The Ta’ Braxia cemetery at Pietà was designed and planned by the Maltese architect Emanuele Luigi Galizia (1830–1907), at the time, still in his mid-twenties. It is, for all intents and purposes, 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, then 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. It 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. The last section deals with the origins and history of the Lady Rachel Hamilton Gordon chapel (1893–94) which is the main architectural icon of the cemetery.
Besides the main analytical text, the book includes several transcripts of original archival documents and contemporary newspaper reports, a 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.