NEW BOOK: Lines of Defence

A new, beautifully-produced book containing eighteenth-century plans and elevations of the fortifications built and projected by the Hospitaller Knights of St. John in the Maltese islands has recently been published jointly by the International Institute for Baroque Studies at the University of Malta and Malta Libraries.

Appropriately titled LINES OF DEFENCE - Fortification Drawings of the Baroque Age at the National Library of Malta, this massive, large-format, full-colour publication brings together in one volume the collection of fortifications drawings of the Knights of the Order of St John housed in the National Library of Malta in Valletta.

Although frequently consulted by scholars and students over the years, these plans have never been brought together in one extensive compendium in the manner that they deserve as a prime source of original information on eighteenth-century Hospitaller military architecture.  This book, however, is more than just an album of drawings as each of the featured plans is accompanied by explanatory commentaries that serve to make this publication a useful resource of military- architectural and historical information.

This collection of fortification drawings is the largest and most important collection of architectural plans of Hospitaller fortifications in the Maltese islands to have come down to us from this period of the Island's history. The importance of these plans also emanates from the fact that the fortifications of the Knights of St John in the Maltese Islands are considered as comprising some of the most important exemplars of military architecture built to the conventions of the bastioned trace.

The book's special large-scale format, measuring 49cm wide  x 42 cm high, was designed to capture the wealth of graphic information embodied within the many large sheets depicting original plans and designs  – architectural details which are invaluable to the students and historians of military architecture and the art and science of fortification.

The text of this publication was prepared by Professor Denis De Lucca, the Director of the International Institute for Baroque Institute, Dr Stephen Spiteri ,and architect Hermann Bonnici.  The book has an introduction by Professor Juanito Camilleri, Rector of the University, and forewords by Mr. Oliver Mamo and Ms. Maroma Camilleri of Malta Libraries.

The publication of this first edition of Lines of Defence is limited to only 200 copies and is directly available from the National Library of Malta.

Readers who would like further information about this publication should address their queries to the National Library via e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Book details

ISBN: 978-99957-856-1-1

398 pages  full colour

Hardbound in leather,  490 mm (w) x 420 mm (h),  with  protective slipcase






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