Friday, July 20, 2007

Malta Palace Museum "Cannons"

Click on these pictures to see these gorgeous cannons in their true glory!
The bronze cannons had been found all over the Republic of Malta, I remember a couple of them in the Silent City in front of the Cathedral, and the same in Victoria over in Gozo. And right here in Valetta as well. Finally, after seeing yet one more tourist using the cannons as a bench, Mr. S. persuaded the government to bring all these cannons into the Palace Museum where they belong.
A close up of the dolphin, a standard symbol of naval cannons. This one forms part of the slinging rings on top of the cannon. It is about fist sized.

This is the trunnion of a cannon which was pulled out of the big harbour on Malta's south shore when they were doing some dredging. Its part of a pair that for awhile were guarding St. John's Co-cathedral in M'Dina. I love the six sided "Tudor" rose. I don't think it is either English, or Tudor, but hey, I love the way they decorate even the most mundane part of the cannon. The trunnion is placed at the balance point of the cannon, and is the pivot upon which the muzzle is either elevated or depressed. It is also strong enough to soak up the recoil from the shot, so they tend to be the size of a man's forearm. When you want to disable a cannon forever, you knock off its trunnions.

Sling rings moulded to the shape of lions. You would use these sling rings to pull the cannon out of a ship, or generally move it about. The "great crane" in dockyard creek would be utilized to pull even big heavy cannons out of the damaged gun deck of a galley.

Same pic as above, but showing the whole sling ring.

Another pair of lions. The green is copper oxide, and this verdigris is very pretty, and shows the age of the artifact.

Pull back to see the rings on the cannon. Note the lovely embossed coat of arms back of the lions.
I just like this picture because of all the weapons on the wall. This makes a great wallpaper. In the very bottom of this pic, you can see the lion cannon again.

This is the same pic but lightened up. Sometimes lightening makes it better, sometimes not. What do you think?

Those polearms on the walls are quite real by the way. As are the armours high up on the wall. These were the armours I tried to memorize to be able to duplicate them. Very decorative, but not especially good for keeping the salt dust off the armour, they are too high to dust properly. Consequently there is some deterioration. Not much, and nothing needs to be done THIS year about it, but sooner or later, all these weapons and armours will have to go behind glass.



kimberly said...

I prefer the photo lightened up :)
Those spears are fierce!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I had no idea cannons were so pretty. The only ones I’ve ever seen up close were relics from the civil war, which were not decorated at all. I think the last picture looks much better lightened up. ~ Jennifer