OLOF GOLLCHER

Capt. Olof Frederick Gollcher (1889-1962)

Olof Frederick Gollcher was an artist, scholar, philanthropist, as well as an ardent collector of objets d’art and historical items.  He was a distinguished man who received a number of honours, including the O.B.E. (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).


Key dates in Olof Frederick Gollcher’s life:

  • Born 1889
  • 1906-1908: Educated at Dulwich College 
  • 1914: Joined the British Army and later awarded the Medal of Montenegro
  • 1927: Purchased a part of the Palazzo with his mother
  • 1936: Became a Knight of Grace of the Grand Priory of the British Realm of the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem
  • 1937: Received his O.B.E.
  • 1938: Married Teresa Lucia née Prior (known as Nella) in a London Registry Office
  • 1938: Purchased the remaining area of the Palazzo
  • 1940: Saw active service in WWII and commissioned with rank of captain

Captain Gollcher’s desire was that his house would be preserved with its contents as a Museum for the cultural enrichment of the nation, and with this aim in mind he set up a foundation bearing his name to carry out this wish.

Gollcher had interesting ancestors on both sides of the family.  His maternal uncle was Major Henry Alexander Balbi, who translated from Spanish The Siege of Malta 1565.  This eyewitness account was written by Francisco Balbi da Correggio, a soldier who participated in the Great Siege under the Knights.  Major Balbi was a noted researcher who published studies on the Order of St John.

Judge Giacomo Pantaleone Bruno was Olof’s paternal great-grandfather, as well as a cousin of Fra Gaetano Bruno (d.1808).  Fra Bruno was the Conventual Chaplain of the Langue of Auvergne.  He was also the Secretary of the Chancery of the Order of the Knights of St John during the time of Grand Masters Emmanuel de Rohan (r. 1775-1797) and Ferdinand de Hompesch (r. 1797-1798).  Fra Bruno was also responsible for saving much of the Order’s Archives which the French intended to destroy during their occupation.

Gollcher Family Tree

 

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