troisi: decorated silver container for the Holy Host (c. 1727) at Lija Parish Church. Cf. page 484.

Pietro Paolo Troisi is the second known Maltese artist - after Melchiorre Gafà in 1662 - who in 1704, when he was only 18 years old, followed an extensive course in design in Rome[1] at the Accademia di San Luca.[2] This artistic background alone was deserving of an extensive biography of his works and achievements. However, it was only recently that Joseph A. Briffa published a well-researched biography of Troisi who, in his lifetime, distinguished himself as an architect, designer, scenographer, silversmith, bronze sculptor, medallist and master of the mint.[3] Other short studies are not amiss.[4]

[p.476] Pietro Paolo, the second offspring of the eight children born to Carlo Antonio Troisi and Ninfa née Bison, who were married on 25 July 1684,[5] was born on 29 June 1686.[6]

The present paper is meant to add a few more details of Troisi’s achievements as highlighted in unpublished primary sources obtained mainly from the notarial archives. They treat some of his commissions with the ecclesiastical authorities in the local Baroque scene much in vogue in his lifetime. His wife’s marriage dowry, her will, together with that of her husband and the exact year of his death, besides other aspects of his private life, are being published and included for the first time in this paper.

Collaboration with Other Artists

Pietro Paolo’s two years experience at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome held him in good stead and enabled him to collaborate and work closely with contemporary local artisans, especially sculptors and stone carvers such as Pietro Paolo Zahra and the Fabri brothers, in the preparation of necessary models and designs, most notably of altar reredos conforming to the flamboyant Baroque style.

On 28 June 1710, the Minor Conventual Friars at Rabat granted permission to the Doctor of Medicine Filippo Giacomo Gauci, his mother and other family [p.477] members, due to their devotion to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, to demolish the altar dedicated to her and rebuild it at their own expense.[7] They were permitted to enhance it with stone carved ornaments and columns, including the family coat-of-arms and a new altarpiece. Within a couple of days, on 7 July, Doctor Gauci commissioned the artisan Pietro Paolo Zahra to supply the necessary stone slabs for the building of this altar and its reredos from base to ceiling including ornaments with statues, reliefs, inscriptions, a lavabo and other embellishments as prescribed in a design and a model contributed by the architect, Pietro Paolo Troisi.[8] At his suggestion, so that the church structure would not suffer any damage during the construction work involved, Zahra was to use only the pick-axe or the chisel when he was interlocking the stone slabs and toothing the sculpted ones. Moreover, once the work had started, it was not to stop in its progress and any workers employed to give a helping hand were to be first approved by Troisi though under Zahra’s personal supervision. The works were to be completed within ten months for the sum of 250 scudi,[9] of which the last payment of 60 scudi fell due on completion to the satisfaction of Troisi himself.[10] On his part, besides this amount, Doctor Gauci had to fork out the expenses connected with the construction of the foundations of this altar. Zahra was bound to use stone slabs quarried from the limits of Lija, Siġġiewi or Żebbuġ rather than from the district known as Vittoria. Finally, on termination of the work, all excess and unwanted material was to be carted away.[11]

This altar reredos has been described by Briffa as follows:

‘The reredos of the Immaculate Conception altar envelopes the painting between two fluted Corinthian pilasters each with double return pilasters. The picture is surrounded by a sculptured frame along which flowered garlands hang halfway down and two large high relief winged angels resting on clusters of clouds protrude and [p.478]reach halfway up the frame. The angels are clad in heavily folded dresses jutting out of the picture’s frame partly facing the onlooker, at the same time introducing him to the Virgin. Their protrusion out of the main pilasters, their expression and posture are purely Baroque. The one on the right is aligned higher than the other. The main pilasters carry an entablature, having a corbelled cornice and decorated frieze. Centrally over the painting and breaking the entablature is an oval medallion from which protrudes a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, radiating sculpted rays of light. The crowning cornice is a broken segmental pediment and two angels sit at its either end. A winged putti crowns the medallion. A niche is incorporated in the reredos under the painting.’[12]

It seems that the Minor Conventual Friars at Rabat were extremely satisfied with Zahra’s work because later, between 1711 and 1721, they commissioned him for more constructions of altar reredoses and their subsequent carving. Most probably, their designs were also accomplished by the architect Troisi,[13] but the deeds of obligation are silent about their authorship.

On 28 December 1711, Pietro Paolo Zahra agreed with the same friary to demolish the altar dedicated to St Francis of Paola extant in their church and rebuild it according to a design and a model consigned to him such that the carvings and ornaments were to be completed by the following 15 April at the cost of 60 scudi.[14] The necessary stone slabs required were to be quarried either from Casal Żebbuġ or from Casal Lija. This agreement included three other minor works: a two-stepped-gradine or scannello with two corbels according to a prescribed design for the altar dedicated to St Anthony and the restoration of the two puttini found on the sides of the attached niche. Zahra also had to carve two coats-of-arms according to a provided third design and to groove two pilasters for the sum of 20 scudi.

Another commission in the same church that fails to mention the authorship of the design but which most probably was drawn up by Pietro Paolo Troisi concerns embellishments to the altar dedicated to St Felice. On 4 October 1721, Pietro Paolo Zahra agreed with the Reverend Doctor of Law and canon of the Cathedral Chapter, Giovanni Francesco Mangioni, to carve the altar’s stone ornaments in conformity to those on the altar dedicated to St Stefano opposite to it.[15] Zahra had to provide the necessary stone slabs for two pedestals and carve on them, in relief, [p.479]the coat-of-arms of Mangioni, the benefactor. The work was to be completed by the following January 1722 for the sum of 55 scudi of which Zahra received 20 scudi in advance. The final 10 scudi became payable on its total completion, subject its designer's favourable approval.[16]

Troisi cooperated with Zahra in other commissions concerning altar rebuilding and its carvings, indicating a normal practice of the times. Both of them were engaged in the execution of works on the altar dedicated to St Paul the Hermit at the Balzan Parish Church. Since 1686, the Doctor of Medicine Fra Giuseppe Zammit from Valletta had interested himself in the celebration of the feast honouring this saint.[17] On 14 February 1714, he and his sister, Clara Magro, were given full responsibility of this altar and so they could enhance its decorations and organise a merited feast.[18] On 20 June 1714, these benefactors commissioned Zahra for the building and eventual carving of this altar, according to a design drawn up by Pietro Paolo Troisi, to be completed within six months for the sum of 80 scudi.[19] Troisi had to approve the final execution; otherwise, another artisan could be employed at Zahra’s expense. He received 26 scudi 8 tarì in advance while the rest fell due in two equal portions - the first one when half of the involved work was finished and the other on its total completion.[20]

Before proceeding with works on the demolition of existing altars and their rebuilding, procurators-in-charge would consult designers typical to Pietro Paolo Troisi, to prepare the necessary plans and models. These were later discussed by known capi mastri of the Order, then known also as periti. Such measures released all personal responsibility of the procurators from any future damage that could be caused to the general structure of the church.

The Doctor of Medicine Salvatore Mallia, procurator of the confraternity dedicated to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary established at Żebbuġ Parish Church, intended to demolish its old altar and rebuild a new one instead. Before proceeding with the works, he consulted Giovanni Barbara and Francesco Zerafa, the capi mastri of the Public Works of the Order, to examine the structure of the altar, with its reredos, carvings and colonnade, together with the existing state of the church walls to check whether the new reconstruction would cause them any damages.[21] After a close examination, on 24 March 1716, they reported that [p.480] this new altar with its reredos - colonnades, figures, pilasters and other details as expressed in the design - would in no way damage the general supporting framework of the church; consequently, no worry was warranted. The periti supported their conclusions on similar constructions undertaken in other parishes such as those of Casal Attard, Naxxar, Luqa, Balzan and the Oratory dedicated to St Philip Neri in Senglea. Here, although the walls were demolished right down to their foundations, no fissures were caused. It appears that this inspection was undertaken because the procurator was thinking of rebuilding this side-chapel in an apsidal form.[22]

Although this report somewhat mitigated the procurator’s anxiety, he still had his doubts. By the time the reconstruction of the altar was going to take place, Żebbuġ Parish Church was involved in the building of a charnel-house and a cistern, both newly excavated contiguously to it. The new constructions made Mallia, the procurator, think that the foundations of the side-chapel may collapse. He consulted another group of four or five periti, experts in the counselling of demolishing and rebuilding of churches and friaries, to re-examine the general structure.[23] On 8 August 1717, Lorenzo Callus, one of these periti, ‘to ease his conscience,’ declared that the intended renovation of the altar in question would in no way jeopardise the general structure of either the cupola or the church. Rather it would strengthen and repair the crack then found on the existing sidewall of this chapel, and added that filling up the fissures with bitumen would afford better protection to the charnel-house.

Still the church authorities remained unsatisfied; consequently, they sought the advice of other periti and experts. They examined the transept where this altar was to be renovated according to the presented model - most probably by Pietro Paolo Troisi - together with the charnel-house and other contiguous subterranean spaces.[24] On 12 September 1717, it was reported that the reconstruction of this altar would absolutely cause no damage to the church. Rather it would consolidate and strengthen the arches, the dome and the construction of the church itself. Moreover, they added that the pilaster adjoining the altar dedicated to the Nativity of Our Lady should remain in place.

[p.481] Having been assured of a positive opinion, the procurators of the confraternity, on 14 May 1719, the Doctor of Medicine, Salvatore Mallia, and the aromatist, Baldassare Debono, commissioned the stone carvers, Francesco and his brother Antonio Fabri from Vittoriosa, to carve this newly-rebuilt altar, situated on the right hand side of the parish church, according to the model and design drawn up by the architect Pietro Paolo Troisi.[25] Furthermore, to enhance its embellishments, the Fabris agreed to carve other ornaments as Troisi might suggest and design during the work in progress. The commissioned work was to be completed within 20 months for the sum of 450 scudi payable according to the rate of work carried out. However, the last payment was due on full completion which was to satisfy Troisi.[26] Meanwhile, the artisans bound themselves to clear and remove from the church all excess material left over after the necessary work and to repair any small damages that could have occurred.[27]

Baldassare Debono, the same procurator, had rebuilt at his own expense a small church dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows in Żebbuġ.[28] Being satisfied with the design suggestions drawn up by the architect Pietro Paolo Troisi, he again commissioned the same artisans, Francesco and Antonio Fabri, to carve two niches, dedicated respectively to St Cosimo and St Damian, and the inner part of the cupola for the sum of 40 scudi.[29] The final payment required the architect’s favourable opinion for settlement.

The above-mentioned examples eloquently manifest Troisi’s abilities. However, it must also be acknowledged that, in commissions of this kind which required a design drawn up by a professional designer, more often than not, the designer had his name omitted from the obligation. Rather, it was the phrase ‘according to the design/s supplied’ that was inserted in the obligation. It was also habitual that, when procurators were satisfied with works in reredos [p.482] already executed elsewhere, they expressed their desires more concretely by referring specifically to them so that stone carvers could then imitate them to the procurators’ satisfaction.

Pietro Paolo Troisi’s designs were at times also intended for such mediums as marble and wood as can be shown from the following examples. Qormi Parish Church was consecrated on 6 May 1731.[30] For the occasion, on 12 January 1730, Gregorio Durante was commissioned by the parish priest, Reverend Silvestro Desira, for the supply of a lapidary slab of marble to be fixed near the high altar in commemoration of this consecration.[31]Measurements were taken and, to further embellish it, its foreground and sides were to be framed according to a design drawn up by Pietro Paolo Troisi. Work on the slab was to be completed for fixture by 15 February 1730 for the sum of 45 scudi. Of this amount, 30 scudi were paid in advance with the balance handed over on completion.[32]

And again, on 3 June 1735, Reverend Giuseppe Marco Azzuppardo and Fra Domenico Gronnet, Chaplain of Obedience of the Order of St John, procurators of the altar dedicated to St John the Evangelist established in the church of Our Lady of Victory in Valletta, commissioned Giuseppe Fabri from Birgu for works in wood carving according to designs drawn up by Pietro Paolo Troisi.[33] The commission for these carving works, to be completed within 5 months for the sum of 40 scudi payable on completion, included a two-stepped gradine or scannello, its two pedestals, twelve candlesticks and vases for flowers in proportion to it, two picture-frames with two cornucopias to be placed beneath them, the wooden custodia for the Blessed Sacrament with corbels and escutcheons of the four Evangelists on it. It was also agreed that, if the cost of workmanship was to exceed twice the amount charged, then Fabri, because of his devotion to St John, was to donate the excess amount freely.[34] He had to supply the wood used in the candlesticks and the vases but other items required for the work fell under the responsibility of the procurators.

[p.483] Procurators in charge of church embellishments before the final commission was settled used to rely on the opinion of experts in these artistic skills. The reredos of the altar dedicated to the Holy Trinity found at Senglea Parish Church was already carved when, on 5 July 1721, Reverend Ludovico Fabre and Antonino Cremona, procurators of this altar, commissioned Giuseppe Scarlatti, a Sicilian artist then living in Valletta, to paint seven figures to represent this mystery on an oval-shaped sheet of canvas measuring 9 palmi in height and 6 palmi in width.[35] This painting was to be executed by the following Easter for the sum of 35 scudi payable only on the favourable opinions of Reverend Giovanni Luca, appearing on behalf of the benefactor and the consultant artisans Pietro Paolo Troisi and his colleagues Giovanni Maria Gilibert, Francesco Zerafa and Paolo Zahra. If that failed to materialise, Scarlatti was to retain the painting without pretending any payments and to compensate Reverend Giovanni Luca for the canvas supplied to him.

These instances exemplify the way skilfull artisans satisfied their clients by offering their assiduous attention to the work involved in the embellishment of churches by carving in stone and other mediums. In turn, the procurators when projecting these works so very often consulted Pietro Paolo Troisi for his personal advice and for the preparation of the necessary sketches or designs. They were thus acknowledging his ability, talents, erudition, vision and perspicacity.

A Professional Silversmith

It has already been hinted at that Pietro Paolo Troisi was also at times engaged in the silversmith’s trade,[36] learnt through apprenticeship with his father Carlo,[37] [p.484] employed in his lifetime as the Master of the Mint.[38] Pietro Paolo with his two brothers, Massimiliano and Giovanni Andrea together with their offspring, created a lineage of silversmiths spanning over a long period of years, rightly entitling them to be called a family of silversmiths. The following few transactions attest to Pietro Paolo’s masterly ability in this inherited craft.

The procurator of the altar dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary established at Senglea Parish Church commissioned him to manufacture a silver sanctuary lamp. On termination of the work, this lamp, weighing 9 libre 2 oncie 4 ottavi and stamped with the Maltese brand to attest its genuine material, was handed to Joseph Lusano, the church procurator. On 30 May 1719, Pietro Paolo acknowledged from him the receipt of 165 scudi 9 tarì.[39]

On 26 June 1727, Pietro Paolo Troisi acknowledged that Reverend Michele Michallef, acting on behalf of the Lija parish priest Reverend Giuseppe Pisani, settled all the expenses due to him for manufacturing some silver articles used during liturgical functions.[40] These articles included a small case – for the preservation of the consecrated host – weighing about 9 onze and costing 22 scudi, a pyx weighing 4 libre 6 oncie 6 ottave costing 154 scudi 4 tarì, and a chalice together with its paten weighing 2 libre 9 oncie 3 ottave costing 76 scudi 1 tarì. These three silver items were engraved with an inscription and at times gilded with gold leaves for better embellishment. The parishioners voluntarily donated towards the expenses involved.

On 16 November 1728, Pietro Paolo Troisi was commissioned by Gratiulla Falzon to manufacture a silver sanctuary lamp to be completed by June 1729

[p.485]

Five Ecclesiastical Works by P. P. Troisi

Sanctuary lamp (1733) at St Paul Collegiate Parish Church, Valletta. Cf. p. 486.

Silver cross spearhead (1726) for the banner mast of the Lija Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. Cf. p. 484, note 40.

Silver container for Holy Host, inscribed SS.mi Salvatoris Villæ Liæ 1723, at Lija Parish Church.

>

Gilded silver pyx (c. 1727) at Lija Parish Church. Cf. p. 484.

Gilded silver chalice (c. 1727) at Lija Parish Church. Cf. p. 484

[p.486] for the agreed fixed price of 1,000 scudi.[41] This price was charged for the workmanship - not exceeding 300 scudi - and part of the required silver metal. Besides, Troisi received in advance a quantity of silver, weighing 27 libre 9 oncie 2 ottavi in five ingots and the amount of 284 scudi 8 tarì 8 grani, meant to be spent on 13 libre of French silver to be melted, stamped with the Maltese brand, and used in this sanctuary lamp. Two experts, to be nominated by the parties, were to assess the price of any extra silver used in the workmanship. Gratiulla, in this deed of obligation, was appearing on behalf of and authorised by her son-in-law, Salvatore Dorel, who promised to pay Troisi the remaining balance as soon as the sanctuary lamp was consigned.[42] It was stipulated that any excess over the agreed fixed price would be allowed freely to the client and any diminution in it would be reciprocally granted to the silversmith.[43]

In 1733, a silver sanctuary lamp weighing 35 libre oncie for the High Altar of St Paul’s Parish Church in Valletta, manufactured by Pietro Paolo Troisi, was delivered to Reverend Antonio Grech, the procurator in charge.[44] Grand Master De Vilhena, because of his devotion towards St Paul, gave Troisi 10 libre of silver metal and defrayed the expenses charged for the workmanship. Silver weighing 22 libre oncie was partly obtained from melting an old sanctuary lamp and another 3 libre 3 oncie of pure metal was added to obtain the required weight of 35 libre oncie. Reverend Grech, after seeking the approval of Bishop Paolo Alpheran de Bussan, which was granted on 23 December 1733, paid the bill amounting to 60 scudi 6 tarì five days later.[45]

On 6 May 1738, Giorgio Grognet, Syndic of the Minor Friars Church in Valletta, received the amount of 50 scudi from the heirs of Baron Felicissimo Antonio de Piro who had bequeathed this sum to the altar dedicated to Baby Jesus in this church.[46] Reverend Costanzo, one of the friars of this church, before his departure from Malta, had spent the money on a commission to Pietro Paolo Troisi to produce some silver cards for this altar. On 19 June 1741 Baron Giovanni Pio de Piro attested to the Syndic that the altar cards presented to him were those ones earlier manufactured by Troisi as commissioned by Reverend Costanzo.[47]

[p.487] During the span of time spent in the workmanship of silver ornaments, most certainly Troisi deftly produced a profuse number of silver pieces. His ability was also commended by the Order of St John who recognised his versatility and fluency in his mode of expression in Baroque sculpture when he was later on employed as Master of the Mint.

Active Membership in a Confraternity

The confraternity dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel established on 13 February 1622[48] at the Carmelite Church in Valletta included, in 1741-43, around 75 enrolled members made up of skilled artisans, professional people and clergymen.[49] Pietro Paolo had been a regular member of this confraternity at least since April 1713[50] where he remained registered till his death in 1743.[51] For the years 1737 to 1743, for some unknown personal reason, he failed to pay his yearly contribution of 1 tarì 4 grani at 2 grani per month to the Cassa della Povertà. However, like other members who had failed in their annual contribution, he paid all the dues amounting to 8 tarì 8 grani at around March 1743.[52]

During regular meetings, such topics as changes in the committee officials, the professing of new members, the commissioning of embellishment works, marriage legacies to be offered to future brides and the sanctioning of the members’ shortcomings were discussed. Pietro Paolo Troisi was appointed from time to time secretary,[53] treasurer[54] and even Rector of this confraternity.[55]

Pietro Paolo, known as a skilful artist, was often consulted to give his views regarding the commissioning of works of art or other decorations. At a discussion [p.488] in this regard held on 5 February 1727, together with Reverend Alessandro Mangano, he was entrusted to oversee the embellishment of a scannello for the altar dedicated to St Agnes.[56] Indeed, this was not the only instance of this recognition for, on 28 December 1734, his advice and that of the artist Giovanni Nicola Buhagiar were also sought with regard to the repairs proposed to be undertaken on the pedestal of the statue.[57] Later, on 2 February 1735, when the membership confirmed their report, both Troisi and Buhagiar together with the procurator were authorised to check that the repairs were carried out satisfactorily.[58]

The subscriptions register (1726-44) of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Valletta.

Before embarking on an expensive major project, the confraternity members held a thorough discussion to use as much as possible the free services and workmanship of its own affiliates. In a meeting held on 19 June 1735, concerning a design for the manufacture of two silver processional lanterns, the members appointed two commissioners to oversee that the execution would be carried out advantageously by a highly skilled silversmith.[59] This task was assigned to Pietro Paolo Troisi and Andrea Martin on 22 June. It was the two member silversmiths, Antonio Bonincontro and Massimiliano Troisi (Pietro Paolo’s brother), who had offered the most advantageous tender of 60 scudi.[60] Any shortage of silver metal was to be purchased by Bonincontro against a receipt handed to Pietro Paolo for checking purposes. The commissioners were also authorised to proceed with the drawing up of the deed of obligation with the silversmiths.[61]

[p.489]

P. P. Troisi's subscription payments to the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Valletta.

Troisi’s intervention on artistic contributions and other items of interest for the confraternity continued along the years. In 1736, the Prior of the Church, Reverend Zarb, decided to pave the chapel of St Agnes on a model similar to the other chapels. On 13 May 1736, Pietro Paolo Troisi and Giovanni Francesco Dos were entrusted to check the work involved, its expense and the preparation of a report for the confraternity.[62]

Agnese Burges had left a legacy concerning some property to this confraternity. By 22 October 1738 the house, then the ordinary residence of Vincenzo Menville, needed some extensive repairs.[63] It was Pietro Paolo Troisi, Andrea Belli and Giovanni Nicola Buhagiar, three qualified persons, who were commissioned to draw up plans and suggest ways for making the property habitable.[64]

These few interventions are ample testimony to demonstrate how zealously Pietro Paolo was committed towards the confraternity.

The Pre-Nuptial Agreement

On 26 August 1716, Pietro Paolo married Magdalena Desira, daughter of the late Giovanni Nicola and Veronica from Senglea, at the parish church of Senglea.[65] [p.490] On 9 August, just 17 days prior to the actual marriage ceremony, the pre-nuptial agreement, meant to separate her wealth from that of her future husband, was agreed upon.[66] As Magdalena was an orphan, it was her brother, Reverend Gregorio Desira, who signed the deed on her behalf.

Magdalena’s parents had died intestate but it was agreed by the parties that she should receive an area of land measuring 23 tumoli in the neighbourhood of ta’ Cappar, situated at Wied il-Għajn (Marsascala), together with half of onethird of the rental value of a house at Senglea, both already in the bridegroom’s possession under the obligation of protecting these properties.

Reverend Silvestro Desira, her uncle, then parish priest at Qormi, donated to Magdalena half of the rental value of one third of another house at Senglea, together with a sum of 200 scudi receivable after his demise.[67] In his lifetime, Reverend Silvestro Desira was entitled to the usufruct of a house which was also promised to her on condition that the rent receivable would become hers within a year of her getting married.

The share of the dowry granted by Reverend Gregorio, her brother, consisted of 200 scudi, already accepted by Pietro Paolo on her behalf, and the promise of another amount of 50 scudi in movables - clothes and furniture - receivable after the marriage ceremony.[68] He bound his sister to give to Pietro Paolo the amount of 200 scudi worth in gold, silver and pearls and, after his (Rev. Gregorio's) death, to give him as well her share from his patrimony donated by his parents. Lastly, he promised her half of a third of a house inherited from their intestate father Giovanni Nicola and some articles of furniture.

On his part, Pietro Paolo promised the amount of 350 scudi in dotarium from his wealth and the safeguarding of all her dowry. Another clause stated that, if there ever arose any case for nullity of marriage, he had to hand back all the items mentioned above. Nor would he be entitled to anything from this dowry if he survived her without any offspring. Moreover, should Magdalena die childless or if her children would have no heirs of their own, then these possessions were to become the property of the closest relative, except consumable items which would then cease to constitute part of the dowry.

Pietro Paolo’s wealth was estimated at 1,000 scudi worth in money, movables and other objects. On his part, it was agreed that, if he remained childless or if his children would die without any offspring, then his wealth was to be returned to his father Carlo or to the next of kin when he passed away.

[p.491]

Pietro Paolo’s Will and Death

Pietro Paolo passed away at the age of 57 years in late March or at the beginning of April 1743 when he was still Master of the Mint.[69] Two recorded entries, while describing Troisi’s activities at the mint, expressly declare that he was already dead when they were registered. One of them relates to the expenses incurred by him from 2 July 1742 to 26 March 1743 during the minting of new copper coins.[70] The other entry adds that the ‘late’ Pietro Paolo received the newly-minted coins amounting to 7,738 scudi 10 tarì 8 grani in tarì, carlini and grani.[71] Presumably, the authorities at the mint wanted to close the accounts pertaining to Troisi’s administration that had most probably come to a sudden and unexpected end.

Confraternities, habitually after the death of their members, offered masses and prayers for the repose of their souls. A receipt dated 17 April 1743 stated that Reverend Raimondo Mercieca received 1 scudo 8 tarì for the celebration of ten masses for the repose of Pietro Paolo’s soul.[72]

On 27 March 1743, just one day on the morrow of his last attendance at the mint,[73] Pietro Paolo Troisi drew up his will.[74] Although he was sick in bed, he was in perfect mental health to draw it up without the need to refer to any documents. A clause refers to movables and immovables already reserved as dowry to his daughter, Anna Xaveria, on getting married to Baron Ignatio Grassi, according to the deed drawn up on 21 April 1742.[75] The will concedes half of his inheritance as belonging to his wife and declares null and void and without any effect any previous wills or codicils relating to donations signed earlier on.

Pietro Paolo, while commending his soul to God and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, wished that his coffin be transported by night-time to the Carmelite Church in Valletta, to be buried there in one of the graves of the confraternity dedicated to Our Lady of the Scapular of whom he was a member during his lifetime. The [p.492]funeral arrangements were to be conducted according to the wishes of his universal heirs. In accordance to prevailing custom, another clause referred to the donation of 1 tarì to each of these personalities: the Grand Master, the bishop, the clergy community and the parish priest.

Pietro Paolo appointed his son Gioacchino as a particular heir and as the sole possessor of all the material wealth and money assigned to him earlier through a deed of donation.[76]He was bequeathed another sum of 200 scudi worth in gold and silver receiveable after the demise of his mother, Magdalena.

Pietro Paolo hoped that his son would be fully satisfied without any other pretensions. Anna Xaveria was also appointed another particular heir. Apart from the dowry received on her marriage to Baron Ignatio Grassi, she was now bequeathed another 100 scudi worth of personal belongings, receivable after her mother’s death. In this case, Pietro Paolo again expressed his trust that she would also be fully satisfied with her share in conformity with her brother. Pietro Paolo appointed his wife Magdalena as his universal heir. She was bequeathed a legacy worth one half of his wealth with the faculty to dispose of it according to her wishes. She was also bound with the conditions laid down in respect of their daughter’s dowry.

The dearth of information contained in this will suggests that it was hastily drawn up. Usually, wills drawn up by similarly wealthy professional artisans, after allotting an amount of money for the offering of masses for the repose of their souls, contain lengthy information about immovables, valuable objects, implements and designs. However, in this will there is just a reference to the deeds concerning his daughter’s marriage dowry and other donations to his son. It seems that, though Pietro Paolo had the mental capacity to fully understand the situation around him, his health was deteriorating very rapidly. In consequence of her husband’s death Magdalena Troisi, on 11 May 1743, appointed her brother, Reverend Gregorio Desira, presbyter from Valletta, to compile an inventory of his belongings.[77]

Magdalena’s Will and Death

Magdalena survived her husband till January 1758[78] and drew up her will on 10 September 1755.[79] She directed that her coffin to be transported to Our Lady of [p.493] Mount Carmel Church in Valletta to be buried in a grave of the charnel-house of the confraternity dedicated to Our Lady of the Scapular without any pomp, music and extraordinary expenditure on candles. She ordered her universal heirs to spend 400 scudi in funeral expenses and in masses offered throughout one year for the repose of her soul, that of her husband Pietro Paolo and of her deceased children. She assigned 20 scudi to her personal confessor, the Reverend Carmelite Fra Ruggier, for his assistance during her lifetime.

Magdalena bequeathed one-half of a field situated at Casal Żabbar to her nephew, the cleric Giovanni Battista Giappone, or its monetary value in case of its sale, receivable after her death. Her servant Anna Zarb would receive 50 scudi only if she continued to offer her services till she passed away. She remitted to Aloisia Troisi, sister to her late husband, a past debt of 100 scudi. To another sister Giuseppa, on her husband’s side, was bequeathed the sum of 100 scudi. Magdalena’s niece, Maria Giappone, was entitled to all silk and linen worn by female folk following her demise.

Maria Grassi, her grand daughter - daughter of Baron Ignatio Grassi and of his late wife Anna Xaveria Troisi - then still a minor and living in Jaci Reale (Acireale) in Sicily was elected her particular heir, with the right to possess whatever monies, gold and silver jewellery, movables and immovables were given in dowry to her mother. The will continued to direct the way her possessions in money and in kind were to be distributed in case of childless parental relatives. Magdalena’s sister, Benedetta, was elected universal heir with the right to receive all movables and immovables left over after these legacies were fulfilled. Her children became entitled to all this wealth after the death of their mother. By means of three later codicils, Magdalena adjusted some provisions according to new circumstances.[80]

Conclusion

Pietro Paolo Troisi was a very important figure in the Baroque architectural scenario during the early decades of the eighteenth century. He was then attributed the title of an architetto though, probably, this does not imply that he excelled in structural stone buildings. Rather it is more befitting to call him the master of the designs to be followed when other artisans were commissioned for works to be carried out in different mediums - stone in altar reredos, wood in choir stalls and marble in church ornaments. The few silver artefacts alluded to in this paper again extol him to a high degree as an engraver and silversmith. Ecclesiastical authorities were very highly-cognisant of his abilities and, amongst [p.494] other commitments, he designed the surviving Altar of Repose of the Cathedral (Mdina) that is still assembled and decorated during Holy Week for the liturgical functions. Being one of the most gifted and versatile scenographers of his times, he was also entrusted with the design of the two Triumphal arches for the formal possesso in Mdina of Grand Masters Zondadari and Vilhena in 1720 and 1722 respectively.

APPENDIX

Document 1

The marriage dowry of Pietro Paolo Troisi and Magdalena Desira, 9 August 1716. NAV, Not. G. Grixti, R 311/2 (1715-18), ff. 310-317 (1715-16).
[f. 310] [In margin] Matrimonium inter Dominam Magdalenam Desira ex una, Dominum Petrum Paulum Troisi partibus ex altera
Die nona mensis Augusti jx Indictionis
millesimo septingentesimo decimo sexto a Nativitate.

Pro felici, et prospero matrimonio in Dei nomine repetito feliciter contrahendo per verba de praesenti mutuo consensu iuramento firmato hinc inde legittime intervenientibus secundum leges, et iura communia vulgariter dicto alla Greca sivè alla Romana imperpetuum, ita quod bona infrascriptorum Dominorum Sponsorum numquam confundantur, et non aliter etc. adimpletis tamen prius sollemnitatibus requisitis per Sacrum Concilium Tridentinum, et non aliter etc. inter Dominam Magdalenam puellam virginem filiam legitimam, et naturalem quondam Domini Joannis Nicolai Desira, et Veronicae olim iugalium Civitatis Sengleae Sponsam ex una parte, seu verius inter Reverendum Dominum Don Gregorium Desira fratrem utrinque coniunctum, ac concivem eiusdem Dominae Sponsae praesentem, et praesens matrimonium nomine ipsius Dominae Sponsae per verba de futuro contrahentem, pro qua de rato, ratique habitione promisit iuxta formam novi ritus Magnae Regiae Curiae etc.

Et Dominum Petrum Paulum Troisi filium [f. 310 v] legitimum, et naturalem Domini Caroli Troisi, et quondam Dominae Ninphae olim iugalium Civem Civitatis Vallettae mihi Notario infrascripto cognitum praesentem, et praesens matrimonium per verba de futuro contrahentem Sponsum parte ex altera.

Cuius quidem matrimonij contemplatione, et decoratione ac honoribus, et oneribus sustinendis praefatus Dominus Don Gregorius Desira mihi Notario infrascripto etiam cognitus praesens coram nobis commissionato nomine eiusdem Dominae Sponsae suae Sororis, pro qua de rato promisit iuxta predictam formam novi ritus Magnae Regiae Curiae etc. et eo nomine promisit, seque sollemniter obligavit, et obligat praedicto Domino Petro Paulo Sponso praesenti, et stipulanti ipsam Dominam Sponsam apportaturam esse in dotem, pro dote tituloque, et causa dotis eiusdemmet, eiusque filiorum, et descendentium imperpetuum integram partem, et portionem ad eamdem spectantem de, et ex asse haereditario supranominatorum quondam Domini Joannis Nicolai, et Veronicae eius [p.495] genitorum ab intestato defunctorum, videlicet territorium capacitatis tumminorum viginti trium situm, et positum in hac Insula Melitae in contrada tà Ved el hain appellatum tà Cappar confinatum ab oriente cum bonis haeredum quondam Domini [f. 311] Vincentij Viani, a meridione cum bonis Specialis Dominis J[uris] U[triusque] D[octorem] Petri Pauli Farrugia, ab occidente cum bonis Reverendi Domini Don Aloysij Gristi, et a septentrione cum littore maris, et alijs etc. obligatum, et obnoxium in solutione scutorum quatuor, et tarenorum duorum monetae Melitensis anno quolibet pro Jure census emphiteutici debito Dominis haeredibus quondam Perillustris Domini Joseph Cagnano, ab alijs vero oneribus francum, liberum, et exemptum etc.

Item medietatem tertiae partis loci domorum siti, et positi in dicta Civitate Senglea confinati ab oriente cum bonis ... a meridione cum bonis ... ab occidente cum bonis ... et a septentrione cum bonis ..., et alijs etc. francam, liberam, et exemptam etc.

Et constituit se praedictus Dominus Don Gregorius nomine praedicto per se, et suos etc. dicta bona ut supra dotis titulo apportanda constituti nomine, et pro parte dicti Domini Petri Pauli Sponsi nomine eiusdem Sponsae, et suorum etc. stipulantis tenere, et possidere etc.

Ad habendum etc.

[f. 311 v ] Cedens propterea, et transferens etc.

Promittens idem Dominus Don Gregorius nomine ipsius Dominae Sponsae per se, et suos successores imperpetuum bona praedicta dotis titulo apportanda dicto Domino Sponso praesenti, stipulanti semper, et omni futuro tempore legittime defendere etc.

Et de qualibet evictione se teneri voluit etc.

Et si quo futuro tempore etc.

Necessitate tamen denunciandi, laudandi etc.

Et ultra praefatus Dominus Don Gregorius Desira nomine ipsius Dominae Sponsae, et sub dicta rathi [f. 312] promissione promisit dicto Domino Petro Paulo Sponso praesenti, et stipulanti eamdam Dominam Sponsam apportaturam fore in dotem, pro dote tituloquo, et causa dotis ipsiusmet Dominae Sponsae, eiusque filiorum, et descendentium imperpetuum medietatem alterius integrae tertiae partis loci domorum supra descripti positi in dicta Civitate Senglea eiusdem Dominae Sponsae donatam ab Admodum Reverendo Domino Don Sylvestro Desira eius patruo Parocho Venerandae Ecclesiae Parochialis Casalis Curmi vigore donationis instrumenti rogati in actis Magnifici Notarij Dominici Hieronymi Bonavita die etc. Et haec medietas loci domorum praedicti ut supra in dotem apportanda cum Juribus, et pertinentijs eius omnibus, et singulis, ac cum, et sub illis clausulis, pactis, alijsque modis contentis, et expressis in eadem donatione, et non aliter, alias, nec alio modo.

Item dictus Dominus Don Gregorius nomine praedictae Dominae Sponsae dotis titulo praedictae promisit, ipsam Dominam Sponsam tradituram, ac donaturam fore dicto Domino Sponso stipulanti illa scuta ducentum de tarenis 12: pro scuto ipsimet Dominae Sponsae donata a praedicto Domino Don Sylvestro Desira eius patruo in eodem praeKalendato donationis instrumento consequenda tamen post mortem eiusdem Domini Don Sylvestri iuxta expressa in donatione praedicta.

[f. 312 v ] Praeterea superstites Dominus Don Gregorius nomine praedictae Dominae Sponsae titulo dotis praedictae obtulit, et offert dicto Domino Petro Paulo Sponso stipulanti scuta ducenta de tarenis 12: pro scuto, quae scuta 200: praefatus Dominus Petrus Paulus dixit, et confessus est se habuisse, et recepisse a dicto Domino Don Gregorio nomine dictae Dominae Sponsae stipulante in pecunia de contanti. Renuncians etc.

Item dictus Dominus Don Gregorius nomine ipsius Dominae Sponsae, et sub dicta rathi promissione promisit, convenit, seque sollemniter obligavit, et obligat, praedictam Dominam Sponsam titulo dotis [p.496] praedictae daturam, et consignaturam esse ut bancus dicto Domino Petro Paulo Sponso praesenti, et pro se eiusdemque Sponsae successoribus etc. stipulanti scuta quingenta de tarenis 12: pro scuto in tot rebus, vestibus, alijsque mobilibus consignandis statim sequuta desponsatione dictorum Dominorum Sponsorum in faciem Ecclesiae sub Sacerdotali, et Ecclesiastica Benedictione.

Item praefatus Dominus Don Gregorius nomine ipsius Dominae Sponsae promisit, convenit, seque sollemniter obligavit, et obligat praedictam Dominam Sponsam titulo dotis praedictae daturam, et consignaturam esse ut bancus dicto Domino Petro Paulo Sponso praesenti, et pro se eiusdemque Dominae Sponsae successoribus etc. stipulante scuta ducenta de tarenis 12: pro scuto in tot iocalibus aureis, argenteis, et perulis consignandis statim [f. 313] sequuta desponsatione dictorum Dominorum Sponsorum in faciem Ecclesiae sub Sacerdotali, et Ecclesiastica Benedictione.

In super praedictus Dominus Don Gregorius nomine praedictae Dominae Sponsae promisit, eamdem Dominam Sponsam per se, et suos etc. esse quoque apportaturam dotis titulo praedictae dicto Domino Petro Paulo Sponso nomine ipsius Dominae Sponsae suorumque etc. stipulanti partem, et portionem ad ipsam Dominam Sponsam spectantem de, et ex bonis titulo patrimonij eidem Domino Don Gregorio eius fratri donatis a praedictis suis genitoribus vigore huismodi donationis rogatae in actis ... die etc. in quorum successione in donatione praedicta reperitur vocata, et non aliter etc.

Pro qua Domina Sponsa absente me Notario pro ea stipulante, et ad eius preces, et rogamina de donando, et consignando dicto Domino Petro Paulo Sponso praesenti, et stipulanti dicta bona mobilia tantum ab eadem ut supra in dotem apportanda illis modo, forma, et tempore quibus supra, superdictus Dominus Don Gregorius Desira frater eiusdem Dominae Sponsae sponte fideiussit, et fideiubet, seque fideiussorem constituit, obligando se insolidum cum dicta Domina Sponsa ad consignationem, et traditionem dictorum bonorum mobilium tantum ut supra ab eadem Domina Sponsa in dotem apportandorum. [f. 313v] Renuncians etc.

Item supradictus Reverendus Dominus Don Gregorius Desira frater dictae Dominae Sponsae causa amoris dilectionis, ac benevolentiae quibus semper prosequutus est, et in dies prosequitur praedictam Dominam Magdalenam Sponsam, et ob nonnullas alias causas, et respectus eius animum digne moventes quos hic exprimere minime curavit, ea donatione, quae dicitur mera pura simplex inrevocabilis ac propter nuptias per se, et suos etc. non vi etc. sed sponte etc. dedit, donavit, et donat, ipsiusque donationis titulo licere habere concessit, et concedit, ac per tactum pennae mei Notarij infrascripti, ut moris est, assignavit, et assignat dictae Dominae Magdalenae eius sorori Sponsae absenti me Notario ac dicto Domino Sponso ab eo pro dicta Domina Sponsa suisque haeredibus, et successoribus stipulantibus ac recipientibus medietatem tertiae partis supra nominati loci domorum ad eumdem spectantem tamquam alterum cohaeredem dicti quondam Domini Joannis Nicolai sui patris ab intestato defuncti cum Juribus, et pertinentijs eius omnibus, et singulis francam, liberam, et exemptam etc.

Et constituit se dictus Dominus Don Gregorius donator per se, et suos etc.

[f. 314] Ad habendum etc.

Cedens propterea, et transferens etc.

Promittens praedictus Dominus Don Gregorius donator per se, et suos etc. eidem Dominae Sponsae suae sorori absenti, me Notario ac dicto Domino Sponso pro ipsa Domina Sponsa suisque etc. stipulantibus dictam medietatem loci domorum prae expressi supra donatam semper, et omni futuro tempore legittime defendere etc.

Et de qualibet evictione se teneri voluit etc. Et si quo venturo tempore etc.

[f. 314v] Necessitate tamen denunciandi, laudandi etc.

[p.497] Et quia supra nominatus Reverendus Dominus Don Sylvester Desira gaudet, et gaudere debet sua vita durante usufructum supranominati integri loci domorum vigore dispositionis quondam Baptistae Desira eius patris, et respective dicto Domino Don Gregorij, et Magdalenae Sponsae avi paterni. Ideo ipse Reverendus Dominus Don Gregorius Desira vigore praesentis omnique alio meliori modo etc. titulo dotis praedictae promisit, seque sollemniter obligavit, et obligat dare, et correspondere quolibet anno de proprio usque ad mortem praefati Domini Don Sylvestri ut bancus dicto Domino Petro Paulo Sponso praesenti, et nomine dictae Sponsae suorumque etc. stipulanti nomine fructus tam partis, et portionis loci domorum praedicti spectantis ad dictam Dominam Sponsam, et ab eadem in dotem ut supra apportatae, quam alterius partis, et portionis eiusdem loci domorum ad praedictum Dominum Don Gregorium spectantis, et ab ipsomet ut supra praedictae Dominae Sponsae donatae affictum seu pensionem ratae partis praedictarum portionum ad rationem prout est, et in futurum [f. 315] erit ad loherium concessa integra domus praedictae, incipiendo solvere, et primam solutionem facere post lapsum anni unius a die sequutae desponsationis dictorum Dominorum Sponsorum in faciem Ecclesiae sub Sacerdotali, et Ecclesiastica benedictione in antea enumerandi, et deinde anno quolibet successive, et integre continuando per modum ut supra, et non deficiendo sine aliqua exceptione etc.

Promittens dictus Dominus Petrus Paulus dictas dotes, et bona supra dotatas, et dotata bene regere, et conservare, et in casu dissolutionis praesentis matrimonij illas, et illa restituere dictae Dominae Sponsae absenti, me Notario pro ea stipulante una cum dodario infrascripto, dictamquae Dominam Sponsam capere, et tractare in eius caram, et dilectam uxorem illamqua, subarrare, et desponsare in faciem Ecclesiae sub Ecclesiastica, et Sacerdotali benedictione iuxta Sacrorum Canonum instituta, et cum ea matrimorium praedictum ad morem iam dictum consumare; Cui Dominae Sponsae absenti me Notario pro ea legittime stipulante praedictus Dominus Petrus Paulus Sponsus constituit in dodarium, et ipsius dodarij titulo, et causa dare, et solvere promisit convenit, seque sollemniter obligavit, et obligat ut bancus scuta tercentum et quinquaginta [f. 315v] de tarenis 12: pro scuto casu quo dictus Sponsus praemoriretur dictae Dominae Sponsae premoriente vero dicta Domina Sponsa Sponso, Sponsus ipse tali casu ad dodarium praedictum minime teneatur, et non alias, aliter, nec alio modo.

Sub infrascriptis tamen pactis legibus, et conditionibus, et primo, quod bona acquirenda per dictos Dominos Sponsos constante praesenti eorum matrimonio intelligantur, et sint inter eos communia scilicet quilibet ipsorum Sponsorum participet, et participare debeat pro una medietate, sic enim dicendum in casu damni seu perditae (quod absit) in eo casu quilibet ipsorum Dominorum Sponsorum participet, et participare debeat de ipso damno, et perdita prout de lucro praedicto, et non aliter etc.

Item quod in casu decessus dictae Dominae Sponsae sine filijs legittimis, et naturalibus de suo corpore legittime descendentibus, et ab intestato ac absque ulla dispositione, et alienatione vel cum filijs, et dicti filij mori contigerint sine filijs legittimis et naturalibus de eorum corporibus pariter legittime descendentibus, et ab intestato, ac absque ulla dispositione, et alienatione, tali casu bona dictae Dominae Sponsae perveniant, et pervenire debeant ad proximiores eiusdem in [f. 316] gradu consanguinitatis iuxta regulam successionis ab intestato nulla retenta nec detracta legittima ex parte dicti Domini Sponsi eiusque haeredum ac successorum aut aliorum quorumvis succedere debentium.

Et e converso praefatus Dominus Petrus Paulus Sponsus se ipsum dotando apportavit, et apportat scuta mille de tarenis duodecim pro scuto in tot mobilibus, pecunijs, alijsque effectibus in eius posse existentibus.

Cum infrascriptis tamen pactis etc. et primo quod in casu restitutionis dotium praedictorum quo ad res, quae usu, et servitio consumuntur teneatur dictus Dominus Sponsus restituere prout in [p. 498] esse reperirentur ita quod ad restitutionem verum consumptarum idem Dominus Sponsus minime teneatur, et non aliter etc.

Item quod in casu decessus praedicti Domini Sponsi sine filijs legittimis, et naturalibus de suo corpore legittime descendentibus, et absque ulla dispositione, et alienatione vel cum filijs dictique filij mori contigerint sine filijs legittimis, et naturalibus de eorum corporibus pariter legittime descendentibus, et ab intestato ac absque ulla dispositione et alienatione, tali casu bona dicti Domini Sponsi perveniant, et pervenire debeant ad dictum Dominum Carolum Troisi patrem dicti Domini [f. 316v] Sponsi si fuerit in humanis sin minus ad eiusdem Domini Sponsi proximiores in gradu consanguinitatis iuxta regulam successionis ab intestato nulla retenta nec detracta legittima ex parte dictae Dominae Sponsae eiusque haeredum ac successorum aut aliorum quorumvis succedere debentium.

Quod quidem matrimonium omniaque, et singula superdicta etc.

Juraverunt scilicet Dominus Don Gregorius tacto pectore more Sacerdotali alter vero tactis etc. Unde etc.

[f. 317] Actum Melitae in hac Civitate Senglea praesentibus Domino Gaspare Dole, Domino Alexandro Debono filio quondam magnifici Notarij Paschalis Debono, et Domino Vincentio Minvilla filio quondam Joannis Baptistae omnibus de Civitate Valletta testibus ad praemissa vocatis habitis atque rogatis.

Document 2

Will of Pietro Paolo Troisi, 27 March 1743: NAV, Not. F. Alessi, R 14/19, ff. 594v-596v.

[f. 594v] [In margin] Testamentum Domini Petri Pauli Troisi

Eodem die xxvij mensis Martij vj Indictionis millesimo
septingentesimo quadragesimo tertio hora secunda post
solis occasum tribus luminibus accensis iuxta juris dispositionem

In Dei nomine Amen Notum facimus, et testamur quod Dominus Petrus Paulus Troisi quondam Caroli civis huius Civitatis Vallettae mihi Notario cognito praesens coram nobis iacens in lecto licet corpore languens sanus Dei gratia mente, sensibus, et intellectu, suaequae proprie rationis bene compos existens sciens se universali lege esse morti subiectum, et quondocunque ab hoc saecule migraturum timens Divinum iudicium aliquando repentinum cum nil sit certius morte, nilque incertius ipsius mortis hora, cupiens ideo dum vitae terminus et memoriae integritas sibi instant de bonis suis sibi a Deo collatis salubriter disponere, etiam de illis bonis, et iuribus per eum reservatis, et respective dotatis Dominae Annae Xaveriae Troisi suae filiae contemplatione eius matrimonij cum Illustrissimo Domino Barone Don Ignatio Grassi vigore contractus matrimonialis rogati per acta mea sub die xxj mensis Aprilis ultimo fluxi anni 1742 de quibus ipse Dominus Petrus Paulus facultatem disponendi habet, et sibi reservavit ac saluti Animae suae providere, cassans prius, et revocans ac viribus omnibus evacuans omnia, et quaecunque testamenta, codicillos, donationes causa mortis, aliasque ultimas voluntates per eum hactenus conditis atque factis tam verbis derogatoris, et caelatis quam aliter quomodocunque, et qualitercunque, ac omnes, et quascunque dispositiones ita quas, [p.499] ut profanas in eis adiectas praesens suum nuncupativum [f. 595] et sine scriptis condidit atque fecit testamentum, quem caeteris omnibus praevalere voluit, et obtinere iussit omnimodam roboris firmitatem.

In primis praefatus Dominus Petrus Paulus Testator commendavit animam suam Altissimo, et Immortali Deo, ac Beatissimae eius matri semper Virgini Mariae, totiquae Curiae caelesti, cadaver vero suum e domo ad sepulturam deferri tempore nocturno, et sepelliri voluit in Veneranda Ecclesia Conventuali sub titulo Sanctae Mariae de Monte Carmelo huius praedictae Civitatis Vallettae, et in sepulcro Confratrum dictae Beatissimae Virginis Mariae de Monte Carmelo inter quos ipse Dominus Testator adscriptus reperitur, et non aliter etc.

Item superdictus Dominus Petrus Paulus Testator voluit, et expresse mandavit funeralia sibi fieri debere ad arbitrium, et iuxta voluntatem infrascriptae Dominae haeredis universalis, et non aliter etc.

Item dictus Dominus Petrus Paulus Testator legavit, et iure recognitionis reliquit Serenissimo Domino Magno Magistro Ordinis Sacrae Joannis Hierosolimitanae Principi nostro dignissimo tarenum unum, totidem Illustrissimo, et Reverendissimo Domino Antistiti nostro Melitensi, totidem Reverendo Clero sive Communiae, et tantundem Admodum Reverendo Domino suo curato semel tantum consequendum etc. pro omni, et quomodocunque iure etc.

Item praefatus Dominus Petrus Paulus Testator instituit haeredem particularem Dominum Joachinum Troisi suum, et Dominae Magdalenea Desira suae coniugis filium legitimum, et naturalem de hac praedicta Civitatae Valletta in illis bonis, et pecunijs alias dicto Domini Joachimo per dictum Dominum Testatorem donatis, et assignatis vigore contractus donationis rogati per acta mea sub [f. 595v] die xviij praecitati mensis Aprilis 1742, et ultra in scutis biscentum de tarenis 12: pro scuto in tot iocalibus auri, et argenti per dictum Dominum Joachimum habendis, et consequendis secuto obitu dictae Dominae Magdalenea eius matris, et hoc pro omnibus, et quibuscunque iuribus, et actionibus eidem Domino Joachimo competentibus, et competituris in et super bonis dicti Domini Testatoris eius patris tam pro iure naturae successionis, et legittimae paternae supplementi ipsius legittimae consuetudinario huius Insulae Melitae quam aliter quomodocunque, et qualitercunque, ac vigore aliorum quarumvis jurium testamentorum, codicillorum, donatorum, instrumentorum, et scripturarum etc. Volens, et mandans eundem Dominum Joachimum fore, et esse contentum tacitum, et satisfactum de praesenti institutione, et quod nil ultra super bonis dicti Domini Testatoris eius patris petere, consequi, et praetendere possit, et non aliter etc.

Item superdictus Dominus Petrus Paulus Testatore instituit haeredem particularem Dominam Annam Xaveriam Troisi suam, et dictae Dominae Magdalenae Desira suae coniugi filiam legittimam, et naturalem uxorem dicti Domini Baronis Don Ignatij Grassi de hac praedicta Civitate Valletta in illis diebus alias per dictum Dominum Testatorem assignatis contemplatione eius matrimonij cum praedicto Domino Barone Don Ignatio Grassi vigore praecitati contractus matrimonialis (excepta medietate omnium, et singulorum ac quorumcunque bonorum, praetensionum, et iurium haereditariorum dicti Domini Testatoris dotata praedictae Dominae Annae Xaveriae vigore praecitati contractus matrimonialis sub reservatione de illa disponendi, quae non intelligatur comprehensa in praesenti institutione, sed reservata ut de ea ipse Dominus Testator disponat ut infra, et non aliter etc.) et ultro in [f. 596] scutis centum de tarenis 12: pro scuto in tot rebus, et raubis per dictam Dominam Annam Xaveriam habendis, et consequendis secuto obitu dictae Dominae Magdalenea eius matris, et hoc pro omnibus, et quibuscunque iuribus, et actionibus eidem Dominae Xaveriae competentibus, et competituris in, et super bonis dicti Domini Testatoris eius patris tam pro iure naturae successionis, et legittimae paternae supplementi ipsius legittime consuetudinariae huius Insulae Melitae quam aliter quomoducunque, ac vigore aliorum quarumvis iurium testamentorum, codicillorum, donationum, instrumentorum, et scripturorum etc. Volens, et mandans eundem Dominam Annam Xaveriam fore, [p.500] et esse contentam, tacitam, et satisfactam de praesenti institutione, et quod nil ultra super bonis dicti Domini Testatoris eius patris petere, consequi, et praetendere possit, et non aliter etc.

Item praedictus Dominus Petrus Paulus Testator praelegavit, et praelegati titulo reliquit dictae Dominae Magdalenae suae uxori filiae quondam Joannis Nicolai Desijra de praedicta Civitate Valletta medietatem illam omnium, et singulorum ac quorumcunque bonorum praetensionum, et iurium haereditariorum ipsius Domini Testatori dotarum praedictae Dominae Annae Xaveriae Troisi contemplatione eius matrimonij cum praedicto Domino Barone Ignatio Grassi cum facultate de ea disponendi quoniam idem Dominus Testator sic voluit, et non aliter.

Super reliquis vero bonis suis omnibus, et singulis mobilibus, et stabilibus pecunijs, iocalibus auri, et argenti nominibus debitorum, iuribus, et actionibus ac praetensionibus universis praesentibus, et futuris praefatus Dominus Petrus Paulus Troisi Testator instituit, fecit, creavit, et suo proprio ore [f. 596v] nominavit, et nominat haeredem universalem supradictam Dominam Magdalenam Desyra suam uxorem. Adhimens omne ius falcidiae, et quartae trebellianicae quod in praesenti testamento noluit habere locum, et non aliter etc.

Et haec est eius ultima voluntas, quam valere voluit iure testamenti nuncupativi, et si iure testamenti nuncupativi non valeret valeat, et valere voluit iure codicillorum, et si iure codicillorum minus valeret, valeat, et valere voluit iure donationis causa mortis, omnique alio meliori modo, quo de iure valere poterit, et valebit.

Actum, lectum, perfectum, et publicatum fuit et est praesentes nuncupativum testamentum per me Notarium infrascriptum Melitae in hac Civitate Valletta, et in domo solitae habitationis dicti Domini Testatoris praesentibus magistro Aloysio Bociut quondam Antonij, Vincentio Agius filio Balthassaris, Aloysio Assenza quondam Simonis, Joseph Mizzi quondam Hieronymi, Laurentio Camilleri quondam Mariutij, Paulo Tabone quondam Nicolai, et Aloysio Ligatu filio Michaelis omnibus de praedicta Civitate Valletta testibus ad praemissa vocatis et ore proprio praedicti Domini Testatoris rogatis etc.


* Dr John Debono, formerly a teacher of History and currently an Assistant Head of School within the Maltese Education Division, read History at the University of Malta from where he graduated BA(Hons), MA and PhD. He has published a number of academic papers that include: The Cotton Trade of Malta 1750-1800; The Wine Trade of Malta in the 18th Century; The Protection of Maltese Shipping: A Late 18th Century Report; The Will of Francesco Zahra; An Inventory of Alessio Erardi’s Paintings and Books; The High Altar of Żebbuġ Parish Church, Malta; and A short Note on the Artist Giuseppe Hyzler (1787-1858). Dr Debono has also published two books: Trade and Port Activity in Malta 1750-1800, Malta 2000; and Art and Artisans in St John’s and Other Churches in the Maltese Islands ca. 1650-1800, Malta 2005.

[1] On 21 July 1716, a couple of weeks prior to his marriage, Pietro Paolo, on presenting his declaration of stato libero at the Bishop’s Curia, stated that he had spent two years at the Accademia: Cathedral Archives at Mdina (CAM), Acta Originalia (AO), Vol. 739, ff. 325-327

[2] For further details on Pietro Paolo’s success at the Accademia, cf. K. Sciberras, Roman Baroque Sculpture for the Knights of Malta, Malta 2004, 41-2

[3] J. A. Briffa, Pietro Paolo Troisi (1686-1750) A Maltese Baroque Artist, Malta 2009.

[4] P. P. Castagna, Lis storja Ta Malta Bil Gzejer Tahha, i, Ed.Facsimile, Malta 1985, 249; J. Azzopardi, ‘Is-Sepulkru tal-Kattidral’, Leħen Is-Sewwa (Malta), 21 March 1970; D. De Lucca, Mdina - A History of its Urban Space and Architecture, Malta 1995, 81, 85, 107 and 109-10; T. Conrad, ‘Architectural Scenography in 18th-Century Mdina’, in Proceedings of History Week 1994, ed. S. Fiorni, Malta 1996, 63-73; W. Zammit, ‘A Secret Society in Early Eighteenth-Century Malta: The Troisi Connection’, Melita Historica, xii, 3 (1998), 309-22; D. De Lucca, Carapecchia - Master of Baroque Architecture in early Eighteenth Century Malta, Malta 1999, 39 and 182-83; G. Bonello,’Pietro Paolo Trosi - The Quest for a Gifted Artist’, in Art in Malta Discoveries and Recoveries, Malta 1999, 112-24

[5] Parish Archives St Dominic Valletta (PADV), Liber Matrimoniorum, Vol. iv (1666-89), f. 228v. On 9 July 1684, just a couple of days before the actual marriage ceremony took place, a dowry settlement was drawn up. Ninfa was an orphan; consequently it was her grandfather, Pietro Massa, who appeared on her behalf. Pietro, then the Master of the Mint, petitioned the Grand Master to pass on this responsibility to Carlo Troisi for the monthly salary of 5 scudi, a request granted on 5 July. Meanwhile, he would still reside for the remainder of his lifetime in the same premises. He bequeathed immovables worth 500 scudi to be estimated by experts. Before the passing away of his wife Margarita, Massa had agreed with her to bequeath between 400 and 500 scudi in clothes, furniture and other household needs to Ninfa’s future husband. Now that the marriage date was approaching, Carlo was to receive 100 scudi worth of gold and silver articles. The settlement also included two slaves each of whom was worth 200 scudi, partly-used furniture described in an inventory held at the Magna Curia Castellania worth 800 scudi and another 100 scudi worth of gold and silver articles. On her getting married to Pietro Massa, Margarita was also promised 1,000 scudi in her dowry, a debt due from Salvatore Ubac and another sum of 200 scudi due from Agostino Vial, registered in the acts of the Tribunal of the Armamenti. These two amounts were also to form part of Ninfa’s dowry. Massa’s sister, Clara, could not be bereft of her right to continue dwelling in their communal home if he died before her: Notarial Archives at Valletta (NAV), Not(ary). T. Agius, R 11/61, ff. 772-775v. The petition presented by Pietro Massa to transfer his responsibility at the mint to Carlo Troisi which was acceded to on 5 July 1684 could not be traced in the National Library of Malta, Archives of the Order of St John in Malta (AOM) 1185, Suppliche 1650-89. The manuscript contains only four petitions for the year 1684. Pietro Massa was then the administrator of Ninfa’s wealth as she was considered a minor before the law - only 16 and a half years old: NAV, Not. T. Agius, R 11/61, ff. 712- 714v, 14 June 1684. Pietro Massa drew up his first will on 1 September 1687 with Not. Tommaso Agius, only to revoke it later, on 21 May 1693, when Carlo Troisi was appointed as his universal heir: NAV, Not. G. Simon, R 442/5, ff. 622v-625.

[6] On 2 July 1686, Pietro Paolo was baptized: PADV, Liber Baptizatorum, Vol. iii (1679-98), f. 156v. A second copy of this entry is also found in Liber Baptizatorum, Vol. iii (1675-90), p. 469.

[7] The Reverend Friars, as a sign of gratitude for this charitable deed, assigned the grave marked number one situated in front of this altar to Gauci and his heirs. They were also permitted to enlarge and extend it up to under their altar and cover it with an inscribed tombstone: NAV, Not. G. Grech R 302/2, ff. 867v-870.

[8] Ibid., ff. 883-885. See also A. Bonnici, ‘Mary Immaculate in the Churches of the Franciscans Minor Conventual in the XVII and XVIII Centuries’, in Marian Devotions in the Islands of St Paul 1600-1800, ed. V. Borg, Malta 1983, 270

[9] On 8 July 1710, the morrow of the signing of the commission, Pietro Paolo Zahra acknowledged the receipt of 90 scudi in part payment from the Doctor of Medicine, Filippo Giacomo Gauci: NAV, Not. G. Grech R 302/2, ff. 885-885v.

[10] On 25 April 1711, Paolo Zahra acknowledged Gauci with the receipt of the final balance of 160 scudi still due from the total amount of 250 scudi: NAV, Not. I. Debono, R 210/26, ff. 833-833v

[11] Along the years, more ornaments were added. On 15 September 1722, the Reverend Friar Lorenzo Borg, procurator of the Minor Conventuals Friars at Rabat, declared that since 20 May 1720 he had received the sum of 8 scudi 3 tarì 15 grani from Doctor Gauci in order to satisfy debts due to Pietro Paolo Zahra for some decorations on the hem of the statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception: ibid., R 210/47, ff. 40v-41

[12] Briffa, 76

[13] Ibid

[14] An amount of 25 scudi was to be paid on commencement of the work involved, another half of the remaining sum when one-half of it was completed and the balance on full completion on approval by the person who had drawn up the design: NAV, Not. I. Debono, R 210/ 27, ff. 442-443v

[15] Ibid., R 210/45, ff. 161v-162v

[16] On 21 March 1722, Paolo Zahra acknowledged the receipt of 35 scudi in final settlement from the Reverend Friar Giovanni Paolo Agius acting on behalf of the Reverend Giovanni Francesco Mangioni: ibid., ff. 162v- 163

[17] For further details, see Ġ. Dimech, Ħal Balzan Ġrajjietu sa l-1999, Malta 2004, 105-8

[18] NAV, Not. G. Callus, R 126/27, ff. 407v-409v

[19] Ibid., ff. 761v-762v

[20] On 22 September 1714, Zahra acknowledged the receipt of 26 scudi 8 tarì from Zammit: ibid., f. 761v, a marginal entry. Three months later, on 12 January 1715, Zahra again acknowledged the receipt of of 26 scudi 8 tarì from Zammit: ibid., f. 761v, a marginal entry

[21] NAV, Not. G. Grech, R 303/5, ff. 946-947

[22] In 1679 the Cathedral Chapter appointed Lorenzo Gafà to draw up a plan embodying a sumptuous choir on the Baroque idiom, so much in vogue in those years. In imitation to the Cathedral, these new aspects in architectural designs in the apsidal space gave the new parish churches, such as those of Siġġiewi, Żejtun and Birgu, a more elegant form than that prevailing in the older parishes: L. Mahoney, A History of Maltese Architecture, Malta 1988, 233-44. See also, M. Buhagiar and S. Fiorini, Mdina The Cathedral City of Malta, i, Malta 1996, 217-25. On Żebbuġ Parish Church, see L. Vella, Storja ta’ Ħaż-Żebbuġ, Malta 1986, 43-4; F. Sammut, Ġrajjet Ħaż-Żebbuġ bit-Taljan ta’ Dun Salv Ciappara maqluba għall-Malti minn Frans Sammut, Malta 2001, 81; and S. Caruana, Il-Parroċċa ta’ Ħaż-Żebbuġ – Ġabra ta’ Kitbiet, Malta 2010, 27-8

[23] NAV, Not. A. Pullicino, R 408/3, ff. 669-670

[24]The experts were Francesco Zerafa, Mario Pullicino, Giuseppe Casanova, Domenico Mamo, Francesco Mamo, Pietro Mallia, Giovanni Maria Caruana and Michael Micallef: Archiepiscopal Archives, Floriana, Atti Civili, Vol. 79 (1717-18), ff. 14-14v.

[25] NAV, Not. I. Debono, R 210/40, ff. 907v-909

[26] On 19 October 1720 the Fabri artisans acknowledged the receipt of 450 scudi together with a sum of 10 scudi 2 tarì in gratitude paid on different occasions: NAV, Not. A. Pullicino, R 408/6, ff. 82v-83. Certainly, these amounts of money were partially raised from benefactors such as Flaminia Vassallo who declared, but without any public writing, a bequest of 100 scudi towards these expenses. On 28 October 1720, Baldassare Debono, one of the procurators, received a third of this amount: ibid., ff. 99-99v

[27] Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, the reredos of this altar was nearly all destroyed in 1903: Vella, 44. Perhaps the main reason for this wanton destruction was due to the Nazarene Movement which had established itself in Rome in the first quarter of the nineteenth century and took over from the Baroque on the excuse that it reduces reverence to God and of being insincere. This altar was not unique in this untoward event, for altars in other Maltese churches suffered a similar fate. Besides, a new painting of Our Lady of the Rosary by Lazzaro Pisani, an ardent follower of the Movement, had just been put in place. It was opined that the carving work was not in conformity with the painting, and was therefore removed. For further details, see J. Debono, ‘A Short Note on the Artist Giuseppe Hyzler (1787 - 1858)’, Melita Historica, xv, 1, 2008, 55-72 and idem, ‘Tagħrif fuq xi Xogħol Skulturali fil-Knisja Parrokkjali ta’ Ħal Tarxien’, in Il-Knisja Parrokkjali ta’ Ħal Tarxien 1610-2010, V. Borg, et. al., Malta 2010, 99-107

[28] For further details on this church, see Vella, 41 and Sammut, 31

[29] NAV, Not. I. Debono, R 210/40, ff. 909v-910, 14 May 1719

[30] For further details, see Ġ. Schembri, ‘250 Sena Ilu - Il-Konsagrazzjoni tal-Knisja ta’ San Ġorġ’, Bejnietna, Nru. 4, Malta 1981, 4-6. See also idem, ‘Mill-Ħajja Reliġjuża u Soċjali tal-Parroċċa San Ġorġ’, in Il-Knisja Parrokkjali ta’ San Ġorġ f’Ħal Qormi - Erba’ Sekli ta’ Storja, ed. J. F. Grima, Malta 1984, 111-12.

[31] NAV, Not. C. Bartolo, R 49/8, ff. 294-295. Three months later, on 12 March, thirteen marble medallions, similar in quality, workmanship and form to the one shown to the procurators and parish priest, were to be executed by the same artisan Gregorio Durante. These roundels, to be collocated in time for the consecration with the assistance of Durante himself, were to be completed by the end of the following August at a cost of 9 scudi 6 tarì each. An amount of 50 scudi was paid in advance while the remaining balance fell due during the Christmas season: ibid., ff. 415-416. On 10 December 1730, Durante acknowledged the receipt of the balance of 88 scudi 6 tarì from Reverend Gioacchino Cammilleri: ibid., ff. 415-415v, a marginal deed

[32] On 24 February 1731, Durante acknowledged the receipt of 15 scudi from Reverend Desira: ibid., f. 294, a marginal deed. It may be mentioned here that Desira was an uncle of Troisi’s wife Magdalena: see infra p. 490

[33] NAV, Not. G. Callus, R 126/40 (1734-36), ff. 377-378 (1734-35)

[34] On 6 June 1735, Fabri acknowledged the receipt of 20 scudi in part payment from Reverend Giuseppe Marco Azzuppardo: ibid., ff. 378-378v. Four months later, on 28 October, Fabri acknowledged the receipt of the remaining balance of 20 scudi: ibid., f. 377, a marginal deed

[35] NAV, Not. A. Vivieri, R 486/6, ff. 487-488v

[36] On the general history of silver pieces and silversmiths in Malta, see V. Denaro, The Goldsmiths of Malta and Their Marks, Florence 1972; J. Farrugia, Antique Maltese Domestic Silver, Malta 1992; A. Apap Bologna, The Silver of Malta, Malta 1995; M. Micallef (ed.), Silver and Banqueting in Malta, Malta 1995; J. Farrugia, Antique Maltese Ecclesiastical Silver, 2 vols., Malta 2001

[37] That Carlo was an acknowledged dexterous silversmith can be eloquently manifested. He manufactured the Sacrament’s throne for St John’s Conventual Church for which, on 8 March 1691, he received the final payment of 246 scudi 9 tarì 10 grani: Sciberras, 182-84. On 10 October 1680, Carlo received from Fra Ignatio Carceppo, procurator of St Paul’s Grotto, a part payment of 154 scudi 4 tarì 15 grani for four silver candlesticks intended for its altar: NAV, Not. G. Callus, R 125/29, ff. 221v-222. Four years later, on 1 February 1684, Carlo received a further payment of 161 scudi 3 tarì towards the same candlesticks from Reverend Giuseppe Magro, procurator of St Paul’s Grotto: ibid., R 125/32, ff. 629v-630. Carlo manufactured a set of six candlesticks, weighing 35 libre onze, for the altar of the Holy Infirmary of the Order for which, on 7 May 1707, he received the sum of 779 scudi 3 tarì: NAV, Not. G.D. Chircop, R 182/9, ff. 1139-1139v. Along the years, the Order of St John embellished their Conventual Church with more silver artefacts. Following a design and a model drawn up by himself, on 19 February 1710, Carlo was commissioned by Fra Romeo Fardella to manufacture a silver chandelier with its adjoining spouts. For this workmanship, he received 78 libre 9 onze of domestic silver ware to be melted and cast: NAV, Not. G. Zammit, R 499/2 (1709-12), ff. 217v-218 (1709-10). This chandelier took a long time for delivery for, on a number of occasions, he received more substantial quantities of German, Sicilian or Italian silver besides currency from Sicily, Spain and Genoa: NAV, Not. G. D. Chircop, R 182/14, ff. 389v-390v, 21 November 1711; ff. 723v-724, 13 February 1712; ff. 789-789v, 24 February 1712 and ibid., R 182/15, ff. 137-137v, 6 October 1712; f. 527v, 22 February 1713; ff. 527v-528, 23 February 1713 and ff. 1072v-1073, 26 August 1713. The Balì of Manousca, Fra Anselmo de Cays, commissioned Carlo Troisi, on 10 May 1710, to produce a silver candlestick to be completed by September 1711 for the altar of St Michael of the Langue of Provence similar to that already made for the Grand Master. Besides, Carlo had to manufacture a silver antependium for the same altar on presented designs, similar to that of the altar of Our Lady of Philermos. For these works, Carlo was to be provided with the silver metal and other necessary materials: ibid., R 182/12, ff. 1385v-1387. By 8 April 1712, Carlo Troisi had received a part payment of 350 scudi for his workmanship on an encasing box and its pedestal for a reliquary containing a small part from the cradle in which it was thought Our Lord used to sleep. It took about two years to be completed for, on 2 January 1714, Troisi received the sum of 611 scudi 10 tarì 8 grani being the final balance from a total amount of 1,162 scudi 11 tarì 11 grani from Fra Francesco Saverio Azzoni on behalf of Fra Tomaso del Bene. Two medallions in bass relief on the facade of the pedestal represented the birth of St John the Baptist and the Visit of the Three Kings to Our Lord. The deed also comprises a list of expenses incurred: NAV, Not. G. Callus, R 126/27, ff. 297-300. Carlo Troisi’s professionalism in manufacturing these silver pieces, besides so many others, amply testify to his abilities

[38] AOM 1187, Suppliche 1722-1735, ff. 226/247. For further details, cf. Briffa, 58-60

[39] NAV, Not. A. Vivieri, R 487/4, ff. 638-638v

[40] NAV, Not. G. M. Felice, R 259/21, ff. 263-264v. In 1726, the silver cross spearhead for the mast of the banner of the confraternity of the Holy Rosary was also commissioned to Troisi: Briffa, 70-71. At around 1727, Troisi drew the design of the choir stalls for which he received 9 scudi: for further details see V. Borg, ‘Il-Knisja Parrokkjali ta’ Ħal Lija sa Jum il-Konsagrazzjoni Tagħha’, in Il-Knisja Parrokkjali ta’ Ħal Lija Storja - Arkitettura - Pittura, ed. V. Borg, Malta 1982, 26

[41] NAV, Not. A. Pace, R 386/12, ff. 106-107v

[42] Gratiulla’s son, the Reverend Canon of the Cathedral, Giovanni Francesco Falzon, bequeathed a legacy of money to donate a silver sanctuary lamp to the altar dedicated to the Apostle St Paul extant in the Cathedral: NAV, Not. I. Debono, ff. 625-630v esp. f. 628, 26 July 1728

[43] On 28 October 1729, Troisi acknowledged the receipt of 100 scudi in part payment: NAV, Not. A. Pace, R 386/13, ff. 100v-101. The price of the silver sanctuary lamp had risen to 1,191 scudi 6 tarì 1 grano. On 10 January 1730, Troisi acknowledged the receipt of the last remaining balance of 315 scudi: ibid., R 386/12, ff. 106-106v, a marginal deed

[44] NAV, Not. F. Alfano, R 15/6, ff. 190-191, 28 December 1733.

[45] A receipt describes how 26 scudi 6 tarì were paid for 1 libra 3 oncie 7 ottavi, 31 scudi 6 tarì for 1 libra 6 oncie 7 ottavi and 2 scudi 6 tarì for some additional copper and screws used up in decoration: ibid

[46] NAV, Not. G. D. Chircop, R 182/40, ff. 523v-524v.

[47] NAV, Not. O. V. Grillet Sciberras, R 308/1, ff. 649-649v

[48] For further details on this confraternity, see L. M. Sammut, Is-Santwarju tal-Karmnu, Malta 1952, 163-66.

[49]Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Archives at Valletta (CCAV), MS. 86, Libro de Conti della Cassa della Povertà da 1 Aprile 1725 a tutto Agosto 1762, no foliation, under ‘Conto che rende Giorgio Mercicha per la Procura della Cassa della Povertà, da lui Amministrata il primo Aprile 1741 a tutto Marzo 1743’. A similar copy of these bills for the years 1741 to March 1743 is found in MS. 88, Libro dei Conti della Cassa di Povertà da April 1725 a tutto Agosto 1769, no foliation. I am very grateful to Reverend Ignatio Axisa O.Carm. for his help.

[50] See below footnote 54

[51] In the Confraternity Archives there is a manuscript register with the names of the enrolled members and their annual contributions from the year 1726 to 1743: CCAV, MS. 42, Nel quale sono notati e descritti li pagamenti annui de Confratelli Dall’anno 1726 all’1744, f. 18.

[52] CCAV, MS. 86, no foliation and MS. 88, no foliation

[53] During the meeting held on 12 August 1736, Pietro Paolo Troisi was chosen the secretary of the elected officials. Meanwhile, in the previous month of July, he was already acting the secretary in the absence from the island of Pietro Marcello Coedigsiot: CCAV, MS. 102, Libro ove si registrano le Consulte della Veneranda Confraternita 1735-1778, pp. 10-11

[54] Amongst his principal commitments, Pietro Paolo, in his tenure as treasurer would oversee the distribution of marriage legacies to poor brides on getting married: NAV, Not. G. F. Dos, R 238/2, ff. 285-285v

[55] In his rectorship, on 18 July 1713, Teresa, widow of Joseph Allard, renounced all pretentions on her inheritance as bequeathed by her father Giovanni Fiol, also a member of this confraternity, to be donated to it: NAV, Not. G. Callus, R 126/26, ff. 706v-707v

[56]CCAV, MS. 101, Libro segnato III ove si registrano le Consulte della Veneranda Confraternita 1703- 1735, p. 140.

[57] Ibid., p. 191

[58] Ibid., p. 199

[59] Ibid., p. 214

[60] Ibid., pp. 214-15. Troisi and Martin estimated the cost of the two lanterns to be 425 scudi: CCAV, MS 16, Diversi Istrumenti ed Interventi della Confraternita del Carmine, f. 49, 22 June 1735

[61] On 3 July 1735, the silversmith Antonio Bonincontro agreed to manufacture the two lanterns for 60 scudi and to finish them by the following 20 December. This rather low price was compensated by two old silver lanterns weighing 14 libre 3 ottave d’oncia. It was also consented upon that a medallion with the emblem of the confraternity, as designed by Pietro Paolo Troisi, would take the place of the statuette presented on the original design: NAV, Not. G. F. Dos, R 238/1, ff. 452v-454. Eight days later, on 11 July, Bonincontro and the silversmith Massimiliano Troisi agreed to share the workmanship equally: ibid., ff. 474v-476

[62] CCAV, MS. 102, p. 9.

[63] Ibid., p. 29

[64] On 14 March 1739, during another meeting, the procurator of the confraternity was authorised to contact again the builder Giacomo Bianco to continue with the works undertaken according to a plan drawn by Andrea Belli for the sum of 600 scudi: ibid., p. 30. Constructional works on this building had commenced earlier, for on 26 May 1738, the same builder Bianco had agreed to undertake other constructions valued at 190 scudi: NAV, Not. G. F. Dos, R 238/2, ff. 463-467v

[65] Parish Archives Senglea (PAS), Liber Matrimoniorum, Vol. II (1715-73), p. 27

[66] NAV, Not. G. Grixti, R 311/2 (1715-18), ff. 310-317 (1715-16). See Doc. 1 in the Appendix, infra

[67] NAV, Not. D. H. Bonavita, R 62/4, ff. 581-582, 24 July 1716

[68] The amount of 50 scudi in movables was received on 8 February 1722: NAV, Not. G. Grixti, R 311/2 (1715-18), ff. 310-310v (1715-16), a marginal entry

[69] Briffa states that Troisi’s death occurred in circa 1750, adducing it through referring to Castagna and Reverend Monsignor John Azzopardi: Briffa, 19

[70] AOM 6409 B, Notizie e scritture relative alla Zecca di Malta - contiene varie conti della Zecca, f. 172. The manuscript is not in a very good condition.

[71] Ibid., f. 184. There are listed as well Pietro Paolo’s belongings and the implements used by him during his employment as master of the mint: ff. 51 to 52v

[72] CCAV, MS. 86, no foliation and MS. 88, no foliation

[73] See above, footnote 69

[74] NAV. Not. F. Alessi, R 14/19, ff. 594v-596v. See Doc. 2 in the Appendix, infra.

[75] This dowry was meant to separate Anna Xaveria’s wealth from that of her future bridegroom. The immovable property part of her dowry consisted of two fields situated in the limits of Marsascala known as tal-Ballun and tal-Kappara and an orchard planted with fruit trees at Qormi. She was promised half of her parents’ remaining wealth; the other half was due to her brother Gioacchino if he did not join the priesthood. Otherwise, he would receive 2,000 scudi as a legacy. Baron Grassi was entitled to 1,000 scudi in sea-exchanges lent to different people - all mentioned by name and date when the deed was drawn up. Moreover, he was to receive 2,500 scudi made up of 1,500 scudi worth of gold and silver ware and precious stones and 1,000 scudi worth of furniture, household goods and other objects. Lastly, he was promised an amount of 4,200 scudi arising from debts due to his father-in-law payable to him on the day when they were redeemed: ibid., R 14/18, ff. 683v-695

[76] The deed of donation mentions a corner-house at Senglea consisting of several rooms on the first floor, an aromatist’s shop and a mezzanine with their separate entrances, besides a garden situated at Casal Paola subject to an annual payment of 8 tarì. Gioacchino could only exercise his right on these properties after the death of his parents. He was entitled to a sum of 2,000 scudi on condition that, if he joined the priesthood, he would only enjoy its usufruct till his death. If that occurred, this capital with all inherited property would return either to his parents or else to his sister Anna Xaveria or be apportioned to other heirs according to the law of succession. Moreover, his parents or any other survivors had the faculty to alter or annul this fidei commisum if Gioacchino opted for the priesthood: ibid., ff. 674v-677, 18 April 1742

[77] Ibid., R 14/19, ff. 717-717v

[78] Magdalena, aged 70, died on 28 January 1758: PADV, Liber Morti, vol. ix (1749 al 1773), f. 144

[79] NAV, Not. O. V. Grillet Sciberras, R 308/6 (1754-57), ff. 182-190

[80] It must be noted that Magdalena Troisi revoked or reaffirmed provisions till the very eve of her death: ibid., ff. 182-183v, dated 21 December 1756, a marginal entry; ff. 183v-184v, dated 25 January 1758, a marginal entry and ff. 184v-186v, dated 26 January 1758, a marginal entry