Noella Agius, Qormi (photo.) - Malta Playing Arts

Noella Agius, Qormi (photo.)

Having eaten many sugary treats, now thirsty and with the nonsensical verse of the 18th-century nursery rhyme in mind, “Jack and Jill walk up the hill, to fetch a pail of water, Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after”. This Jack (unlike Jack), robed in a noble mantle and having broken his plumed hat, is now none other than the first knight of knights, the Grand Master. Aged 70, Jean de Valette (1494-1568) led the defence during the Great Siege of Malta (→previous Jack) and afterwards instigated the construction of the new capital Valletta (→5), which was once described as a “city of palaces built by gentlemen for gentlemen” (Benjamin Disraeli 1830). Here Jack is most ably assisted by his love interest Dame Jill, the gentlewoman. Jack and Jill are 7cm tall humanoid plastic toys (manufactured by Playmobil® Malta, celebrating their 45th anniversary in Malta in 2015. The chevalier is sold only in Malta). The human-made hill behind depicts Magħtab, a place best known as Malta’s largest landfill. This rubbish dump was closed through EU regulations in 2004, but the admonitory hill remains to this day.

(text by Margit Waas)