RoseVille Attard

" Roseville ", Triq Sant' Anton, Attard- Grade 2

Roseville is an early 20th century house built as a summer residence by the proprietor Dr. W. Briffa and said to be one of Malta's only Art Nouveau country villa. This unique architectural gem with its floral sculpted window-surrounds and painted motifs recalls the Art Nouveau houses of Brussels, Antwerp and Central Europe. The interior of the house is also notable for its Egyptian-inspired decoration, with motifs based on the Egyptology style that was fashionable at the time. The house was built in two phases; the ground floor was built in 1912 by architect Alessandro Manara and the first floor was added in 1921 by architect Emanuele Borg in the same architectural grammar of the ground floor.

The Art Nouveau style of this house is locally a unique example and is also one of the finest and earliest examples. This house is complete and authentic in all its elements such as the architectural fabric, the decorations, including its fixtures and fittings.

The type of Art Nouveau motifs of this building indicate a French or North Italian stylistic influence. Apart from the stylised organic motifs on the façade, this is the only building in Malta where polycromy was used on the façade, such that the recessed panels are painted red, while the motifs were picked out in other colours, thus accentuating the relief and creating contrast.

According to MEPA, This property is important because of the following:
· the aesthetic qualities of the architectural features and style,
· it is unique in design and an authentic representation of the period,
· it is still in a very good state of preservation,
· it is a point of reference in the urban texture and contributes greatly to the townscape,
· historically it is the only building in the Maltese Islands in this architectural grammar,
· it represents the influx of foreign artistic influence successfully adapted to integrate the local vernacular in the early nineteenth century,
· it is also important within a context as it forms part of a series of villas and traditional period town houses in the old urban fabric of Attard.

Some interesting History of this House

The house was apparently abandoned by it's owners and/or its owners all managed to die off with no one being able to inherit the property. There was a story, where the youngest child, probably a girl died of mysterious circumstances. In the same year the mother too passed away quite inexplicably. Being the early 1930's, this brought about about a lot of speculation and gossip. The house was put up for sale by the remaining owner, who also died soon after. Years later some relatives moved into the house, but as soon as the house was restored, the eldest son died suddenly (word has it at war, not in the house), but again soon later yet another child died, and later followed in quick succession by father and mother. Since then the house was said to be "cursed" or haunted. Abandoned for several years and left to rot (possibly intentionally) by the elements.