The North side of the Spianada closes with the imposing Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George, seat of the Royal Order by the same name, established in 1818. Designed in Georgian style by the Corps of Engineers’ Colonel George Whitmore, it was built between 1819 and 1824 by the first British Commissioner, Sir Thomas Maitland. Craftsmen and Maltese stone were imported from Malta to build it as the Lord High Commissioner’s official residence and the seat of the Ionian Senate. Today it houses the Corfu Museum of Asian Art that contains more than 11,000 Asian artifacts. It initially housed the Greek diplomat Gregorios Manos’ private collection of Sino-Japanese art that he donated in 1919 to the Greek State. More recent additions of exhibits from more Asian countries compose a very impressive collection. The official halls of the Palace, the Throne room, Ballroom and Banquet hall, carefully restored after the 2nd World War, are worth visiting as a fine example of Georgian style.