Olof 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). He was born in Valletta on March 17th, 1889, and after school in Dulwich, England, studied art in London and Paris. In 1914 he was commissioned into the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, rising to the rank of captain, during the war, and going on to be awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE). In World War Two he was a liaison officer with the 1st Dorsetshire Regiment, and commanded the Southern Region of the Malta Volunteer Defence Force (subsequently the Malta Home Guard). Olof and his mother bought into Palazzo Falson in 1927, and he completed the purchase of the Palazzo after her death.
Olof and Nella
Olof married his Italian bride, Teresa “Nella” Prior, first in London, in 1938, and then in a Catholic ceremony in Rome in 1947. During the Second World War she joined the St John’s Ambulance Brigade, rising to the rank of Commander of the Order of St John. Nella was passionate about women’s rights, and in 1944 joined the Women of Malta Association (Nisa ta’ Malta) whose objective was equal political rights for women. Their lobbying succeeded in 1945, and women first voted in the general election of 1947. Both she and Ollie were enthusiastic charitable workers, and Nella held First Aid courses at the Palazzo after the war was over. They also bought Villa Brunswick, in L-Imgarr, where they kept chickens and turkeys, and a donkey named Sallie, as well as growing vegetables.