The Treasurer's room
One of the most interesting rooms in the Wignacourt Museum is the treasurer's room which is important for its particular architecture as well as its contents. This room was used by the treasurer and its layout reflects its function as it is designed to keep the Knight’s treasure safe. The structure of the room is still in its original form, which cannot be said about many other rooms on the Piano Nobile of the College.
Two rooms in the museum upstairs remain true to their original arrangement. The other rooms were altered when the building was being used as a school in the post war period. The room opposite the treasurer’s room, which now houses the Reliquary collection, is also still in its original design. This discloses the format of one of the bedrooms for the Chaplains of the Order, where the room was sectioned off into three areas. The room opens into a study area with an arched section for the actual bed and another section as a washroom.
The treasurer's room follows this structure but also has an added feature due to the nature of its use; to keep the treasure chest of the Chaplains safe. The original wooden treasure chest is still stored in its original location; on a loft above the bed set in an alcove. This once contained the silver plate and all the money of the Chapter. The room is situated on the right of the former private chapel used by the chaplains upstairs. It opens up into the study area as does the Reliquary room and is also divided into three sections. The width of the arched entrance to the bed is much narrower than in the previous room. This is because the bed used to pass exactly by the walls of the entrance so that if any thief would try to get to the treasure they would have to jump over the treasurer's bed! The room also has a washroom so that the treasurer could keep an eye on the treasure chest at all times.
This is the only room in the Museum which has been set up as a bedroom; true to its original use. A beautifully restored 18th century headboard hangs where the treasurer's own bed would have been placed. This elaborate bed stead was crafted out of wood and holds an image of the Immaculate Conception painted in oils in a central oval space. The headboard is surmounted by a crown and enhanced by festoons, scrolls and other decorative elements. The Immaculate Conception was a common image for bedrooms during the period and here Our Lady is depicted with the typical iconography where she stands over a crescent moon crushing the snake.
This room also houses part of the collection of the Wignacourt Museum and of notable mention is the copper bath placed in the ensuite section of the room. This bath is one of the oldest of its kind in Malta dating to the 18th century and is used here to recreate the original decor of the Treasurer's room. Hanging are also a number of ex-voto paintings from the filial churches of St Cathaldus and Ta' Duna, both in Rabat.