The Jimmy Farrugia Collection – Mdina Cathedral Museum Archives

The Jimmy Farrugia Collection

Dr. Jimmy Farrugia was born in Tarxien on the 14th May 1922 and studied at the Lyceum and the Royal University of Malta where he received three degrees between 1944 and 1946: B.Sc, Ph.C, and M.D. On receiving his qualifications as a medical doctor from the university in 1946, he became a member of London’s Royal College of General Practitioners.

Between 1950 and 1962, Dr Farrugia worked as a general practitioner with the General Workers Union. In 1965 he was a also a regular medical consultant for Id-Dar tal-Providenza, Malta’s first home for the physically and mentally handicapped. For a number of years he also served as President of the Malta Catholic Action Movement and the Council of Lay Persons.

Dr. Jimmy Farrugia was born in Tarxien on the 14th May 1922 and studied at the Lyceum and the Royal University of Malta where he received three degrees between 1944 and 1946: B.Sc, Ph.C, and M.D. On receiving his qualifications as a medical doctor from the university in 1946, he became a member of London’s Royal College of General Practitioners.

Between 1950 and 1962, Dr Farrugia worked as a general practitioner with the General Workers Union. In 1965 he was a also a regular medical consultant for Id-Dar tal-Providenza, Malta’s first home for the physically and mentally handicapped. For a number of years he also served as President of the Malta Catholic Action Movement and the Council of Lay Persons.

Dr. Farrugia was elected to the House of Representatives with the Nationalist Party in 1976 and kept his parliamentary seat until 1986. During this time he served as shadow minister for culture and mediated between doctors and the government on a major dispute in 1977. He was appointed Speaker of the House of Representatives in July 1987 and held that post until 1988. He was subsequently appointed Malta’s ambassador to the Holy See at the Vatican in Rome. During the 1990s he often served as Acting President of the Republic of Malta.

Maltese objets d’art bequeathed by the late Speaker Jimmy Farrugia and his widow Doris are treasured in a specific hall dedicated to the Melitensia collection and includes: silver, furniture, paintings, watercolours, prints and other applied arts.

Dr Farrugia was an expert in Maltese silverware and collected a large number of items throughout his lifetime, tracking some from abroad. The silverware dates back to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and includes a cruet set used by Grandmaster Manoel de Vilhena and a silver plate bearing de Valette’s emblem on the back. These are rare items considering that most Maltese silverware was lost during the French occupation of 1798, or minted for coins.

Also donated by Dr. Farrugia and his wife, one may find a collection of domestic silver; such as coffee pots, sugar bowls, serving plates, and other domestic items. One can also appreciate small personal items which people used to carry in their pockets. The silverware is a link between the ecclesiastical items and objects related to Maltese culture displayed at the museum. The collection was first inaugurated by Archbishop Paul Cremona on the 17th November 2008

Along with these, one may also notice a beautiful collection of melitensia, such as views of Malta from the past, from artists such as Luigi Maria Galea and Brockdorf. Such works of art consist of a variety of techniques, from oil to watercolour. Both a collection of engravings, as well as one of furniture are found in this room. Since the furniture ranges from the 17th century through to the British Period, one may notice a shift in fashion. Notable pieces within the furniture collection are a Maltese chest of drawers made out of olive wood and inlaid with lime wood, decorated with geometrical motifs or lacework motifs, furniture of a French fashion, as well as a Gozitan chest of drawers. 19th century furniture, influenced by the British rule, includes a sofa table, a drum table, as well as a work table.