Richard England’s 1971 publication Walls of Malta was a visual-verbal love poem dedicated to his native island’s architectural patrimony and legacy. Designed and laid out by England himself it manifested his then current penchant for the graphic patterns of words as practiced by the concrete poets of the era. The black and white red filter Rolleiflex documented ethnic skylines, townscapes, streetscapes homing in onto close up masonry details.
In the foreword A.C. Sewter, former editor of the Burlington Magazine and reader in the History of Art Department at Manchester University and at the time resident in Malta, wrote “the history of man is written not only upon the walls, but in them and by them” and further commented on England’s “poetic sensibility which he movingly expands in his texts and photographs”. England’s own text referred to the book’s images as “tenacious survivors of a past fast changing environment”; a portent foreboding of what was then the yet to come catastrophic despoliation of local town and village ambiences.
The Golden jubilee of this publication serves as a compelling reminder of the importance of our onus in passing what is left of our island’s heritage as a protected heirloom for future generations to cherish and enjoy.
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