The invention of the button goes back to at least 5000 years when they were originally used for ornamental purposes. Eventually, in the Middle Ages, buttons became a means by which to fasten clothing. This function has continued to develop along the centuries. Buttons are a fascinating subject to delve into. They have been made from most imaginable materials – bone, metal, wood, plastic – hand-made and mass-produced. They have fastened uniforms, formal wear and casual garments. Buttons have been utilised by all social classes from royalty to nobility, gentry, clerics, military personnel and commoners. Buttons Parade, Military and civilian uniform buttons in Malta –18th to 21st century narrates the story of the hundreds of buttons used in Malta by military and civilian organisations and institutions from the 18th to the 21st century. Each button is placed in its historical context which supports and scaffolds its concept, design, use, and eventual withdrawal. Drawings, photos and narratives thus help the reader to understand each featured button in an all-round context. George Cassar and Denis A. Darmanin transports the reader through history on a voyage which spans time, customs, events, human realties, political deliberations, social conventions, economic necessities and basic exigencies.
In the foreword to this title René Chartrand, author and historical consultant states, “There is no hesitation in the affirmation that Denis Darmanin, of Malta, is rightly regarded, with his long-standing friend Howard Ripley, of England, as the world’s leading authority on military buttons, which he can also illustrate admirably with excellent line drawings. He is internationally widely known to scores of curators, archaeologist and material culture historians for his vast knowledge and proverbial generosity to share it; his works grace the pages of many reference books. Joining Denis Darmanin in this remarkable research achievement is historian and researcher George Cassar whose numerous and varied publications bear testimony to his literary and academic accomplishments. Everything is framed within the historical, economic, social and political context. This book, of course, will become a precious reference work on a topic that, considering the remarkable annals of the Maltese islands, constitutes a most welcome addition and another facet of their history.”