- Art Gallery -



see caption


The World of Art Series

The Arts and Crafts
of Older Spain

Corresponding Member of the Royal Spanish Academy, of
the Royal Spanish Academy of History, and of the
Royal Spanish Academy of Fine Arts; Author
Of “The Land of the Dons”; “Toledo and
Madrid”; “Granada,” etc.





Published October 10, 1908



Introduction 1–38
Spanish Silk 38–105
Cloths and Woollens 105–125
Embroidery 125–137
Tapestry 137–159
Lace 159–175

Appendices 177–258
Bibliography 259–268
Index 271–282




  “The Grape-Gatherers”; Tapestry from Cartoon by Goya; El Escorial Frontispiece
I. The “Banner of Las Navas”; Monastery of Las Huelgas, Burgos 22
II. Fragment of the Burial Mantle of Ferdinand the Third; Royal Armoury, Madrid 26
III. King Alfonso the Learned; from “The Book of Chess,” MS. in the Escorial Library 28
IV. Spanish Velvet; about a.d. 1500 30
V. The Tunic of Boabdil el Chico; National Museum of Artillery, Madrid 36
VI. The “Banner of Saint Ferdinand”; Seville Cathedral 40
VII. Velvet made at Granada 56
VIII.[viii] The Daughters of Philip the Second; Prado Gallery, Madrid 98
IX. A Charra or Peasant Woman of Salamanca, in the year 1777 102
X. Embroidered Priest's Robe; about a.d. 1500 118
XI. Embroidered Priest's Robe; about a.d. 1500 120
XII. Embroidered Chasuble; Palencia Cathedral 122
XIII. Embroidered Case of Processional Cross; Toledo Cathedral 124
XIV. Embroidered Altar-Front 126
XV. Embroidered Altar-Front; Toledo Cathedral 128
XVI. Embroidered Altar-Front; Palencia Cathedral 130
XVII. Embroidered Altar-Fronts; Palencia Cathedral 132
XVIII. Costume of Woman of the Balearic Islands; about a.d. 1810 134
XIX. The “Genesis Tapestry”; Gerona Cathedral 138
XX. Tapiz of Crimson Velvet worked in gold tissue; Monastery of Las Huelgas, Burgos 144
XXI. “The Spinners,” by Velazquez; Prado Gallery, Madrid 148
XXII. Tapestry made at Brussels from Granada Silk 150
XXIII. “A Promenade in Andalusia”; Cartoon for Tapestry, by Goya 152
XXIV. Tapestry; Arras-Work, from Italian Cartoons; Zamora Cathedral 156
XXV.[ix] Flemish Tapestry; Collection of the late Count of Valencia de Don Juan 158
XXVI. The Marchioness of La Solana, by Goya 160
XXVII. A Spanish Maja; a.d. 1777 162
XXVIII. A Maja, by Goya 164
XXIX. A Lady of Soria; about a.d. 1810 166
XXX. Handkerchief of Catalan Lace, presented to Queen Victoria of Spain on her marriage 168
XXXI. Curtain of Spanish Lace; Point and Pillow Work, modern 170
XXXII. Point Lace Fan, of Mudejar Design, modern 172




Our earliest intelligence respecting textile fabrics of old Spain derives almost exclusively from Moorish sources, and shows, together with the silence of Saint Isidore, that until the subjugation of the Visigoths, the occupants of the Peninsula attached no great importance to this industry. Under the Moors, the south and east of Spain grew rapidly famous for the manufacture of all kinds of textile stuffs, and in particular those of silk. The origin of these silks, or of the most luxurious and artistic of them, may be traced to Almería. According to Al-Makkari, what made this Andalusian capital superior to all other cities of the world was her “various manufactures of silks and other dress materials, such as the dibaj, a silken fabric of many colours, surpassing, both in quality and durability, all other products made elsewhere, and also the tiraz, a costly stuff whereon[2] are inscribed the names of sultans, princes, and other personages, and for making which there used to be no fewer than eight hundred looms. Inferior fabrics were the holol (a kind of striped silk), and brocades woven upon a thousand looms, while as many more were employed continually in making the scarlet stuffs called iskalaton. Another thousand produced the robes called al jorjani (or ‘the Georgian’), and yet another thousand the Isbahani robes, from Isfahan, and yet another thousand the robes of Atabi. The making of damask for gay-coloured curtains and turbans for the women kept busy as many persons as the articles above-mentioned.”

Edrisi, a chronicler of the twelfth century, says of the same capital that she was the principal city belonging to the Moors in the time of the Moravides. In fact, she was then a great and prosperous industrial centre, possessing, together with other kinds of looms, eight hundred which produced the fabrics known as holla, debady, siglaton, espahani, and djordjani, curtains with a flowered decoration, cloths of a smaller size, and the stuffs which were denominated attabi and mi djar.

A similar notice is contained in the Chronicle of Rassis the Moor. Referring to the end of the[3] tenth century, this author wrote that “Almería is the key of profit and of all prosperity. Within her walls dwell cunning weavers who produce in quantities magnificent silken cloths inwoven with gold thread.” Other important centres of this trade and craft were Málaga, Baeza, Alicante, Seville, and Granada. Rassis wrote of Málaga: “She has a fertile territory, wherein is made the finest sirgo in the world. From here they trade in it with every part of Spain. Here too is made the finest of all linens, and that which the women best esteem.” Of Baeza he wrote: “She manufactures excellent and famous silken cloths of the kind which are called tapetes”; and of Alicante, “This city lies in the Sierra de Benalcatil, which in its turn is situated in the midst of other ranges containing prosperous towns where silken cloths of finest quality were made in other days; and the weavers of these cloths were skilled exceedingly.”

Málaga is described by the Cordovese historian Ash Shakandi (thirteenth century) as “famous for its manufactures of silks of every colour and design, some of them so costly that a suit is sold for thousands; such are the brocades of beautiful pattern, inwoven with the names of caliphs, emirs[4] and other wealthy personages…. As at Málaga and Almería, there are at Murcia several manufactories of silken cloth called al washiu thalathat, or ‘the variegated.’ This town is also celebrated for the carpets called tantili, which are exported to all countries of the east and west, as well as for a sort of bright-coloured mat with which the Murcians cover the walls of their houses.”

The ancient Illiberia or Illiberis, believed to have been situated not far from where is nowadays Granada, is described in Rassis' chronicle as “a city great and flourishing by reason of the quantity of silk that she exports to every part of Spain. She lies at sixty thousand paces distance from, and on the southward side of Cordova, and six thousand paces from, and to the north of the Frozen Sierra” (i.e. the Sierra Nevada).

Another chronicle—that of El Nubiense, who visited Spain towards the twelfth century—states that in the kingdom of Jaen alone were six hundred towns which produced and carried on a trade in silk.

The foregoing extracts show that under the Spanish Moors the manufacture of textile fabrics attained in mediæval times a very great importance. It is also certain that during the same[5] period the textile fabrics in use among the Christian Spaniards were strongly and continually influenced, and even to a large extent produced, by Spanish Moors, while, as the Moorish cities fell into the power of the enemy, the Christian rulers encouraged their newly-sworn Mohammedan lieges to prosecute this industry with unabated zeal. A privilege is extant which was granted by Jayme the Conqueror in the year 1273, to a Moor named Ali and his sons Mohammed and Bocaron, empowering these artificers to manufacture silk and cloth of gold at Jativa, in the kingdom of Valencia. The fabrics produced by Mussulman weavers such as these, found ready purchase with the wealthier classes of the Christian Spaniards. The dress and other materials thus elaborated possessed a great variety of names, whose meaning cannot always be determined at the present day. Among the fabrics most in vogue were those denominated samit (also xamed or examitum), ciclaton, tabis or atabi, zarzahan, fustian or fustan, cendal or sendat, camelote (also chamelote or xamellot), drap imperial, and bougran (also bouckram, buckram), stated by Dr Bock to be derived from Bokhara, and which was of a quality far superior to the buckram of more modern[6] times. These Saracenic or semi-Saracenic stuffs were manufactured from an early period, but modern experts are not agreed as to their character. Miquel y Badía and some other authorities believe that samit was a costly material which was sometimes coloured green, and shot with gold or silver thread. Others believe it to have been a kind of velvet. In either case it is known to have been used for shrouding the bodies of the wealthy. Ciclaton was a strong though flexible material used for robes and also for wall-hangings. Tabis or atabi was a kind of taffeta, and probably consisted, as a general rule, of silk, though sometimes it was mixed with cotton. Chamelot was an oriental fabric of rich silk, coloured white, black, or grey. It is mentioned, together with velvets, taffetas, and cendal or sendat (another silken stuff) in a law passed by the Cortes of Monzón in 1375, and which is quoted in Capmany's Memorias.[1] Fustian is thought to have been first produced in Egypt. It was woven of thread or cotton, and was largely used in England from at least as early as[7] the twelfth century. From about the same time buckram was also popular in northern countries.

Early in the fourteenth century a number of other costly stuffs began to be made in various quarters of the civilized world, including Spain. Among these fabrics were zatonin or zatony (perhaps the same as zetani, aceituni, or aceytoni—that is, satin), several kinds of drap d'aur or cloth of gold, several kinds of velvet, sarga or serge, and camocas, which is stated by Miquel y Badía to have been a strong material used for lining curtains, coats of mail, etc. The same writer observes that the stuff called by the name zatonin and its variations is the same as the Castilian raso and the Catalan setí or satí, a favourite though expensive and luxurious fabric in the fourteenth and succeeding centuries. Under the name aceytoni it is mentioned in a work in the Catalan language titled Croniques d'Espanya, by Pedro Miguel Carbonell, in which we read that at the coronation of Don Martin of Aragon this monarch's consort, Doña María, was “dressed in white cloth of gold and a long mantle … and rode upon a white horse covered with trappings of white aceytoni.”

Miquel y Badía has discovered the names of[8] other fabrics which are known from documentary evidence to have been used in older Spain, and which were called aducar, alama, tela de nacar, primavera or primavert, almexia, picote, and velillo. It is probable that alama and tela de nacar had silver interwoven with their texture. The primavera or “spring fabric” was so named from the flowers which adorned it. Almexía is mentioned in the Chronicle of the Cid. It was a costly and elaborate stuff, and is believed by Miquel to have taken its title from the city of Almería. Picote was a kind of satin manufactured in the island of Majorca, and velillo a thin, delicate fabric decorated with flowers and with silver thread.

The devices on all these stuffs were very varied. Prominent types among them were the pallia rotata, containing circles which are commonly combined with other ornament, the pallia aquilinata, in which the dominant motive was the eagle, and the pallia leonata, in which it was the lion. Other beasts, birds, and monsters were also figured with great frequency, such as griffins, peacocks, swans, crows, bulls, tigers, or dogs; but the emblem most in favour, especially throughout the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries, was the eagle, owing to the numerous and illustrious qualities[9] attributed to it, such as majesty, victory, valour, and good omen. These creatures, too, were frequently represented face to face or back to back, in pairs; nor were they so disposed in textile fabrics only, but on ivory, wood, or silver caskets, and on numerous other objects, as well as on the painted friezes of a place of worship.[2]

The colours of these fabrics also varied very[10] greatly. That which was most admired was probably red, crimson, or carmine, used by preference as a ground, with the pattern inwoven or super-woven in gold, silver, or otherwise. Velvets, too, were not invariably in monochrome, but would contain two or three colours such as purple, crimson, blue, or yellow, besides gold and silver. Miquel y Badía mentions a magnificent velvet pluvial in gold and three colours, belonging to a church in Cataluña. The following observations are by the same authority, who himself possesses a valuable collection of early textile fabrics, many of which are Spanish. “The same prevailing colours are found in the Mudejar textile fabrics as in those of the Spanish Moors—the same ground of red inclining to carmine, of dark blue, or of bluish green, with a pattern in yellow, green, blue, or red, according to the colour which combines with it. I have seen copies of Mudejar stuffs in which there is no white, because this was wanting in the fragments which the copying artist had before him. And it is a fact that from some cause, which we cannot now determine, white silk is that which disappears soonest from among the textile fabrics of the Spanish Moors and Mudejares, so[11] that by far the greater part of them contain no white at all, or only traces of it.”

In Spain these handsome stuffs were used by all the wealthier classes, and some idea of their prevalence and popularity may be formed from the voluminous mass of sumptuary laws which deal with them at almost every stage of Spanish history. Thus, an edict of Jayme the First of Aragon established, in the year 1234, that neither the monarch nor any of his subjects were to decorate their clothes with gold and silver, or fasten their cloaks with gold or silver clasps. The Ordenamiento of Alfonso the Tenth, subscribed at Seville, February 27th, 1256, provides that no woman is to carry aljofar-work, trim her dress with gold or silver, or wear a toca decorated with those metals, but only a plain white one, the price of which is not to exceed three maravedis. It is also provided by this edict that on the celebration of a wedding, the cost of the bridal clothes must not exceed sixty maravedis, nor may the number of guests who sit down to the marriage banquet exceed five women and five men, besides the witnesses of the ceremony and relatives of the bride and bridegroom. This absurd law was so extensively neglected that two years later the[12] Cortes of Valladolid took up the matter afresh, and even resolved that the expenses of the king's table, without the cost of his invited guests, were not to exceed a daily total of a hundred and fifty maravedis.

In a.d. 1286 the Council of Cordova decreed that knights and squires, upon the celebration of their marriage, were not to present their brides with more than two dresses, one of these to be of scarlet, without trimming of ermine or grey fur, or decoration of gold, silver, or aljofar. A law of Alfonso the Eleventh, dated May 6th, 1338, proclaimed that the women of the upper classes were not to clothe themselves in any silken fabric decorated with gold thread. Similar restrictions were laid upon the other sex. “No man, whatever be his condition (excepting only Us, the King), shall wear cloth of gold, or silk, or any stuff adorned with gold lace, aljofar, or any other trimming, or with enamel: only his cloak may bear aljofar pearl-work, or fillets without pearls.” Other dispositions signed by the same monarch show that the Spaniards of his time were in the habit of wearing costly cloth adorned with gold and silver, pearls, gold buttons, enamel, and other ornament, while even the squires wore furs and[13] gilded shoes. The ricos-hombres loaded their saddles with gold and with aljofar-work, and their wives were licensed to bear on each of their dresses the same aljofar-work or strings of tiny pearls, to the value of four thousand maravedis.

Provisions of the same tenor are contained in the prolix sumptuary pragmatic of Pedro the Cruel, signed in the year 1351 at Valladolid, as well as in that of Juan the First, a.d. 1385, which ordained, together with other vexatious prohibitions, that “neither man nor woman, whatever be their condition or estate, shall wear cloth of gold or any silk-stuff, gold or silver aljofar, or other precious stones, excepting the Infante and Infantas, who may wear whatever pleases them.”

The extravagance of Isabella the Catholic in dress and personal adornment generally, was illustrated in an earlier chapter of this work. A further instance is recorded by Clemencin. According to this chronicler, in 1476 and 1477, upon her reception at Alcalá of two embassies from France, the queen was dressed in a magnificent robe, which drew upon her a sharp rebuke from her confessor, the virtuous and austere Hernando de Talavera. From this charge Isabella defended herself with more spirit than truthfulness.[14] “Neither myself nor my ladies,” she wrote in her letter of reply, “were dressed in new apparel. All that I wore on this occasion I had already worn in Aragon, and the French themselves had seen me wearing it. I only used one robe at all, and that of silk with three marks of gold, the plainest I could find: in this was all my festival. I say this much in that my clothing was not new; nor did we deem that error could dwell therein.”[3]

Although their own extravagance is past all question, on September 30th, 1499, Ferdinand and his consort issued a proclamation at Granada, in which it was commanded that “no persons shall wear clothing of brocade, or silk, or silk chamelote, or zarzahan, or taffeta, or carry linings of the same upon the trappings of their horses, or upon hoods, or the straps and scabbards of their swords, or bits, or saddles, or alcorques[4] … nor shall they wear embroidered silk-stuffs decorated with gold plates, whether such gold be drawn or hammered, spun to a thread, or interwoven with the fabric.”

These prohibitions, or others of their import,[15] were ratified by Doña Juana at the Cortes of Burgos, and, in 1533, by Charles the Fifth at Valladolid. In 1551 the Emperor again prohibited “all brocaded stuffs, or gold or silver cloth, whether embroidered or enriched with gold or silver thread, or bound with cord or edging of the same;” and a royal edict of January 12th, 1611, forbade the wearing of brocade and every other costly stuff to all except the clergy and the military.

The clergy, indeed, had always been notorious for extravagance, and not a few of all these sumptuary laws are aimed specifically at them. In a.d. 1228 the Council of Valladolid prohibited the use by priests of sleeved robes, or gilded saddles, bits, spurs, or poitrels. In 1267 the Synod of León repeated these prohibitions, further insisting that the garments of the clergy, besides being sleeveless, were not to be red or green, and were to have a moderate length (“non muy largas, non muy cortas”), and that their cloaks were not to fasten with a clasp or cord; these regulations to be rigidly adhered to en sennal de honestidat—“as a sign of honesty.”

We also know that at this time (thirteenth[16] century) the shirts of many of the wealthier Spaniards were woven of finest linen imported from the East, embroidered and picked out with gold and silver thread, and that the clergy were at least the equals of the laity in their craze for costly clothing. In a.d. 1273, an inventory was made of the effects belonging to Don Gonzalo Palomeque, on his election to the bishopric of Cuenca. It mentions almadraques and Murcian tapetes, carpitas viadas from Tlemcen, fine Murcian blankets (alhamares), silk xamedes, Murcian matting for covering walls and daïses (“para paret et para estrado”), and stuffs from Syria. Another inventory, that of Don Gonzalo Gudiel, archbishop of Toledo, is dated a.d. 1280, and mentions, as included with his property, quantities of oriental fabrics which are designated by the general name tartaricas.[5] Among them were “unus pannus operatus ad aves de auro et campus de serica viridi, item unus alius pannus tartaricus cum campo de seta alba et vite aurea, item unus pannus tartaricus de seta[17] rubea cum pinis aureis, item unus pannus tartaricus de seta viridi.”[6]

A number of mediæval textile fabrics, some in fragments, some intact, have been preserved in Spanish private collections or museums. It is, however, seldom easy to determine whether they were made in this Peninsula, or whether in Sicily, Byzantium, Venice, or the East. Among the most remarkable of all these interesting specimens are, a strip which was extracted from the mausoleum of a Spanish bishop, Don Bernardo Calbó, a native of Vich in Cataluña, and which is now in the museum of that town; other fragments in the same collection, including one of holosericum or pure silk, which was formerly in the neighbouring church of San Juan de las Abadesas, and is commonly known as the pallium or altar front “of the witches” (owing to certain beasts or monsters figuring in the design), a Moorish tiraz, now in the Academy of History at Madrid, the celebrated Moorish “banner of the battle of Las Navas,” now in the Monastery of Santa María la Real de las Huelgas at Burgos, the banner (also[18] Moorish) of the battle of the River Salado, the chasubles “of the Constable” and of Chiriana, preserved respectively at Burgos and at Caravaca, a fragment, preserved in the Royal Armoury at Madrid, of the shroud of Ferdinand the Third, and the Moorish clothing of the son of the same King Ferdinand, the Infante Don Felipe, and of Felipe's second wife, Doña Leonor Ruiz de Castro.

The strip of woven material found in the sepulchre of Bishop Calbó, who is said to have accompanied Don Jayme the Conqueror in the conquest of Valencia (a.d. 1238), is described by Miquel y Badía as belonging to the class denominated pallia rotata—that is, with circles forming part of their design,—and dates most probably from the twelfth century; but it is impossible to say whether it was manufactured in the East, or whether at Valencia or some other Spanish town. The same remark applies to other fragments which are also, as I stated, in the Vich Museum. The one discovered in the tomb of Bishop Calbó contains, coloured in green, grey, and black upon a carmine ground, a decorative scheme of circles, flowers, and gryphons or other monsters in pairs, affrontés, and also, within the circles, the figure of a man grappling with two lions, tigers, dogs, or[19] other beasts, and who is believed to represent Samson or Daniel—more probably the latter. Miquel y Badía points out that in this fragment the figure of the man recalls Egyptian art, suggested by his curious head-dress, and by the crossing of his clothes upon his breast.

Another textile fragment in the same collection is coloured black, red, and grey upon a yellowish ground. It is decorated with long-tailed birds resembling peacocks, and with sphinxes which fill the circles or medallions. A third fragment, also in the Vich Museum, belongs to the type of pallia cum aquilis et bestiolis. The design consists of a double-headed eagle with half-extended wings, holding in the claws of either foot some kind of quadruped—perhaps a bull. The colour of the ground resembles carmine, and on it the design is wrought in greenish black—that may have been originally green—relieved at intervals with yellow.

The “witches'” pallium in the same collection is decorated with the series of extraordinary beasts or monsters that have won for it this title with the vulgar, depicted in yellow, white, black, and dark green upon a red ground. Miquel believes this fabric to proceed from Byzantium, and to date from not much earlier than the[20] eleventh century. The devices are disposed in two rows, the lower containing peacocks affrontés, and the upper a series of fantastic monsters, each of which possesses a head, two bodies, and four feet—the head being semi-human, semi-bestial, the double body that of a bird, and the claws those of a lion or some other formidable quadruped.

The Royal Academy of History at Madrid possesses a fragment of the costly fabric known as tiraz, an eastern word (corrupted by the Spaniards into taracea, i.e. embroidery on clothing), which means the bordering for a royal robe. Such bordering, which contained inscriptions, or the sultan's name, or both together, is said to have been first used in Spain by Abderrahman the Second, who ruled from a.d. 825 to 852. “The caliphs of Cordova,” says Riaño, “had a place set apart in their palaces where this stuff was kept: this custom lasted until the eleventh century, when it disappeared, and was re-established in the thirteenth century with the kings of Granada.” Tiraz, in fact, was both produced and stored in special departments of the Sultan's palaces[7]; or so we[21] must infer from the following passage by Ibn-Khaldun. “The places (almedinas) where these stuffs were woven were situated within the palaces of the caliphs, and were known as the ‘pavilions of the tiraz.’ The person at the head of these workshops was called the superintendent of the tiraz: he had charge of both the weavers and the looms, administered the salaries, and looked to the quality of the work. This post was entrusted by the princes to one of the foremost officers of their kingdom, or else to some freedman who thoroughly deserved their confidence.” The same historian adds that the manufacture of tiraz was conducted in Spain in the same manner as in the East under the dynasty of the Ommeyades. It is, however, certain that among the Spanish Moors tiraz was not produced exclusively in royal factories. Al-Makkari states that in the time of the Somadies and the Almoravides there were[22] looms at Nerja (and possibly at Almería) for weaving this luxurious fabric, as well as holas, a fine brocade, heavily embroidered, and adorned with figures representing the caliphs and other personages. In the time of the Almoravides there were at Almería as many as a thousand factories for making holas.

The piece of tiraz which belongs to the Spanish Academy of History measures about a yard and a half in length by eighteen inches wide. Riaño describes it as of wool, embroidered in silks with “seated figures which appear to be a king, a lady, lions, birds, and quadrupeds”; but after carefully examining it I cannot but agree with Miquel y Badía that this fabric is woven throughout of pure silk, without the slightest trace of hand-embroidery. It has two borders containing these inscriptions in Cufic letters: “In the name of God, the clement, the merciful. (May) the blessing of God and happiness (be) for the Caliph Iman Abdallah Hixem, the favoured of God and prince of believers.” This monarch, second of the name, reigned at the end of the tenth century and early in the eleventh, and the tiraz we are noticing was found in a casket on the altar of a church at San Esteban de Gormaz, in the province of Soria.[23] As Riaño suggests, it was very probably a war trophy.

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(Monastery of Santa Maria la Real de las Huelgas, Burgos)

Another most interesting example of Saracenic textile work is the so-called “banner of Las Navas” (Plate i.), which popular tradition affirms to have been captured (a.d. 1212) in the memorable battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, between the Almohades and the Spanish Christians. Most experts now consider that this object is not a military ensign, but a curtain or some other hanging for a tent or doorway. The material is sirgo or silken serge, and both the decoration and the workmanship are purely Moorish. The design is rich and intricate throughout, consisting of scrolls, leaves, stems, and inscriptions from the Koran, disposed with exquisite effect about the principal and central motive, formed by a large eight-pointed star within a circle, and which contains, so as to form the angles of the star, eight repetitions of the words in Arabic, “The Empire.” The dominant colour is carmine, and the fabric terminates in eight farpas or scallops with red and yellow edges, and bearing a series of inscriptions in the African character.

The “pendon of the Rio Salado,” a trophy which seems to have really been a war-flag, belongs to[24] the cathedral of Toledo. It measures at this day about nine feet two inches by seven feet four inches, but is believed to have been originally of a square form, with scalloped edges. The dominant colours are red, green, and gold. The decorative scheme consists of tastefully combined circles and inscriptions in the Cufic character, and the lower end concludes in the following sentences, now rendered incomplete through the loss of nearly two feet of the material:—“ … the wise, the victorious, the assiduous, the generous, the sultan, the caliph, the famous emir of the Muslims and representative of the Lord of the Universe, Abu-Said Otsmin, son of our lord and master … the worshipper of (Allah), the modest, the warlike, the emir of the Mussulmans Nassir-li-Din (defender of the law), Abu Yusuf Yacub, son of Abd-il-Hac. In the Alcázar of Fez (God bless it. Praised be God), in the Moon of Moharran of the year twelve and seven hundred” (712 of the Hegira, or May 9th–June 7th, a.d. 1312).

Tastefully disposed in white Cufic characters, within four rows of circles woven in gold, are the words which sum the Mussulman religion,—“There is no God but God: Mahoma is His Messenger”;[25] and on other parts of the flag are inscribed these sentences:—

“The prophet believes in the purpose for which he was sent by his Lord, and all the faithful believe in God, in His angels, in His writings, and in His messengers. We make no distinction between any of His messengers. And these declare: ‘We hear and do obey. Pardon us, O Lord.’

“…. And unto Thee we shall return. God will not lay on any soul but such a weight as it can bear; for it or against it shall be the deeds it may have done. O Lord, chastise not our forgetfulness or errors. O Lord, lay not upon us the burden Thou hadst laid on those that were before us.

“…. O Lord, burden us not too heavily. Blot out our faults, and pardon them to us, and have mercy on us. Thou art our Lord. Grant us victory over the infidel. There came to us a glorious prophet that was born among us.

“On him rests the weight of your faults, and full of goodness and of clemency he longs ardently for you to believe. If you should be forsaken, exclaim, ‘God is sufficient for me. There is no God but He. I trust in Him, because He is Lord of the throne that is on high.’”

Miquel y Badía considers that when it was[26] intact this object must have measured eleven feet square. Attention was first drawn to its merit and antiquity when it was shown at the Exposición Histórico Europea of 1892.

The chasubles of Chirinos (Caravaca) and of the Chapel of the Constable in Burgos cathedral are both considered to be of Spanish-Moorish workmanship. The former is woven of silk of various colours, but without admixture of gold thread, and bears an inscription in Arabic which Amador de los Ríos has interpreted as, “Glory to our Sultan Abul-Hachach.” The same authority deduces that the fabric dates from the fourteenth or the fifteenth century—that is, from the time of the Sultan Abul-Hachach (Yusuf the First) or of his immediate successors.

The chasuble preserved at Burgos is also woven of variegated silk without gold thread, and may originally have been a tiraz, since it bears, in African letters, the inscription, “Glory to our lord the Sultan.” The date is probably the fifteenth or sixteenth century. Fragments of similar material are in the collections of Señores Osma and Miquel y Badía.

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(Royal Armoury, Madrid)

The object represented in Plate ii. is described[27] in the Catalogue of the Royal Armoury at Madrid as A fragment of the royal mantle in which was buried the king and saint, Ferdinand the Third of Castile (a.d. 1217–1252). Gestoso, in the course of his researches into the history of old Seville, has found that in the year 1579 Philip the Second caused an examination to be made at that city of the remains, enshrined in her cathedral, of Saint Ferdinand. The body was found “with a ring with a blue stone on a finger of the right hand, and wearing sword and spurs.” In 1677 Charles the Second sent for the ring in question, and eleven years later a fresh examination was made, when the mummy of the saint was stated to be wrapped in “clothing of a stuff the nature of which cannot now be recognised, but which is chequered all over with the royal arms of Castile, and with lions.” A third examination was made in 1729, when the “holy body of Señor San Fernando” was reported to be “covered, the greater part, with a royal mantle, of a stuff which could not be recognised for its decay: only it was seen to be embroidered with castles and lions.”

Probably, therefore, this fragment was taken to Madrid at the same time as the ring—that is, in the year 1677. It has an irregular shape, and[28] measures eighteen inches long by thirteen and a half in breadth. The material is a woven mixture of silk and gold thread, and the decoration consists of castles and lions in gold and red respectively, upon a ground of carmine and dirty white. Count Valencia de Don Juan points out that this strip belonged to the lower end of the mantle, since it includes a portion of the border, formed by a series of horizontal stripes, blue, yellow, red, and gold. The character of the whole fragment is decidedly Mohammedan, and indicates a Mudejar fabric, made at Seville in the thirteenth century.

I find that in the Book of Chess of Alfonso the Learned (an illuminated Spanish manuscript executed in the thirteenth century, and now preserved at the Escorial), Alfonso himself is represented (Plate iii.) as wearing a mantle with this very pattern of lions and castles contained in squares. Therefore it seems extremely probable, either that this device was not uncommon on the robes of Spanish kings, or else that at some time the body of San Fernando was enveloped in a mantle belonging to, and which perhaps had been inherited by, his son.

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(From “The Book of Chess”; MS. in the Escorial Library)

The clothing of the Infante Don Felipe and of Doña Leonor, his wife, consists of the prince's[29] cloak, which is nearly intact, a piece of his aljuba, his cap, and a strip of silken cloth inwoven with gold. The latter fragment is thought to have belonged to the robe of the Infanta.

These objects, discovered in 1848, in the tomb of Don Felipe and Doña Leonor, at Villalcazar de Sirga, near Palencia, are now in the National Museum. The cloak or mantle is richly wrought in silk and gold, and bears the word Blessing, woven in Cufic characters upon the ground. The aljuba is also of silk and gold, showing a delicate combination of blue and yellow, and the style and workmanship of all these fragments are unmistakably Mohammedan.

Therefore, in textile crafts, the Spanish Moors supplied the wants and the caprices both of themselves and of their enemies the Christians.

The relationship between certain under-garments of the two peoples is evident from the very titles of those garments. Thus, the Spanish joquejo or soquejo, a scarf for winding round a woman's body, is obviously derived, or merely corrupted, from the Arabic jocob; the Spanish arrede or arrelde, a kind of cloak, from the Arabic arrida, and the Spanish shirt or tunic for ordinary wear, called the casot, quesote, or quizote (which[30] was sometimes white and sometimes coloured) from the Arabic al-kuesnat. The Chronicle of Juan the Second (a.d. 1410) tells of a mountain covered with Moorish troops, “and all of them had red quesotes.”

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(Red upon Gold Ground. About A.D. 1500)

Among the cities of Moorish Spain, Almería and Granada were undoubtedly those which produced the handsomest stuffs—Almería from comparatively early in the days of Muslim domination, Granada from a somewhat later time.[8] Notices are extant of Christian princes who directly ordered these materials from Granada; e.g. in 1392 Don Juan the First caused to be purchased there, as a present to his daughter on her marriage, “una cambra de saya orlada ab son dozer e cobertor de color vermella, blaua, ó vert, ù otro que fuera de buena vista” (Archives of the Crown of Aragon). The manufacture of velvet was probably introduced into Aragon in the reign of Pedro the Fourth. Excellent silks and cloth of gold were also made at Málaga, Seville, Toledo, and Valencia. Indeed,[31] no better source exists for studying the character of this important industry in older Spain than the Ordinances of the cities I have just enumerated.[9] We learn from these municipal provisions, most of which were framed or ratified in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, that the mingling of fine with base material was forbidden in the strictest terms, and that the styles and classes of even the luxurious and elaborate stuffs, which bore an infinite variety of devices, were very numerous. Thus, there were satins, taffetas, azeytunis, double and single velvets (Plates iv. and vii.), brocades, and silken serges; as well as fabrics interwoven with gold and silver thread, including the gorgoranes, restaños, sargas, and jergas de filigrana de plata. The Ordinances of Toledo mention the following fabrics as manufactured in that city in the reigns of Ferdinand and Isabella, and of Charles the Fifth:—

“Stuffs of gold and silver made in the same manner as satin.

“Satins woven with gold.

“Satins brocaded with silk and gold, or silver[32] flowers.

“Silver serges with double filigree.

“Silver and gold materials, which are made like gorgoran or serge.

“Silver and gold stuffs which are made like taffetas, or in silver with silk flowers.

“Embroidered stuffs.

“Embroidered stuffs called silver serge, or berguilla.

Lama, cloth of silver, shaded with watering in silver.

“Plain silk-stuffs woven with silver or gold, and called restaño.

“Silk-stuffs woven with gold or silver, and called relampagos.

“Serges woven with gold and silver for church vestments.

“Plain filigree serges.

Velillo of silver.

“Satin woven with gold and silver.

“Brocades of different kinds.

“Church vestments.

“Silver primaveras.

“Serges for church vestments.”

It was usual for ladies of the Christian-Spanish[33] aristocracy to trim their clothes, in Moorish fashion, with strings of larger pearls or of aljofar-work—a custom which continued until the extinction of the House of Austria. The Alburquerque inventory includes “a marlota of crimson satin, trimmed with pearls and with aljofar, as to the hem, the sleeves, and the hood; with twelve buttons of aljofar-pearls in the front thereof, that on a time were thirteen; but one is missing which was ground up for the said Duchess when she was sick, and six buttons on each sleeve, and the same where each sleeve meets the shoulder.”

Early in the seventeenth century, Pinheiro da Veiga mentions the same fashion at Valladolid:—“At the sale of the Marchioness of Mondejar, I saw twelve of her sayas with long trains to them, and satin bodices, all of embroidered silk, and some with aljofar-work, besides a number of all kinds of diabluras.”

It is stated by Ibn-Said, Al-Makkari, Al-Kattib, and Ibn-Khaldun, that the Moors of Granada occasionally adopted Christian clothing, and we know that the Sultan Mohammed, a contemporary of Alfonso the Learned of Castile, was assassinated by Abrahim and Abomet, the sons of Osmin, because he was so clothed, and because he had[34] further violated the precepts of the Koran by eating at Alfonso's table.[10] But as a rule the costume of the Spanish Moors was almost wholly that of orientals. Where they were tolerated in a city under Christian rule, a certain dress was sometimes forced upon them by their subjugators, as by the Ordenamiento (a.d. 1408) of Doña Catalina, issued on behalf of her son, Juan the Second, and which prescribed for the Moorish men a capuz of yellow cloth with a mark upon it in the form of a blue half-moon measuring an inch from point to point, and which was to be worn on the right shoulder. The garments of the women were to be similarly marked, on pain of fifty lashes administered publicly, together with the forfeiture of all such clothes as lacked this necessary and humiliating token.

But where the Spanish Moors were in possession of the soil, their clothes were similar in most respects to those of eastern peoples. Detailed notices of these costumes are furnished us by Ibn-Said and other writers. Fray Pedro de Alcalá explains in his Vocabulary that, among the[35] Granadinos, the use of one garment in particular was limited to royalty, or nobles of high rank. This was the libas (or, in the Granadino dialect, libis), shaped like roomy breeches, and greatly resembling the zaragüelles worn until this hour by the peasants of the Huerta of Valencia. Ibn-Said, quoted by Al-Makkari (see Gayangos, History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain, Vol. I., p. 116) says that the dress of the Moors of Andalusia was not identical with that of the Asiatic Mussulman. The former, he declares, would often discard the turban; especially those who lived towards the eastern frontier. In the western region the turban continued to be generally worn by the upper classes and by the leading State officials. Thus, at Cordova and Seville every cadi and alfaqui would wear a turban, while at Valencia and Murcia even the nobles went without it, and among the lower classes it had fallen into absolute disuse. Neither officers nor soldiers of the army wore the turban.

We learn from Casiri (Bibl. Arabico-Hispana, II., p. 258) that the imama[11] was the only form of[36] head-dress used by the cheiks, cadis, and ulemas of Granada. At this capital red was the distinctive colour of the sovereigns of the Alahmar dynasty, who took their very title from this circumstance, the Arabic word alahmar meaning “red.” The distinctive colour of the Nasrite sultans was purple, which was replaced by black in time of mourning. In this last fashion the sultans were probably influenced by the Christian usage, for Ibn-Khaldun remarks that black was not a colour approved of by the orientals, who considered it to be related with the spirits of evil. However this may be, the manuscript History of the House of Cordova quoted by Eguilaz Yanguas, says that when Boabdil el Chico entered that city as a prisoner, “the captive monarch was dressed in black velvet, in token of his adverse fortune and defeat. He rode a richly caparisoned charger, whose coat was black and glossy.”

The Moors regarded green or white as pleasant and well-omened colours, symbolic of the angels and of all good fortune. Perhaps this preference was suggested to them by the cool oasis in the desert. Nevertheless, when Ibn-Hud became ruler of Andalusia, his shields and banners were black, as well as his costume. Black, too, was the[37] colour adopted by the Abbaside Sultans, to whom Ibn-Hud was subject. Under the Beni-Nasr and Beni-Alahmar, this gloomy hue was changed, as we have seen, to purple or to scarlet, though black continued to be used in sign of mourning.

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(National Museum of Artillery, Madrid)

The chronicle says that Abu-Said, “the Red,” who was assassinated at Tablada, under the walls of Seville, by Pedro the Cruel, was clothed in scarlet at the time of that atrocious deed. Boabdil was also clothed in red at the battle of Lucena. The History of the House of Cordova, from which I have already quoted, says: “Il était armé d'une forte cuirasse à clous dorés, doublée de velours cramoisi, d'un morion teint de grenat et doré…. Sur sa cuirasse était passé un caban de brocart et de velours cramoisi” (Plate v.). Eguilaz quotes a further passage from Hurtado de Mendoza, to prove that red continued to be the official colour of the Moorish rulers of Granada; for when the Moriscos had risen in the Alpujarra, and met together to invest their leaders, Aben-Abu and Aben-Humeya, with the insignia of royalty, they clothed the former in a red costume and the latter in purple, “passing about his neck and shoulders a red token in the form of a scarf.”[12]

As I remarked in speaking of the tiraz, the[38] clothing of the Moorish kings of Spain was of the richest quality obtainable, massively wrought, embroidered in colours and in gold, and bearing “sometimes a prince's name, sometimes his device or motto, or even a portrait of himself embroidered on the right breast of his caban or robe, thus following the fashion of the monarchs of Assyria and Persia.”


[1] “Perco con los draps d'or é d'argent, é de seda axi brocats d'or é d'argent con altres é velluts, xamelots, tafetanes, é sendats se usen molt de vestir en lo dit Principat d'alguna generalitat ne dret no y sia posat, mes solament vi liners per liura per la entrada.”

[2] “We have seen many instances of such opposed animals and birds on the metal-work and carving of the thirteenth century, and there is no doubt that the design is much older than Mohammedan times, and goes back to the productions of the old artists of Mesopotamia and Persia. We read in Quintus Curtius of robes worn by Persian satraps, adorned with birds beak to beak—aurei accipitres veluti rostri in se irruerunt pallam adornabant. Plautus mentions Alexandrian carpets ornamented with beasts: Alexandrina belluata conchyliata tapetia. There is indeed reason to believe that the notion of such pairs of birds or beasts may have originated with the weavers of ancient Persia, and have been borrowed from them by the engravers of metal-work; for the advantage of such double figures would be specially obvious to a weaver. The symmetrical repetition of the figure of the bird or animal, reversed, saved both labour and elaboration of the loom. The old weavers, not yet masters of mechanical improvements, were obliged to work their warp up and down by means of strings, and the larger the design the more numerous became these strings and the more complicated the loom. Hence, to be able to repeat the pattern in reverse was a considerable economy of labour, and could be effected very simply on a loom constructed to work à pointe et à reverse. Examples of such repetitions of patterns, especially of symmetrical pairs of animals within circles, are common in Byzantine and Sassanian woven work, and the Saracens followed these models.”—Stanley Lane-Poole, The Art of the Saracens in Egypt, p. 288.

[3] Elogio de la Reina Católica, p. 374.

[4] These are defined by the Count of Clonard as “a kind of clog (chapín) with a cork sole, and which was introduced by the Moors under the name al-kork.”

[5] Specifically, tartari was a costly fabric, heavily embroidered. Ducange considers that it came, or came originally, from Tartary. We read of it twice in the Chronicle of the Cid, and again, in the Chronicle of Ferdinand the Fourth:—“tiraron los paños de marhega que tenia vestidos por su padre é vistiéronle unos paños nobles de tartari.”

[6] Quoted by Fernandez y Gonzalez, Mudejares de Castilla, p. 231, from the originals in the Archiepiscopal Library of Toledo.

[7] “An interesting parallel to the royal silk factory, or Dār-et-tirāz of Kay-Kubād, and to that of the Fātimy Khalif at Tinnīs, is found in the similar institution at Palermo, which owed its foundation to the Kelby Amīrs who ruled Sicily as vassals of the Fātimis in the ninth and tenth centuries, though it maintained its special character and excellence of work under the Norman kings. The factory was in the palace, and the weavers were Mohammedans, as indeed is obvious from a glance at the famous silk cloth preserved at Vienna, and called the “Mantle of Nürnberg,” where a long Arabic inscription testifies to the hands that made it, by order of King Roger, in the year of the Hijra 528, or a.d. 1133.”—Stanley Lane-Poole, The Art of the Saracens in Egypt, p. 289.

[8] The Alburquerque inventory mentions, in 1560, “two Almería sheets, one with green and purple edging, and the other with white and red”; also “two short holland shirts for sleeping in at night.” Commenting on the word short, Señor de la Torre de Trassierra aptly recalls the thrifty proverb of the Spaniards,—“A shirt which reaches below the navel is so much linen wasted.”

[9] See particularly Las Ordenanzas de los tejedores de seda de Sevilla (officially proclaimed on March 2nd, 1502), and also Las Ordenanzas para el buen régimen y gobierno de la muy noble, muy leal, é imperial cuidad de Toledo. (Tit. cxxxv: “silk-weavers.”)

[10] On the other hand, Rosmithal recorded in his narrative of a tour of Spain that Henry the Second of Castile affected the costume of the Mohammedans.

[11] This was a large form of turban. In the well-known painting in the Hall of Justice of the Alhambra, the head-dress is the aharim or almaizar.

[12] Eguilaz Yanguas, Les Peintures de l'Alhambra.


A very fair idea of the magnitude of the craft and trade of Spanish silk in bygone epochs may be formed by tracing chronologically the production and treatment of the raw material in various parts of the Peninsula. During the centuries of Moorish rule, Spain's principal silk-producing centre was the kingdom of Granada, which then embraced a large extent of coast, together with Málaga and other thriving ports. In proof of this, and in his interesting memorial on the silk factories of Seville,[13] Ulloa quotes old Spanish ordinances of the weavers, stating that quantities of this substance were exported[39] from “tierra de Moros” for use by Christian craftsmen, and also the Chronology of the Kings of Granada, concluded by Al-Khattib in the year 1364. A fragment of this chronicle is preserved at the Escorial, and states, in the well-known version of Casiri, that the silk produced at Granada was both abundant and of excellent quality, surpassing even the Assyrian.

The growing of mulberry trees and rearing of silkworms was also busily pursued in the kingdom of Aragon, which formerly included Cataluña, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands. Hence, though somewhat gradually, it seems to have spread to Seville. In the ordinances of this town relating to her weavers of silks and velvets, and which are dated 1492, it is stated that her oficiales de texer sedas were so few that, as a stimulus to augment their number, all who wished might join them in the practice of this craft without examination. Between that year and 1502 they evidently multiplied, since subjects of examination of no easy character are formulated in the ordinances of this later date, examined and confirmed by Ferdinand and Isabella. Nevertheless, it is impossible to credit the assertion of some authors that by the year 1519 Seville possessed[40] no less than sixteen thousand looms, affording occupation to one hundred and fifty thousand persons. As Ulloa suggests, it is far more reasonable to suppose that her silk trade grew in proportion as the Spaniards continued to discover, and to open up to commerce, new regions of America; and that it reached the maximum of its development in the reigns of Charles the Fifth and Philip the Second. The same writer attributes its decline and downfall to the “piracies and insults” of Spain's foreign enemies and rivals.

The price of Seville silks was also raised and the trade injuriously affected, by the imposition, at the close of the reign of Philip the Second, of the onerous millones tax, as well as of the minor dues denominated alcavalas and cientos; while finally, when Philip the Third was on the throne, the expulsion of the Moriscos precipitated the utter ruin of this industry.

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(Seville Cathedral)

The Spanish government proved quite incapable of grappling with these wrongs and difficulties. There were, however, numerous attempts to legislate in the direction of reform. Measures forbidding the introduction of silk proceeding from abroad received the royal signature in 1500, 1514, 1525, 1532, and 1552. A petition to the same effect,[41] framed by the procurators of the Cortes, was presented to the king in 1618, urging that no skein or twisted silk proceeding from the Portuguese Indies, China, or Persia should be imported into Spain in view of the damage thus inflicted on the silk-producing regions of Granada, Murcia, and Valencia. At the same time the petitioners suggested that if it should be found impracticable to suppress such importation altogether, the foreign silk should be required to be in the form of stuffs already woven.

Matters grew steadily worse all through the reign of Philip the Fourth. The principal cause of this additional decline lay in the constant depreciation of the national currency, which kept at an intolerable pitch of dearness the price of home-grown silk, and enabled foreign traders to undersell the Spaniard. This will be better understood if we consider that the composition of the copper and silver coinage was often tampered with by Crown and Parliament in such a way as to allow the foreigner to rid the country of nearly all her gold and silver, leaving in exchange only the baser metal. At intervals of a few years, proclamations were issued altering the values of the coinage in the most capricious and disastrous terms, and Ulloa mentions as still in circulation in the eighteenth[42] century, ochavos of Philip the Third which bore inscribed the value of twelve maravedis in Roman numerals, and also (owing to the restamping of the coins by order of the Crown), the second and successive value of eight maravedis, marked in ordinary numerals. In fact, so grave were these abuses, that the arbitrary value imposed upon the coins in question grew to be six times that of the actual value of the metal.

At the close of the seventeenth century, when Charles the Second was on the throne, a couple of well-meant and not completely ineffectual attempts were made to bring about a fresh revival in the growth of Spanish silk. On November 18th, 1683, the silk-makers of Toledo, Seville, Granada, and Valencia were summoned to a council at Madrid, and the dispositions they then agreed upon received the royal signature and became law on January 30th of the following year, the pragmatic which embodied them being issued to the public ten days later. It was commanded by this document that all the silk produced at the above-named towns should be examined and approved by the veedores or mayorales, and bear the official stamp which guaranteed their quality. The effect of these ordinances was[43] further strengthened by a Crown cedula of July 15th, 1692, confirming other dispositions dated 1635; and later still, in June of 1699, a law was passed prohibiting the exportation of all home-made silks to other countries.

The accession of the Bourbon kings heralded a further slight improvement. Philip the Fifth had barely mounted the throne when the Junta de Comercio was revived by his command, and drafted various laws for bettering this and other industries. Royal decrees of June 20th and September 17th, 1718, renewed in June of 1728 and in April and August of 1734, forbade the introduction of silk and certain other stuffs from China and the rest of Asia—a measure which was made more strict as time went on, the prohibition being extended to linens and cottons produced and printed in Africa or Asia or imitated in Europe. In the meantime another cedula, signed at the Escorial on November 10th, 1726, had ordered that every Spanish citizen of either sex should dress exclusively in silks or cloths of Spanish manufacture.

These laws, though founded on mistaken principles, undoubtedly restored the national silk trade for a while. In 1713 the silk looms of Seville had increased to four hundred and five, and by 1732—in[44] which year the Court resided at that capital—to a thousand; but on the return of the royal family to Madrid, and the declaration of war against England in 1739, the number dropped to a hundred and forty. In 1743 an effort was made to remedy this by exempting Seville silks from payment of the alcabalas and cientos, and further support was rendered in 1749 by Ferdinand the Sixth, who lowered to eighty maravedis per pound weight the tax on Spanish silks exported from the kingdom, and issued, in 1752, 1753, and 1756, additional decrees intended to encourage and protect this industry. In 1748 the same ruler established the celebrated silk factories of Talavera de la Reina, sparing no pains to bring their products to a level with the best in Europe, and choosing as director of the works a thoroughly proficient Frenchman named Jean Roulière, a native of Nîmes, who was assisted by a carefully selected staff of experts, also principally foreigners.

About the end of the century Laborde described this enterprise as follows:—“The manufactures of silks, gildings, and galloons are highly useful and important…. There has also been raised at Cervera, a village two leagues from Talavera, another large edifice, in which are twelve mills[45] for twisting the silk, four large windles for winding it, and six machines for doubling it. This complicated machinery is put in motion by four oxen, and the various processes of twisting, winding, and doubling seven thousand and seventy-two threads of silk are thus performed at once.

“This establishment was rapidly augmented under the direction of Roulière and the other French mechanics who succeeded him in its superintendence. So successful were their labours that, in a short time, stuffs were fabricated in Spain not unworthy of competition with those of France, the demand for which was found to diminish. In 1762, Roulière being obliged to withdraw from this manufactory, the care of it was committed to a company to the exclusion of almost all the French who had previously assisted in its establishment. The consequences of this change were soon discovered; the manufacture declined, the stuffs deteriorated, and the consumption diminished; the artisans were discharged from the loom, and everything threatened the total subversion of the establishment, when the king interposed, and again extended to it his care and protection, It has since been yielded to the incorporated society of the Gremios at Madrid, but[46] has never recovered its former splendour and prosperity.

“Taffetas, satins, silk cloths, and serges are fabricated here, as are silk ribbons, plain and figured velvets, stuffs of silk and silver, stuffs of silk and gold, galloons, gold and silver fringes, and silk stockings. The factory employs three hundred and sixty-six looms, and affords occupation to two thousand persons. There are annually consumed in it about a hundred thousand pounds of silk, four thousand marks of silver, and seventy marks of gold.

“Some of the stuffs issuing from the manufactory are beautiful and good, but they want the gloss and lustre of the French stuffs; and as they are dearer than those, with all the contingent expense of commission and transportation, they are far from being able to maintain a competition with them. The stockings are of the vilest quality, being thin, shaggy, and ill-dressed. The greater part of these articles are exported to the Spanish colonies.”

Further efforts to improve the quality of Spanish silk were made by Charles the Third, in whose reign the silk looms of Seville increased to four hundred and sixty-two for weaving larger pieces,[47] sixty-two for silver and gold galloons, three hundred and fifty-four for finely-worked ribbons, twenty-three for small pieces of gold and silver stuffs, eight for fringes and cintas de rizo, sixty-three for stockings, sixty-five for redecillas, three for caps, and one thousand three hundred and ninety-one for ordinary ribbon. At the same time, according to Ulloa, one hundred thousand pounds of silk required to be annually brought to Seville to supply these factories.

“In its fortunate days,” wrote Alexander de Laborde, “Seville had many splendid manufactures; it wove silks of every kind, gold and silver tissues, linens, and cottons.[14] A memoir presented[48] in 1601 by the seventeen companies of arts and trades of this city gives us an idea of the brilliant state of those manufactures: the amount of the silk looms is there stated to be 16,000, and the persons of both sexes employed at them, 130,000. These manufactures had greatly declined even in the last century. We learn from Francisco Martínez de la Mata, in his Discursos, published in 1659, according to a memoir presented to the king by an alcalde of the silk manufactures of Seville, that there were no more, at that time, than sixty-five looms, that a great number of persons having no work had quitted the town, that the population had decreased a third, and[49] that many houses were shut up, uninhabited, and going to ruin. The silk manufactures began to look up again in the eighteenth century, but they are very far below the brilliant state they formerly displayed: in 1779 there were 2318 silk looms in Seville, including those for stockings, slight stuffs, and ribbons.”[15]

Turning our attention from Seville to Granada, we find that the fame of the silks produced in this latter city, or rather kingdom (for silk was raised in great quantities throughout the entire region) extended as far abroad as Constantinople, and that they were used in Greece in the reign of Comnenus. The Muzarabs, who petitioned Alfonso el Batallador to bring an expedition to their rescue and wrest Granada from her Mussulman lords, reported to him in enthusiastic terms the quality and abundance of the silk of that locality, and many a document and chronicle record its vogue among the Spanish Christians of the Middle Ages.

The Alcaicería or silk-market of Granada is referred to by various of the older writers, including[50] Marineus Siculus, Navagiero, Lalaing, Bertaut de Rouen, and Alvarez de Colmenar. The name itself is stated in Fray Pedro de Alcalá's Vocabulario to be derived from the Arabic al-aqqisariya, meaning “an exchange for merchants.” Buildings, or groups of buildings, of this kind existed both in Spain and in Morocco. Early in the eighteenth century a Spanish friar wrote of Fez; “The Moorish portion of this city is the Alcaicería. It stands nearly in the centre of the level part of the town, and near the principal mosque, resembling a town in itself, with solid walls and doors, and chains across it to keep out the horses. It consists of fifteen streets of wealthy shops, stretching without a break, and what is sold in them—whether of linen, silk, or cloth—is of the richest and the noblest quality.”

Very similar are the descriptions relative to the Alcaicería of Granada in the olden time. Bertaut de Rouen wrote of it, and of the adjoining Zacatin; “En retournant devers la porte d'Elvire est le Zacatin, qui est une rue paralelle au Canal du Darro, longue et assez estroite, qui vient de la place de la Chancellerie à la place de Vivarambla. Dans cette rue sont tous les orfévres, les marchands de soie, de rubans, de vermillon, qui croist assez[51] prés de Grenade, dont on fait là grand trafic. C'est une plante semblable à celle du Safran, dont il y a beaucoup dans ces quartiers-là.

“Dans cette mesme rue du Zacatin donne d'un costé l'Alcayzerie, qui est une espèce de Halle couverte à la manière de la Foire Saint Germain, où sont plusieurs boutiques remplies des Marchandises les plus curieuses. Ils disent que cette place, aussi bien que beaucoup d'autres des autres Villes d'Andalousie, se nomme ainsi à cause d'un privilege que donnerent les Cesars aux Arabes de travailler en Soye.”

Alvarez de Colmenar wrote of the same edifice, a few years later than Bertaut; “Vis-à-vis de la Chancellerie on voit une maison fort longue, nommée Alcacéria (sic), partagée en près de deux cent boutiques, où les Marchands ètalent tout sorte de marchandises, particulièrement des étoffes en soie.” On the authority of the same writer, the makers and the dyers of silk-stuffs inhabited another quarter of the town. “Le dernier quartier de la Ville, nommé Antiqueruela, est dans une plaine, peuplé de gens venus d'Antechera, d'où lui vient le nom qu'il porte. Ses habitants sont pour la plupart ouvriers en soie, tisseurs de satin, de tafetas, de damas; teinturiers qui teignent en[52] pourpre, en écarlate, et autres ouvriers semblables.” He adds; “Il s'y fait grand commerce d'étoffe de soie; et la Ville et les environs sont pour cet effet plantés d'un si grand nombre de meuriers, que le seul impôt sur les feuilles de ces arbres vaut annuellement trente mille écus au Roi.”

About the beginning of the nineteenth century Laborde wrote: “The Alcaicería is in the Bivarambla: it is merely an immense edifice, without ornament, covering a considerable extent of ground. The Moors used it as a bazaar, and a good many tradesmen still carry on their business there. It contains about two hundred shops.” It remained, in fact, in much the same condition as when the Moors possessed it, until the year 1843, when a fire, which broke out on the night of July 20th of that year, reduced it almost totally to ashes. To-day the historic silk trade is no more; but the Alcaicería, consisting of a chapel and a street which call to mind the graceful and effective decoration of its predecessor, has been rebuilt with taste and accuracy from the model of the old.

The Ordenanzas of Granada city, the first edition of which was published in 1552, and the second in 1678, inform us very closely of the silk trade of that region in the times immediately succeeding[53] the reconquest. Having regard to the fact that the silk was now spun in skeins in an imperfect manner, “with much deceit and trickery,” and that its quality was of the worst (Ordinance of a.d. 1535), nobody was allowed henceforth to spin silk in or about Granada without being qualified through examination by the veedores or inspectors appointed for this purpose by the corporation. The inspector might charge for this examination a fee of twenty-five maravedis, and if the candidate were successful he was permitted to set up his loom forthwith, and engage two lads or girls, not less than twelve years old, to fetch and carry at his wheel, “so that the work may be continued all day long.”

Minute instructions follow as to the method of spinning the silk, wages, the treatment of apprentices, and other detail. Many of these narrow points of city law were troublesome and senseless, and must have tended to destroy the trade. For instance, the earnings of a master-spinner, after paying the lads or girls who worked for him, were limited to a maximum of two reales and a half per day. Women were allowed to spin upon the following conditions: “Also, seeing that there be some honest women here who have no access to[54] a public wheel, but work within their dwellings only, we (i.e. the city councillors) command that these may spin per thousand of cocoons, or at a daily wage, not to exceed two reales and a half.” The silk was not to be spun with an escobilla or brush, but with the hand, obedient to the rhyming Spanish proverb which says, or used to say, con escobilla el paño, y la seda con la mano (“brush cloth with a brush, and silk with the hand”).

The laws affecting the dyers of silk contain the following provisions. They were not to dye with pomegranate or sumach, and if the rind of the former fruit were found in their houses, they were liable to a fine of six thousand maravedis and thirty days' imprisonment. Dyeing with Brazil-wood was also prohibited in the case of silks of finer quality exposed for sale in the Alcaicería. Elaborate directions follow as to the manner of applying the dye. In the case of silks dyed blue or purple, the dyer, before he drew the fabric from the vat, was required to show it to the alamin or inspector of the silk, or else to one of the veedores nominated by the city councillors. The fines imposed upon the dyers who were found to contravene these regulations were distributed in the following proportion: one-third towards repairing[55] the ramparts or adarves of Granada; another third between the alamin, the veedores, and the other officials who discovered and denounced the culprit; and the remaining third between the magistrates and other authorities who tried and sentenced him.

Further, each silk-dyer was to have six tinajas, or large jars (see Vol. II., pp. 120 et seq.), kept continually full of dye, well settled, and liable at any hour to be analyzed by the veedores. In dyeing fabrics black, each pound of silk was to be treated with ten ounces of foreign galls of fine quality, two ounces of copperas, and two ounces of gum-arabic.

It is evident that nearly all this legislation was of a mischievous character, nor can it cause surprise that certain of the silk-makers of this locality should have been in the habit of committing many kinds of fraud, such as mixing salt or oil with the raw material, in order to increase its weight. Thus, at the same time that the laws themselves were made more numerous and stringent, the more elaborate and various were the shifts invented by the citizens as a means to violate those laws. The inspectors were empowered to enter a shop and examine its contents at any hour.[56] Sometimes, we read, such ingress was denied them, and the door was kept closed, or slammed in their faces. The penalty for this resistance was a fine of two thousand maravedis and twenty days imprisonment. No silk-spinner was allowed to possess more than two spinning-wheels (Ordinance of November 18th, 1501), or to keep these working after midnight, for we are told that in this way the veedores were impeded from paying their official visit in the small hours of the morning, and much “deceit and insult” was the consequence. This Ordinance was confirmed by a royal rescript of 1542.

see caption

(Late 15th Century)

Another group of Ordenanzas concerns the weavers and the silk-merchants of the Alcaicería, determining that no silk was to be imported from the kingdoms of Valencia or Murcia, and that no merchant was to buy the raw material in order to resell it at a profit, but might only trade in the productions of his own factory. Minute instructions are appended for weaving the various stuffs which had a silk foundation, such as several kinds of damask, scarlet velvet[16] many kinds of satin, velvet dyed with Brazil-wood, taffeta of[57] four leishes, taffeta of two leishes, and sargas, or silken serge. Other fabrics mentioned in the Ordinances are tocas called “San Juanes,” campuses moriscos (elsewhere “las tocas moriscas que se llaman campuzas”), “las tocas moriscas labradas que se dizen coninos,” quinales and alfardillas, alcaydias, tocas de Reyna, and espumillas. Most of these names are of obscure meaning at the present day; but I find that espumillas were silken crape, while alfardillas are defined in the old dictionary of Fathers Connelly and Higgins as “an ancient kind of silken ribbon, or tape.”

No weaver was allowed to be the owner of more than four looms for making velvet, satin, damask, taffeta, or silken serges. The apprentice to a satin-maker required to be bound for a minimum term of three years, the apprentice to a damask-maker for five years, the apprentice to a taffeta-maker for three years. No weaver was to have more than three apprentices at one time, except in the case of the damask-makers, who might have four. No weaver might dismiss his apprentice without deponing to the cause before the city officers, nor might he accept money, or anything in lieu of money, from an apprentice. Master-weavers were required to pass[58] their examinations in Granada; no other city would suffice.

We further learn that many of the apprentices were “of evil character,” and damaged velvet stuffs “maliciously, though knowing perfectly how to weave the same.” If any worker at this craft fell sick, the guild or oficio was to defray the expenses of his cure, including physic “until he be recovered, provided his be not a venereal ailment, or a wound inflicted with a knife.” If he succumbed, the guild was to bury him; and when a master-weaver died, his apprentices were compelled to serve out the rest of their indentures with his widow, or his sons. No slave might learn to weave, even though he should be made a horro or freedman.

Other ordinances refer to the officers known as Xelizes and Almotalefes of the silk, the privilege of appointing whom had been conferred upon the town-council by Ferdinand and Isabella. It was the business of the almotalefe or motalefe to collect silk throughout the alcarias or villages of the surrounding districts, and convey it, on behalf of the owner, to a xeliz or “superintendent of the market,” attached to one or other of the three Alcaicerías of the kingdom of Granada. The[59] xeliz, in his turn, was required to see that the parcel was put up for sale by public auction and disposed of to the highest bidder, after which he handed to the motalefe a certificate of the price obtained, together with the corresponding cash, less certain fees deducted for himself and calculated on a reasonable scale. The number of motalefes throughout this region was evidently large, because in the year 1520 the town-council resolved to appoint as many as “one or two in every town and district.”

Ordinances to the above effect were notified to the city of Almuñecar, and the towns of Motril, Salobreña, and the Alpujarras; from which we must infer that, though subordinated to the capital herself, these places also were silk-producing centres of no slight importance.

Further laws relating to the Xelizes were passed in 1535. On August 13th, the mayor of Granada (described as the “very magnificent” Señor Hernan Darias de Saavedra) summoned before him these officials in order to admonish them respecting certain fresh decisions that had been adopted by the councillors. The said Xelizes were six in all, known severally as Juan Ximenez, Hernando el Comarxi, Juan Infante Zaybona, Juan de Granada, Lorenzo[60] el Mombatan, and Francisco Hernandez Almorox—names which are of interest, as showing that the Morisco element was still of weight among the manufacturers and merchants of Granada. From this time forth, and by the resolution of the town authorities, the Xelizes in question were called upon to lodge a deposit of one thousand ducats as security for the value of the silk entrusted them for sale. Besides this, the silk was to be sold in the Zaguaque—that is, by public auction “as in the time of the Moors,” from two in the afternoon onward. The buyer was required to settle his account before ten in the morning of the day next following his purchase. Failing this, the silk was to be again put up for sale, and the costs of this new operation were charged to the defaulting first purchaser, who was further obliged to pay a daily compensation of two reales to the motalefe who had brought the silk to market. Xelizes were strictly forbidden to traffic on their own account, and the fines for infringing any of these laws were heavy. If the infraction were repeated once, the fine was doubled; if twice, in addition to the same amount in money, the transgressor was banished for all his lifetime from Granada.

All pieces of stuff which measured ten yards[61] long and upwards, and which it was desired to sell within the capital or district of Granada, required to be marked with the weaver's stamp. If three pieces were sold together, or sent abroad to other places to be sold, they required to be stamped with the city seal at a fee for stamping of two maravedis the piece. This was to be performed by the veedores, who were also to keep a register of all the city looms, and pay them a visit of inspection once at least in every month.

Finally, one of the most ridiculous and noxious of these ordinances forbade the planting of more mulberry-trees in or about Granada; notwithstanding that it was also forbidden to deal in silk imported from Valencia or Murcia, as the merchants were said to mingle these foreign silks with that of Granada herself, to the detriment of the latter.

Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the silk-trade of this capital remained in much the same condition. In 1747 a company was formed at Granada titled the “Compañía Real de Comercio y Fábricas de Granada,” and the formal prospectus of this society, of which document a printed copy is in my possession,[62] was embodied in a royal cedula dated in the same year. The preliminary remarks attached to this certificate explain that the people of Granada were now reduced to “the most unhappy state of poverty, insomuch that nowhere is there memory of a greater horde of mendicants.” The principal cause of this distress is stated to be the ruin of the silk-trade, in which disaster may be recognised the consequences of the senseless legislation I have instanced in the foregoing paragraphs. The fifteen thousand looms which once upon a time existed there had dwindled to six hundred, and the production of raw silk, from one million pounds a year to one hundred thousand. The new Company was floated with the professed ambition of restoring Granada to a measure of her old prosperity. The capital was half a million pesos, divided into shares of two hundred pesos each; but silk and woven fabrics generally, whose value had been suitably appraised by the authorities, were admissible in payment of a share. The holder of each five shares enjoyed one vote, except in the case of founders, who were privileged, as “instruments of this important establishment,” to vote upon possession of a single share. If a shareholder wished to sell his[63] interest, the Company was to have the first refusal. It further possessed initially in cash a sum exceeding one hundred and twenty thousand pesos—sufficient to construct and work three thousand looms in all; and it engaged, in return for certain favours and exemptions under royal warrant, to set up twenty looms for making serges of fine quality, and eight more in each year, for the space of ten years, for making carros de oro, medios carros, anascotes finos, christales, “and every other kind of stuff that is not manufactured in this kingdom.”

The favours and exemptions thus solicited were of a very mischievous character; for the political mind of Spain was not yet shrewd enough to grasp the fact that where all competition is removed, quality cannot but decline. The products of the Company were freed from paying taxes for ten, or in the case of stuffs whose price amounted to six reales per yard, for twenty years. Similarly, all of its merchandise exported to America “in flotas, galeones, registros, or other craft of those that are permitted,” was freed from all except the royal dues on loading, although if shipped to other parts it was to pay a tax of fifty maravedis for each Castilian pound of[64] sixteen ounces. All the materials and ingredients required by the Company in the preparation of its fabrics were exempted from customs and other dues. The Company enjoyed a preferential right to purchase silk throughout the kingdom of Granada, and such as it abstained from purchasing was to be sold by public auction in the Alcaicerías of Granada and Málaga, that of Almería being henceforth suppressed. The Company was also empowered to introduce silk from Murcia and Valencia, and the determination to crush all private enterprise is clearly expressed by the twenty-second heading of this document, which says; “All manufacturers and traders who do not associate themselves with this body shall pay the full tariff of dues at present established.” The Company was further empowered to compel the inhabitants of this locality to plant new lots of mulberry-trees, “in view of the notorious fact that not the one-hundredth part remains of all that were delivered by the Royal Census to the occupants of the kingdom of Granada at the time of the reconquest.” The Company might further open shops and erect warehouses wherever it chose. Its assets were to enjoy perpetual immunity from seizure by the city council, whether[65] as a loan or otherwise, and none of its servants might be called upon to serve the Crown in the event of war.

Very shortly after its foundation, this Company united (each bringing half the capital) with another powerful association titled the Commercial Company of Estremadura, with a view to securing a conjoint Crown monopoly or “exclusive privilege” for Portugal, “to the effect that only these two companies may traffic there in silk, and none other of my vassals or the inhabitants of my dominions may do business, whether in pure silk, or silk mixed with silver or with gold, in the kingdom of Portugal aforesaid.”

The privilege was granted in these terms, and bears the royal signature, attached at Aranjuez, June 17th, 1747. Its provisions were to last for ten years, and, in return for their concession, the two Companies engaged for a like term of ten years to set up fifty silk-looms annually at Toledo, “over and above the looms at present working in that city.”

I have not been able to trace, in writing or in print, the subsequent records of the Royal Commercial and Manufacturing Company of Granada, although I have been told that it existed for some time, and that on one occasion there was a riot[66] among the townsfolk in opposition to its tyranny.[17] In 1776 Swinburne wrote of the same region: “The annual produce of silk in this province, before the year 1726, seldom fell short of two millions six hundred thousand pounds weight, whereas now it does not exceed one hundred thousand.” Judging from this, the Company does not appear to have prospered. In 1775 the same author wrote of other and more fertile silk-producing districts: “The manufacturers of silk are the cause of a population (i.e. in Valencia) that may be reckoned considerable, if compared to that of other provinces of Spain. The produce of this article came this year to one million pounds, but one year with another the average quantity is about nine hundred thousand pounds, worth a doubloon a pound in the country. The crop of silk this last season was very abundant. Government has prohibited the exportation of Valencian raw silk, in order to lay in a stock to keep the artificers constantly employed in bad years; for it has happened in some, that half the workmen have been laid idle for want of materials. As they are not so[67] strict about Murcian silk, which is of an inferior quality, I am told that some from Valencia is sent out of Spain under that denomination. The great nurseries of mulberry-plants in this plain (the Huerta of Valencia) are produced from seed obtained by rubbing a rope of esparto over heaps of ripe mulberries, and then burying the rope two inches under ground. As the young plants come up, they are drawn and transplanted. The trees, which are all of the white kind, are afterwards set out in rows in the fields, and pruned every second year; in Murcia, only every third year, and in Granada never. The Granadine silk is esteemed the best of all; and the trees are all of the black sort of mulberry.”

According to Laborde, who wrote some twenty-five years later; “The cultivation of silk was formerly very flourishing in Andalusia; the kingdoms of Granada, Seville, and Jaen produced immense quantities of it, but after the conquest of those countries it was burdened with heavy taxes: silk was made subject to ecclesiastical tithes payable in kind; the royal tenth it paid under the Moors was retained, estimated at three reales vellon each pound of silk. To these were added a duty of tartil of seventeen maravedis per pound[68] and duties of alcabalas and cientos, fixed at eleven reales thirty-two maravedís. There accrued from it a tax of fifteen reales fifteen maravedís for the king, and six reales, or thereabouts, for the ecclesiastical tithe, making together twenty-one reales fifteen maravedís, or about four shillings and sixpence the pound, which at that time sold only for thirty reales, or six shillings and three pence English. The speculators were consequently discouraged, most of them relinquished a labour from which they derived so little profit, and this branch of industry entirely failed in the kingdoms of Cordova and Seville, and afterwards in those of Granada and Jaen. For some time it has been looking up in the two latter kingdoms, but it is very far from what it was under the Moors. The mulberries of Granada and Jaen are black; they are suffered to grow without any care or management, are never lopped or dressed, and look as if they were planted by chance.”

Of Murcia he wrote; “This province has the raw materials of other manufactures no less important. In the first place, it has a prodigious quantity of silkworms, which are not turned to advantage; most of the raw silks are sold to the neighbouring provinces, and manufactured silk is[69] imported from foreign looms, though the inhabitants might manufacture their own materials, and make it an article of considerable exportation. The town of Murcia is the only place where they work some small quantity; there they manufacture a few slight silks, chiefly taffetas and velvets, but of an inferior quality; and the whole is confined to a small number of looms. They make a much greater quantity of ribbons, in which twelve hundred looms are employed; but they are badly dyed, and have not a good gloss. The Murcians likewise prepare the raw silk, spin, and twist it; they have even a warden, and a great number of masters in this business, and, in spite of its importance, they carry it on without being subject to any superintendence, everyone doing as he pleases. The consequence is that the silk is badly prepared and spun unequally. The threads are collected without any method, sometimes more, sometimes less, and then twisted unequally. They are of course unfit to make fine stuffs, and the trade of Murcia is therefore declining…. Silk stuffs, satins, velvets, and taffetas are made here, but there is no great manufactory of them. They are wrought at private houses, and are but of a middling quality.”

Toledo silk, including the delicate and costly[70] cendal (see pp. 5, 6) which is mentioned in the sumptuary law, dated 1348, of Alfonso the Eleventh, was largely in demand from early in the Middle Ages till about the sixteenth century. The statements of the older writers as to this neighbourhood are contradictory. According to Damián de Olivares, himself a native of Toledo, this city in the sixteenth century possessed between five thousand five hundred and six thousand looms, consuming annually more than six hundred thousand pounds of raw silk. Other authors estimate the number of her looms at twenty, thirty, or even forty thousand. Writing in our own time, Count Cedillo is responsible for declaring that after the revolt of the Communities, the persons occupied in weaving silk amounted to fifty thousand, all of whom were natives of Toledo and the neighbouring villages; and he adds, perhaps a little rashly, that the velvets, damasks, satins, and taffetas of this locality were “unrivalled, even in comparison with the admirable products of Seville, Cordova, and Granada.”[18][71] Certainly, the silk stockings of Toledo enjoyed a wide-spread fame, and were used, among other distinguished patrons, by the Duke of Guise and by Philip the Second. They were also exported in quantities to America. Banners, altar-fronts, and vestments for religious worship were also made here in large numbers, and of excellent quality, both in silk alone, and in this substance mixed with gold and silver.

Laborde wrote of all these manufactures at[72] the time of their decline; “It is easy to estimate their former importance from the loss they sustained by the introduction of foreign merchandise. The memorial states that the consumption of silk was materially diminished, and computes the loss sustained by thirty-eight thousand artisans, from the interruption of their occupation, at 1,937,727 ducats. Symptoms of decay continued to increase till the middle of the sixteenth century, when every vestige of commerce was effaced.

“Toledo remained in this state of listless despondence till the present archbishop made a noble effort to revive the love of industry, and to open an asylum for the tribes of mendicants, accustomed from infancy to subsist on precarious bounty. The measure adopted by this prelate was to establish in the Alcazar various branches of manufacture, such as linen, ribbons, cloths, serges, woollen stuffs, and silk stuffs of every description. He introduced also another branch of occupation, appropriated solely to the production of sacerdotal ornaments. In 1791 there were a hundred and twelve manufactories in Toledo, ten for lawns and canvas, twelve for ribbons, fifty-five for silk, and seven for sacerdotal ornaments. At[73] this period the indigent class employed in them amounted to six hundred people, who were instructed in various processes, and were led insensibly to acquire the useful habits of industry. They were taught to draw, to prepare the materials, and to perform the manufacture; and each was destined to pursue some occupation suitable to his age, his inclination, and his abilities.”

In 1786 Townsend, himself a clergyman, had written of Toledo in far less hopeful terms. “This city, which contained two hundred thousand souls, is now reduced to less than twenty-five thousand. The citizens are fled; the monks remain. Here we find twenty-six parish churches, thirty-eight convents, seventeen hospitals, four colleges, twelve chapels, and nineteen hermitages, the monuments of its former opulence.” Townsend's good taste, unusual for a traveller of that time, was horrified at the profanation of the Alcazar, whose “magnificent apartments are now occupied with spinning-wheels and looms, and instead of princes they are filled with beggars. The good archbishop here feeds seven hundred persons, who are employed in the silk manufactory; but unfortunately, with the best intentions, he has completed the ruin of the city; for by his weight[74] of capital, he has raised the price both of labour and of the raw material, whilst, by carrying a greater quantity of goods to the common market, he has sunk the price of the commodity so much, that the manufacturers, who employed from forty to sixty workmen, now employ only two or three, and many who were in affluence are now reduced to penury.

“These people are so far from earning their own maintenance, that over and above the produce of their labour they require forty thousand ducats a year for their support.”

Alvarez de Colmenar, Ricord, Bourgoing, Laborde, and other writers, Spanish and non-Spanish, of the eighteenth century, inserted full descriptions of the silk trade of Valencia and Barcelona. “On y fait,” wrote Alvarez de Colmenar of the former of these towns, “de très bonnes draperies, fortes, d'un bon et long usage, et propres à résister à la pluie, et grande quantité d'étoffes de soie; delà vient que les meuriers, dont les feuilles servent à nourrir les vers à soie, y font d'un fort gros revenu pour les habitans.” Ricord, in his scarce pamphlet, printed at Valencia in 1793, gives valuable statistics relating to this industry and locality, prefacing his figures arranged[75] in tabular form by the following remarks: “The silk factories of this province form the principal basis of her commerce. They not only consume all the silk which is raised in the kingdom (of Valencia), and which, in 1791, amounted to 581,688 pounds of fine silk, 93,800 of that of Alducar, and 26,115 of hiladillo, but they also require to provide themselves from Aragon and other parts of Spain, or even from abroad, seeing that in the year aforesaid more than 37,000 pounds were imported from foreign countries.” The tabular statement appended to these observations tells us that in the region of Valencia the looms for making fine and silken fabrics such as velvets, anascotes, stockings, handkerchiefs, scarves, garters, and ribbons, gave employment to a total of 9,668 workmen, and were distributed among the towns or villages of Valencia, Alcira, San Felipe, Alcoy, Vilanesa, Denia, Ruzafa, Alicante, Peniscola, Beniganim, Pego, Olivo, Liria, Asuevar, Orihuela, Gandia, Elche, Castellon, and Vall de Almonacid. Riaño admits, however, that this manufacture might have prospered even more, if means had been adopted to suppress certain acts committed by the weavers, spinners, and twisters of the silk.

More curious and instructive is the description[76] of the same industry by Jean-François Bourgoing, whose observations, evidently secured at first-hand, are worth translating in extenso:—

“What attracted us still more than the fine-art works were the stuffs produced at the silk-factories, which constitute the principal glory of Valencia and contribute to her prosperous condition. We followed all the process of this manufacture, from the cultivation of the mulberry-tree to the weaving of the richest fabrics. I will try, therefore, to give a comprehensive account of them.

“Spain, and particularly the kingdom of Valencia, could well export her silk to foreign parts, even after setting apart a quantity sufficient for her factories. Government, however, does not appear to be convinced of this, because it offers constant hindrance to such exportation, or else, when it consents to it, imposes heavy dues. These dues consist of nine reales and a quartillo, or nearly two livres seven francs per each Valencian pound of silk, which only weighs twelve ounces, and is worth at least fifteen livres when it is in the raw state. When the silk harvest has been scanty, as in the year 1784, it has been known to fetch eighty reales or twenty livres. This year, too, the yield of silk has been so small[77] that the manufacturers of Valencia petitioned Government to allow the introduction, duty-free, of two hundred thousand pounds of it from Italy and France.

“In ordinary years, the pound of (raw) silk costs eight reales for twisting and three reales for dyeing in green, blue or other common colours; so that this material, ready to use, costs altogether about seventy-one reales the pound, or seventeen to eighteen francs of our money.

“Of course this price varies according to circumstances. One of the causes which exercise the greatest influence on this fluctuation is the harvest of the mulberry. These valuable trees are thickly planted over the champaign of Valencia, and all of them are of the white-leaved kind. This distinction, which would be superfluous in France, is by no means so in Spain, where, in several provinces, as, for instance, the kingdom of Granada, the leaves of the black mulberry are used to nourish the silkworms, and yield almost as handsome a silk as those of the white.[19]

“The leaves to these mulberry-trees are sold[78] by the load of ten arrobas; and the Valencian[79] arroba, which is about equal to twenty-seven French pounds, cost, in 1783, about thirty sols tournois.

“The mulberry leaves are gathered once, twice, or, at most, three times in each year; but it is not often that the two last crops are of as fine a quality or as abundant as the first. The greater part of the year is suited for harvesting the leaves, and this harvesting is carried out progressively as the silkworms copulate, steadily increasing in quantity up to the moment when they build their cocoons. As a rule only the leaves are plucked, the branches being spared as far as possible. Thus despoiled of its verdure in the middle of the finest times of year, although surrounded by a dazzling vegetation, the tree looks like a dry log floating on a green expanse of waters, while the mass of naked trunks which seem to be completely sterile, and which grow more numerous as the season advances, combine to render cheerless a prospect otherwise so fertile and so smiling. Still worse[80] becomes their state when the trees are pruned entirely of their branches—an operation which is performed upon them at least once in every three years.

“In the space of ten years the kingdom of Valencia has yielded six million pounds of silk, which makes a yearly average of six hundred thousand pounds; and as the whole of Spain produces a million pounds per annum, we see from this that Valencia alone supplies more than half of the entire quantity. The silks of Valencia are the finest of the whole Peninsula, and fit to be compared with the best of Europe generally, but the spinning is still imperfect, because in Spain there are not, as in France and elsewhere, houses where the women who spin are gathered together under the eye of an inspector to see that all the silk is spun evenly. In the kingdom of Valencia the spinning is distributed among several thousand hands, who introduce six, seven, eight, or even more ends in a thread of silk which should always have the same number; hence the unevennesses in the fabrics which are woven from them, while for the same reason we do not utilize for any delicate work the raw material which we import from Spain. The silk we employ for our costlier[81] fabrics is of the kind which we import from Piedmont and the southern provinces of France. Also, for the last few years we have felt less need of the Valencian silk. The laws prohibiting the exportation of this Spanish silk have stimulated the cultivation of mulberry-trees in Languedoc, where the peasantry, alive to the profit which these trees could render them, have preferred them to other kinds for planting round their property. This is why, in the year 1783, French silk could be bought for a lower price than the Valencian silk purchased in that region, plus the dues levied upon its exportation. I know of a merchant who at this time enjoyed the privilege of exporting for six years a hundred thousand pounds free of all dues, but who throughout the year 1783 was unable to find a purchaser in France. Spain could perhaps remedy the egress of her raw material by further increasing (as, indeed, she daily does) the number of her looms, and by exporting a greater number of her products to her American possessions; but her silk-stuffs will never be perfected until she markets them in foreign countries, where the taste of her customers may tend to better that of her manufacturers.

“The silk raised in the kingdom of Valencia is[82] estimated, during an average year, to be worth six or seven millions of piastres (nineteen to twenty-two millions of livres.) At the time of my visit to this city, she only employed one half this quantity, although her looms of every size amounted to four thousand. The rest, in spite of the prohibitions laid upon its extraction, is smuggled off to foreign countries, escaping, sometimes to France by way of Barcelona, and sometimes to Portugal by way of Seville and Extremadura. Nevertheless, there is probably more silk in Spain to-day than formerly, and measures have been earnestly adopted to encourage the industries which make use of it. For some time past, silk-looms have been scattered over the whole of Cataluña, and in the kingdoms of Granada, Cordova, Seville, etc., producing handkerchiefs, ribbons, and other stuffs in sufficient quantity to supply, or nearly so, the national market: nevertheless this still left a large market for our stocking-factories of Languedoc. The Spanish Government, by the law of 1778, limited itself to excluding these stockings from forming part of the foreign cargoes to the Colonies, but as they continued to be[83] imported into Spain, this law was readily evaded, since it sufficed to stamp the French article with the mark of a Spanish factory. It would have required an excessive vigilance, almost a positive inquisition, to guard against a fraud of this kind, prompted by the avarice of traders. The Spanish Government next sought, by the law of 1785, to put a stop to it by totally excluding our silk stockings, and this measure, together with the establishment of a number of new looms in Spain, has produced an almost absolute stagnation in the market which our factories of Languedoc had formerly enjoyed in the Peninsula. But let me return now to the Valencian factories.

“This city has no one building in which might be performed the whole of the processes through which the silk must pass. Any person who wishes to examine them, must visit several workshops; and this was the course which we adopted, under the guidance of a manufacturer as intelligent as he is amiable, named Don Manuel Foz, a gentleman who has travelled extensively in order to perfect his knowledge of handling silk, and who, among other secrets, has brought from Constantinople the art of watering silken stuffs. As a reward for his activity, he has been[84] appointed Intendente of all the factories of Valencia.

“There are hardly any merchants at Valencia who are not more or less concerned in silk-making: indeed, they look upon this industry as quite a point d'honneur. Some of them supply with silk no more than four or five looms, which work at their expense, while others have under their control as many as several hundred.

“After the silkworm has cleverly built its cell, the first thing to be done is to stifle it before it can pierce the cocoon in search of a new existence. For this purpose the cocoons are thrown into a moderately heated oven; and then, when once the worm is killed, they can be kept without being spun for as long as may be needed.

“In order to strip them of their covering of silk, they are thrown into hot water, after which the women workers pick up, and with surprising quickness, the threads of several of them, join them, and deal them out, thus joined, on wheels constructed for this object. On the design of the wheels depends the degree of thoroughness with which the silk is spun; but those which are employed in Spain are generally the most imperfect, as I shall presently explain.

“I have already said that the slip of silk should[85] be drawn from at least four cocoons, and even then it only serves for making slender fabrics, such as taffeta or ribbon. We were shown, indeed, a skein which was assured to contain no more than two cocoons; but so slight a slip is of no use at all. Most of them are made from seven or eight cocoons, and two of the former are joined in order to form a thread sufficient to be placed upon the loom.

“My readers are sure to know that all woven fabrics consist of two distinct parts, the woof and the warp. The woof is that which is passed by the shuttle from one side of the loom to the other, and which is enchased between the two surfaces formed by the warp. As the woof is subjected to more wear and tear than the warp, it should be stouter. For this reason each of the two ends of which it is composed is twisted separately before the two are twisted together, while for the warp the latter of these processes is sufficient. The result of this difference is that, when looked at beneath the microscope, the thread of the woof has an uneven look, as though it were a small cable, while that of the warp looks flat and smooth, and is therefore adapted to reflect the[86] light, receiving the shiny look which makes a silk-stuff so attractive.

“But the beauty of these fabrics depends, above all else, upon the way in which the silk is divided as it is drawn from the cocoon. This first stage of the spinning is performed in one or other of three ways, according to the kind of wheel which is employed for it. The method which the Spaniards have adopted from an early period has the following drawback; that the small threads of six, seven, and eight cocoons which are stripped at the same time, go to form a single thread, and are deposited upon a small spindle without the thread rubbing against another one, which friction serves to lay the little hairs which bristle up, so that the slip of silk thus formed retains a hairy nap and is easily frayed. In the Piedmontese method, on the other hand, each slip is joined to another, and is not drawn apart until it has been twisted round it four or five times.

“The third method, known as that of Vaucanson, is more expensive than the one last mentioned. In the wheel invented by Vaucanson, the two silk-slips are reunited after the first twisting, in order to be twisted once again. This operation is called the ‘double croissade.’

“If these threads, thus placed on bobbins, are[87] intended for the woof, they are enchased perpendicularly in a machine consisting of several compartments, in which they are twisted separately. Thence they are transferred to another machine, in which they are twisted all together; after which they are ready for the loom. Those which are destined for the web are not twisted (as I have explained above) until the moment when they are united. Both at Valencia and at Talavera de la Reina these machines, so precious to the weaver's craft, and which economise manual toil, are not unknown.[20]

“At the latter of these towns I had already[88] seen a single toothed-wheel, which set in motion up to a thousand of these tiny bobbins on which are wound the twisted slips of silk. The wheels I saw at Valencia were smaller, because in this city there is not, as there is at Talavera, a royal factory self-contained within a single building. At Valencia each manufacturer, in order to carry out these various processes, requires to deal with workmen and machines distributed through several quarters of the town, and chooses from among them such as he best prefers.

“Nothing can be simpler than the working of these silk-twisting machines, when once the toothed-wheel has set them going. The perpendicular movement of all these little bobbins is looked after by women, and even children.[21]

“If they should happen to clog, a touch of the[89] finger disengages them. If one of the slips should break, the harm is mended in a trice: the practised fingers of the machinist pick up the broken ends with marvellous despatch, tie them together by an imperceptible knot, and the bobbin which was thus delayed loses no time in overtaking its neighbours.

“The slips of silk, before being twisted two by two, are put through another process which I ought to mention. When they are still in skeins they are spread upon a large tub in which is a quantity of viscous substances heated to boiling point, the gases from which tend to make them adhere to one another. This is termed passer à la brève.

“Thence they are removed to the machine for twisting them. The silk, on issuing from this machine, is called organzine; and it is only when it is in this state that it can be exported from Piedmont, where the twisting process was better executed than elsewhere, until the time when it[90] was rendered yet more perfect by Vaucanson.[22] This clever mechanic has combined all possible advantages relating to the business of the silk-weaver. His system, and no other, is practised in the Lyons factories; but these wheels à double croissade are only available for silk produced in France; since that which is exported from abroad and which is principally used in these factories, requires to be reduced to organzine before it can again be taken out of the country.

“In this respect Spain possesses a sensible advantage over other manufacturing nations; since she raises a greater quantity of silk than she is able to consume, and could easily put it through the most advanced and perfect processes; in spite of which she has clung for ages to her faulty method. The present government has attacked this method by the only means efficient to bring about a change; that is, the slow but certain influence of persuasion. In 1781 the Count of Floridablanca contracted with a French merchant settled in Madrid, that he should supply a hundred tours of the Vaucanson pattern for spinning silk,[91] first to the Murcian factories (of which province the Count was a native), next to the Valencian, and subsequently to any others that might wish for them; and with this object he granted to the merchant in question the privilege of exporting, free of duty, six hundred thousand pounds of silk in six years. Nevertheless, it is possible that this measure may yet remain fruitless for many years owing to the apathy of the Spanish manufacturers, who were loth to use a finer, closer quality of silk, because it must be woven with greater care owing to its containing three ends instead of two, the work being greater on this account without a corresponding increase in the gain. It has also been found necessary to employ Frenchmen in the earliest trials made in Spain of this new method.

“The success of the Spaniards should not be counted on, if we are to judge of it by a factory, which was founded some years since at La Milanesa, a league's distance from Valencia, by an intelligent man named La Payessa.[23]

“He introduced the method of Vaucanson, but[92] when I went to see his factory he had not seen his way to recover the money which this improvement had cost him. He employed barely two hundred persons for the most important work; nothing more was done than to spin the silk, divide it, and convert it into organzine. Thus treated, it cost from fifty to sixty reales more per pound than that which is prepared according to the Spanish method, so that its success was but small.

“I shall not describe in detail either the method of dyeing the silk, or that of weaving it. The first of these operations is readily imagined; the second is hard to understand, and still more so to explain, unless one is assisted by engravings. I will merely observe that all silk is dyed in skeins, just before it enters the loom. If it be required occasionally to dye it after it is woven, this is[93] only when the silk is spotted, or when the dyeing of the skeins has proved a failure. At the time of my visit to Valencia, there were a hundred and seventeen master-dyers in that city, but not all of them were working.

“The stuffs in which the factories of Valencia are most successful are principally of the smooth sort; they also make there handsome damask brochés with large flowers for wall-hangings; but generally all that is undertaken is by order of the Court, Madrid, and the provinces. The Valencians follow as closely as possible the rapidity with which the French designs are changed, and those who profess to invent new ones are but copying the French ones in a greater or less degree. Notwithstanding, the Valencian Fine-Arts Academy is taking serious steps to form designers, and a school has been founded which has already developed able pupils—amongst others, a young man called Ferrers, who had died a short while before our arrival at the city, and some of whose designs of flowers we had occasion to admire.

“But the process in which the Valencians particularly excel is that of watering stuffs, which M. Foz has rendered absolutely perfect. He gave[94] us a clear account of this process, which consists in passing a cylinder over the stuff to be watered, this cylinder being pressed upon by a heavy mass moved to and fro by a mule which draws a lever round and round. The stuff is folded in the manner of a closed jalousie, and these folds require to be often varied so as to distribute the undulations evenly. M. Foz admitted that the shape and the arrangement of these undulations are more or less a matter of chance, but he proved to us that it is possible to influence them to some extent by moistening the stuff in a certain manner and direction, and this is the particular secret which he alone possesses in the whole of Spain. The excellence of this method is demonstrated by the beauty of the watered silk which issues from these presses. M. Foz himself set us to judge of this by asking us to compare the blue ribbon of the Order of Charles the Third, watered by himself, with those of the Order of the Holy Spirit. The comparison, I must admit, was far from advantageous to these last.”

The subsequent vicissitudes of the Valencian silk trade are indicated by Laborde, who wrote, some few years later than the conscientious and observant author of the Nouveau Voyage en Espagne:—

“The mulberry-trees are of great importance;[95] the fields of Valencia are covered with them, particularly in the environs of that town, in the dale of Elda, in the county of Carlet, in almost all the places situated on the sea coast, etc. There are white mulberry-trees, which are lopped every two years.

“The leaves of these trees serve as nourishment to silkworms, which are raised almost everywhere in the kingdom of Valencia. Algemesi, Alcira, Carcagente, Castillo of San Felipe, the county of Carlet, Undasuar, Gandia, Denia, Orihuela, and all the villages near the sea are places which produce the greatest quantity.

“The silk made from them is the finest in Spain. It would be equal to the best and finest silks of Europe, if the Valencians, in spite of the vivacity of their imagination, did not obstinately persist in their old routine in the skeining; for in the skein they put an undetermined number of threads. The government has hired a man who has the most experience in this kind of work; but in vain does he endeavour to instruct them, since the manufacturers continue their bad custom just the same. The quantity of silk wound annually is, on an average, about 1,500,000 pounds[96] of twelve Valencian ounces (1,312,500 pounds of sixteen ounces avoirdupois). It is commonly sold raw for fifty reals of vellon a Valencian pound, which gives a total of 75,000,000 reals of vellon (£731,250)….

“Silk is twisted in different places in the kingdom of Valencia, for which purpose machines and mills are established at Gandia, San Felipe, Carcagente, Orihuela, and Valencia. The most important establishment of this kind is at La Milanesa, near the last mentioned town. Nevertheless, these machines are not able to furnish as much as the manufactures of the country require. Part of the silk is sent to Priego and Toledo in Andalusia, whence it is returned into the kingdom of Valencia to be worked….

“A great many impediments are thrown in the way of the exportation of silk, which is only allowed for six months after the harvest. If in that period the national manufacturers want it, they are at liberty to take it from the merchants who have bought it, on reimbursing them the purchase-money together with six per cent. interest. The consequence is that the merchants, uncertain whether they will be allowed to export the silk which they have purchased, no longer[97] take any foreign commissions for it, and so this branch of exportation has fallen. Besides this, a duty has been laid upon the silk sent out of the kingdom, of nine reals of vellon and one quartillo (1s. 11¼d. sterling) on every pound of twelve Valencian ounces, which is almost a fifth of its value. This is another obstacle to the exportation of it. A very small quantity, twisted and dyed, is sent into Portugal.

“Generally 1,500,000 pounds of silk are made annually, of which 1,100,000 are consumed in the province, and 400,000 pounds are exported to Talavera de la Reina, Requeña, Toledo, Granada, Seville, Priego, and Cataluña. From this results a product of 20,000,000 reals (£208,333, 6s.).”

Of the city of Valencia, Laborde wrote:—

“The manufactories of silk are the most considerable. They employ nearly 25,000 persons, and make taffetas, serges, silks, satins, plain damasks, striped, printed, of one colour and of mixed colours, full velvets, flowered velvets, plain and of various colours. The plain stuffs are those in which they succeed best. There are also fine damasks made and worked with large flowers.”

According to the same writer, the manufacture at Valencia of silk stockings, galloons, silk ribbon,[98] handkerchiefs, and sashes revived to such an extent, that in the year 1799 the looms for producing these articles were 423 more than they had been in 1769. “There are 3618 silk looms, which work about 800,000 pounds of silk annually; the handkerchiefs, sashes, and other little articles of lace consume 100,000 pounds.”

see caption

(By Sanchez Coello. Prado Gallery)

Equally as instructive is Laborde's account of Barcelona.[24] After remarking that the decay in her manufactures lasted from the end of the sixteenth century till the middle of the eighteenth, he continues:—“They are at present in a very flourishing state, and are more numerous and varied than ever…. There are 524 looms of silk stuffs, and 2700 of ribbons and silk galloon. The silk works consist of taffetas, twilled and common silks, satins, and velvets of every kind and colour. These are mixed with gold and silver. Gold cloths and brocades are also made there.[25][99] The manufactures are not carried on by companies, but dispersed among the workmen themselves, by which perhaps the qualities may in some degree be injured. It is remarked that the stuffs would be better if they were closer, for their texture is commonly loose; they are also different in the gloss, which is seldom fine, and is never equal to that in the manufactures of France. Another fault in all these stuffs is the imperfect preparation of the silk, which leaves it nearly always shaggy:[100] the cause of this is the silk being spun or twisted in an uneven manner. The same unpleasant effect is observed in the silk stockings. They cannot be fine, their stitches being uneven, and often large and shaggy. They do not last long, and are as dear as the French stockings after the duty on their entrance into Spain has been paid.

“At Barcelona, laces, blonds, net-work, and tapes employ about twelve thousand persons. Galloons, laces, and gold and silver fringes, are likewise made here; but these are of no great importance. Silk, gold, and silver embroideries are very common, and the embroiderers are so numerous that they are to be found in every street.

Silk Stuffs.—These are manufactured at Manresa, Cardona, and Mataró, which has forty-eight looms; but principally at Barcelona, where there are five hundred and twenty-four. There they make velvets, satins, damasks, silks, taffetas, and gold and silver stuffs. The town of Barcelona alone uses annually 300,000 pounds of raw silk.

Taffetas, Handkerchiefs, and silk sashes.—They make a great quantity of these at Barcelona, where there are a good many little manufactories of this kind. There are a hundred and fifty looms at Reus, and six hundred at Manresa.[101] At the last place sixty thousand dozen handkerchiefs are made, which take about seventy thousand pounds of raw silk.

Silk twisters.—There are some of these in several towns, and a great many in Barcelona. There are eighteen frames at Mataró, which twist, one year with another, one hundred and twenty-four quintals of silk; and thirty-seven at Tarragona, which twist eleven thousand quintals.”

Elsewhere in the course of his exhaustive tomes, Laborde sums up the general revival of the Spanish silk-trade in the following terms:—

“Silk stockings are woven at Málaga, Zaragoza, Valencia, and at various other places in the kingdom of Valencia; at Valdemoro, and at Talavera de la Reina in New Castile; also in different parts of Cataluña, more especially at Mataró, Arenys del Mar, and Barcelona. The most extensive manufacture is carried on at the latter city, where the number of frames amounts to nine hundred. In the city of Mataró are fifty-two, in Valencia one hundred and fifty, and nearly as many in Talavera. The stockings made in Spain are of a loose texture; owing to the improper method in which silk-throwsting is conducted, they are badly dressed and worse glossed.[102] The Spanish people themselves prefer French stockings, and most of those manufactured in the country are exported to America.

“Ribbons hold a distinguished place among the manufactured articles of Spain. Some few are woven at Jaen, Granada, and Cordova; but more at Talavera. Cadiz has but twenty ribbon-looms, Manresa five hundred, Mataró eighty, Vich twenty-two, Requeña two hundred, Valencia four hundred, Murcia twelve hundred, and Barcelona nearly three thousand. These looms are not in factories, but individually dispersed. The Spanish ribbons are in general thin and flimsy, have little lustre, and their colours are neither brilliant nor permanent. Ribbons are made of floss-silk at Toledo, where there are about twelve looms, and at Manresa, where there is a greater number.[26]

see caption

(Salamanca, A.D. 1777)

“Silk taffetas, serges, and other articles, such[103] as common and figured satins, damasks, and plain and flowered velvets, are made at Jaen, Granada, Murcia, Valencia, and the adjacent villages; at Málaga, Zaragoza, Toledo, Requeña, Talavera de la Reina, Mataró, Manresa, Cardona, and Barcelona. The silk-trade of Jaen and Granada is at present in a very languishing state; the manufacture of Murcia is dwindled to a few individual looms. At Toledo are fifty looms, fifty at Mataró, forty at Málaga, six hundred at Requeña, four hundred at Talavera, which consume annually two hundred thousand pounds of silk; five hundred at Barcelona, which annually manufacture, in conjunction with those of Cardona and Manresa, about three thousand pounds weight of silk; and in the city of Valencia are three thousand, whose annual demand of silk is eight hundred thousand pounds, while twenty-two thousand persons are employed in the trade. In Zaragoza are sixty looms, which consume fifty thousand pounds of silk; but taffetas only are[104] manufactured there. The cities of Toledo and Talavera de la Reina are the only places where the looms are collected together in factories: in all other places they are separated, and are found individually at the houses of the respective weavers.

“A great portion of the silks manufactured in Spain are stout and excellent, but they are destitute of the brilliancy observable in French silks. The damasks made at Valencia are extremely beautiful, and in that city they excel in the art of mixing silk and mohair, and produce mohair stuffs which appear to be superior to those of France and England.

“Quantities of silk handkerchiefs and bands are manufactured at Reus, Manresa, and Barcelona. Reus had five hundred looms, Manresa six hundred, and annually made sixty thousand dozen handkerchiefs; Barcelona, a much larger quantity.

“At Barcelona is a very considerable manufacture of white, coloured, plain, and figured gauzes.

“The art of silk-throwsting tends greatly to improve the silk manufactures in Spain. Machines invented in other countries have been adopted here, and in many places profitable changes and[105] corrections have taken place in the trade. Silk is principally thrown at Priego, Toledo in Andalusia, at Murcia in the kingdom of the same name, at Cervera near Talavera de la Reina in New Castile, at Valencia, at Milanesa near that city, at Gandia, San Felipe, and Carcagente in the kingdom of Valencia. The silk-throwsters, who work at their own houses, and are paid in the great, that is, according to the quantity of work they perform, are very numerous in Murcia; but they perform the business there in a very slovenly way. In the city of Murcia a factory is established, where silk is thrown in an excellent manner by means of an ingenious machine, which has been already described. The establishment at La Milanesa is a very important one, and well administered. At Cervera are a dozen silk-mills, each having four large dividers, and six machines for doubling and twisting, by which seven thousand and seventy-two threads are divided, doubled, and twisted at the same time.”


[13] Don Martin de Ulloa, Discurso sobre las fábricas de seda de Sevilla.

[14] In former times, linens and cottons painted, stencilled, or stamped with decorative patterns from an iron or boxwood matrix, were considered to be luxurious fabrics, and are denounced as such in the sumptuary pragmatic (quoted by Miquel y Badía) issued by Jayme the Conqueror in a.d. 1234: “Item statuimos quod nos nec aliquis subditus noster non portet vestes incisas, listatas, vel trepatas.”

Latterly, these kind of stuffs were made in great quantities at Barcelona, and exported to other Spanish provinces, as well as to America. “Several manufactures of printed linens are established here,” wrote Swinburne, in 1775, “but have not yet arrived at any great elegance of design or liveliness of colour.” The manuscript (dated about a.d. 1810) attached to my copy of Pigal's plates of Spanish costume, says that the pañoleta or fichu (neckerchief) of the women of Cartagena in their gala-dress was at that time of “mousseline blanche, quelquefois brodé, et três souvent n'est qu'un mouchoir d'indienne des fabriques de Barcelonne, avec une brodure en fleurs rouges, le fond blanc et parsemé de petits bouquets.” The same manuscript describes the dress of a cook at Granada:—“Le jupon (refajo), qui est toujours três court, est en hiver de laine avec une garniture au bas: en été il est en indienne. Cette indienne est une sorte de percale ou toile de coton peinte, dont il y a plusieurs fabriques en Catalogne. On en exportait autrefois une quantité, immense que l'on portait dans les Amériques Espagnoles; c'est ce qui lui a fait donner le nom d'indienne.”

From the same source we learn respecting another cotton fabric, which might easily be thought by the unwary reader of to-day to have been of Spanish manufacture, that “l'habitant de Mahon fait en été un grand usage de l'étoffe des Indes appelée nankin. Cette étoffe n'est connue dans plusieurs parties de l'Espagne que sous le nom de Mahon.”

[15] In 1799 the Marquis of Monte-Fuerte declared the silk of Seville to be of as fine a quality as that of Valencia and Carmona. (Discurso sobre el plantío de moreras en Sevilla y sus inmediaciones.)

[16] Granada was especially renowned for her velvets (Plate vi.), grounded or relieved, in the oriental manner, with gold or silver.

[17] Similar companies were formed at Toledo, Zaragoza, Burgos, Seville, and Zarza. For the Crown cedula, dated February 10th, 1748, authorizing the Real Compañía de Comercio y Fábricas of Toledo, see Larruga's Memorias, Vol. VII., p. 63.

[18] Toledo en el Siglo XVI. Miquel y Badía says that in the fifteenth century Toledo, together with Genoa and Venice, manufactured superb velvets, coloured crimson, blue, purple, or yellow, and figured with pineapples or pomegranates (Plate iv.). The latter tree and fruit are commonly related, in Spain, with the city of Granada; but quite apart from this, the pomegranate was formerly regarded as a symbol of fecundity and life. (See Goblet d'Alviella, La Migration des Symboles, p. 184, and also Madame Errera's Catalogue, No. 50.) In these velvets the gold thread is woven with consummate skill, and forms, in the costliest and most elaborate specimens, a groundwork of exceedingly small rings. These fabrics were used as hangings for beds and walls, as well as for the clothing of great lords and ladies. Touching the use of silk for certain articles of dress, an amusing story is told in the MS. account of Valladolid, published by Gayangos in the Revista de España. “One day, Don Pedro de Medicis is reported to have paid a visit to a married lady, to whom he had presented some damask curtains, and he was wearing at the time some taffeta hose which made a creaking as he walked. The lady came out of her room, and, finding him in one of the lower apartments, exclaimed, ‘Why do you come here at such an hour, and with that silk on you which creaks so loudly? Take care my husband does not hear it.’ Whereto the gentleman replied; ‘Good God, madam, is it possible that the two hundred yards of damask which I gave you for that curtain have made no noise at all, but that a mere four yards of simple taffeta about my breeches should put you in such consternation?’”

[19] “The mulberry of Valencia is the white, as being most suitable to a well-watered plain. In Granada they give the preference to the black, as thriving well in elevated stations, as more durable, more abundant in leaves, and yielding a much finer and more valuable silk. But then it does not begin bearing till it is about twenty years of age. In this province they reckon that five trees should produce two pounds of silk.

“I had the curiosity to examine their method of feeding the silkworms. These industrious spinners are spread upon wicker shelves, which are placed one above the other, all round, and likewise in the middle of each apartment, so as to leave room only for the good woman to pass with their provisions. In one house I saw the produce of six ounces of seed, and was informed that to every ounce, during their feeding season, they allow sixty arrobas of leaves, valued at two pounds five. Each ounce of seed is supposed to yield ten pounds of silk, at twelve ounces to the pound. March 28th, the worms began to hatch, and May 22nd they went up to spin. On the eleventh day, from the time that they were hatched, they slept; and on the fourteenth, they awoke to eat again, receiving food twice a day till the twenty-second day. Having then slept a second time, without interruption, for three days, they were fed thrice a day; and thus alternately they continued eating eight days and sleeping three, till the forty-seventh day; after which they ate voraciously for ten days, and not being stinted, consumed sometimes from thirty to fifty arrobas in four and twenty hours. They then climbed up into rosemary bushes, fixed for that purpose between the shelves, and began to spin.

“Upon examination, they appear evidently to draw out two threads by the same operation, and to glue these together, covering them with wax. This may be proved by spirit of wine, which will dissolve the wax, and leave the thread. Having exhausted her magazine, the worm changes her form and becomes a nymph, until the seventy-first day from the time that the little animal was hatched, when she comes forth with plumage, and having found her mate, begins to lay her eggs. At the end of six days from this period of existence, having answered the end of their creation, they both lie down and die. This would be the natural progress; but, to preserve the silk, the animal is killed by heat, and the cones being thrown into boiling water, the women and children wind off the silk.”—Townsend; Journey through Spain in the years 1786 and 1787; Vol. III., pp. 264–266.

[20] They certainly were not unknown at Valencia. I have before me a copy of the work, Disertacion descriptiva de la Hilaza de la Seda, segun el antiguo modo de hilar y el nuevo llamado de Vaucanson, written by the priest Francisco Ortells y Gombau, and published at Valencia in 1783, by order of the Royal Council of Commerce and Agriculture. This book, which clearly sets forth the superiority of Vaucanson's method over those which had preceded it, states that at first the Valencians were strongly opposed to the Vaucanson wheel, believing that it caused a loss and waste of silk. Probably the real reason was that it prevented the manufacturers from adding spurious weight to the silk by mixing it with oil. This practice, says Ortells, was then “so widespread an evil in the kingdom of Valencia, that there is hardly anybody who does not resort to it: notwithstanding it has been so often prohibited by His Majesty, yet openly, where all the world may witness, do the workers spin with much oil added to the silk.”

The Vaucanson form of wheel was also more expensive. In the region of Valencia its cost was about thirty pesos, that of the older wheels being only fifteen or sixteen pesos. However, this difficulty was not insuperable, for in the year 1779 the Royal Council of Commerce presented a hundred and twenty Vaucanson wheels to the peasants who had raised a minimum crop of a hundred pounds of silk, requiring, in return, that the recipients of the gift should spin not less than fifty pounds of silk per annum.

[21] At the time when Vaucanson's wheels began to be used in Spain, silk was spun by men all over the Peninsula, except in the immediate neighbourhood of Valencia (Orteils; Hilaza de la Seda, pp. 134 et seq.) In every other region devoted to this industry such as the valley of the Jucar and the Huertas of Orihuela and Murviedro, as well as in the factories of Toledo, Seville, Granada, Cordova, Jaén, Baeza, Talavera, and Priego, the spinning was performed by men exclusively. Women, however, were often engaged in harvesting the cocoons.

[22] “I should here remark that the silk which is spun and twisted according to the method of Vaucanson, forms a fabric a third part closer and stronger than ordinary silk-stuffs.”

[23] This man, Joseph Lapayese or La Payessa, did not initiate Vaucanson's method in this region. He succeeded a Frenchman named Reboul, who, in 1769, and holding privileges from the Crown, began to work with Vaucanson wheels at Vilanesa, near Valencia—the same place which Bourgoing calls La Milanesa. Both the king and his minister of finance, Don Miguel de Muzquiz, were keenly interested in these experiments, and Muzquiz, who owned an estate near the town of Sueca, in the same neighbourhood, imported four more of the new wheels there, under Reboul's direction. This craftsman, however, was not successful. Lapayese, who came after him and enjoyed the same Crown privileges, made considerably better progress, his efforts being seconded by the Royal Junta, the archbishop, and other bodies or individuals of Valencia, who awarded prizes of wheels and money to the best workers in the new style.

[24] The art of weaving silk appears to have found its way into Barcelona comparatively late, for the veil-makers did not form a guild of their own till a.d. 1553, the velvet-makers till 1548, the silk-twisters till 1619, and the dyers of silk till 1624.

[25] Brocade (Spanish brocado or brocato) may be generally described as a silk-stuff woven with devices or raised figures in gold and silver thread, or either of these metals separately (Plate viii.). This costly fabric, which may be said to have superseded the earlier kinds of cloth of gold, was greatly in vogue in older Spain, especially throughout the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. It is constantly referred to by her writers (“No siendo nueva la que prohibe las telas de oro, los brocados, y tabies.”—Fernandez Navarrete; Conservacion de Monarquías, p. 231), and denounced by her priests (Fray Luis de León, “Y ha de venir la tela de no sé donde, y el brocado de mas altos, y el ambar que bañe el guante”), or in the pragmatics of her kings (e.g. that of September 2nd, 1494, and of 1611: “Está prohibido todo género de colgaduras, tapicerias sillas, coches, y literas de brocados, telas de oro ó plata…. Asi mismo se prohiben bordaduras en el campo de los doseles y camas; pero no en las cenefas, que podrán llevar alamares, y fluecos de oro, ó plata, ó brocado”).

Brocade was made in Spain at Toledo, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and elsewhere, but as a rule it could not be compared in quality with that of Genoa or Venice. A cheaper, though showy and attractive modification of brocade was brocatel, in which the silk was mixed with common thread or flax. According to the Dictionary of the Spanish Academy, this commoner fabric was used for hangings for churches, halls, beds, etc., and a document of 1680 tells us that the price of brocatel made at Granada, and containing two colours, was twenty-two reales the yard.

[26] Towards the nineteenth century, ribbon was a great deal worn upon, or together with, the regional costumes of the Spanish women; for instance, on the gala bodice or cotilla of the hortelana of Valencia, who further used it to make fast her alpargatas or sandals, described in the manuscript account attached to Pigal's plates as “espèce de cothurnes, attachés avec des rubans en soie ou fil bleu ou rouge.” The same fabric served the peasant woman of Carthagena for securing the sleeves of her gala camisole, for lacing the bodice of the woman of Iviza, and in the other Balearic Islands, for tying the rebocillo or rebociño beneath the chin. Also it was with ribbon that the servant-girls of Granada suspended a cross round their necks, that the charra of Salamanca (Plate ix.) trimmed her hat, that the women of Madrid, La Mancha, and Andalusia bound up their knots of hair (moños con cinta), and that, in some localities, even ladies of the highest class secured their shoes about the lower leg and ankle.


Although the history of Spanish cloths and woollens is not of great importance, I think it[106] well to briefly sketch their history. Sails and other fabrics of the coarsest kind are said to have been made, almost in prehistoric times, at Sætabi (the modern Játiva) and at Saguntum (Murviedro). From the thirteenth century cloths of good quality were made at Barcelona, Lerida, San Daniel, Bañolas, Valls, and other towns of Cataluña. A privilege of Alfonso the Learned, dated May 18th, 1283, contains the following technical disposition relative to the cloth-looms of the city of Soria: “Que la trenza cuando sea ordida que haya 88 varas, que pese una aranzada é 5 libras de estambre; é cualquier que la fallare menor, que peche 5 sueldos. Que todos los tejedores é tejedoras de la dicha cibdad é de su tierra, que pongan en las telas de lino 42 linnuelos é en las de estopazo 32 linnuelos; é en las de marga é de sayal 32 linnuelos.”

Segovia was another ancient centre of this manufacture, which Larruga considers to have been transferred hither upon the extinction of the factories of Cameros, Burgos, and Palencia. However this may be, the fuero of Sepúlveda, signed by Alfonso the Sixth, tells us that clothworks existed here as early as the eleventh century. Towards the end of the fourteenth,[107] when Catherine of Lancaster was married to the Infante Don Enrique, the English princess brought over, as part of her dowry, a flock of merino sheep. These are believed to have pastured near Segovia—a city where Catherine made her home for many years. In any case, Segovian cloths improved considerably from about this time, and by the reigns of Charles the Fifth and Philip the Second, when thirty-four thousand persons were employed in the manufacture and twenty-five thousand pieces of cloth were produced annually, were thought (especially the baizes and the serges) to be unsurpassed in Europe.[27] Sovereigns, including Charles the Second and Charles the Fifth of Spain, and Henry the Eighth of England, were among the patrons of these fabrics, while as late as the year 1700 the Franciscan friars engaged in redeeming captives from the Turks, reported that “at Constantinople, whither[108] they had carried Segovian cloths as presents to the principal rulers of that country, those cloths were spoken of in terms of high approval.”

Early in the seventeenth century, and owing to a series of causes such as impertinent or improvident legislation, heavy taxes, and the importation of foreign cloths, the trade showed symptoms of decay.[28] Bertaut de Rouen wrote in 1659, referring to the Spanish character at this time: “Bien souvent le pain leur manque, comme j'ay veu dans Almagro, petite ville située dans le meilleur pays d'Andalousie, et dans Segovie, qui est une des grandes villes d'Espagne, et où il y avoit autrefois des plus riches marchands à cause des draps et des chapeaux que l'on y faisoit, qui a esté longtemps le sejour des Roys de Castille, et qui n'est qu'environ à douze ou quatorze lieuës de[109] Madrid, où il n'y avoit point de pain dans toute la ville le jour que j'y arrivay, et il n'y en eut qu'à quatre heures après midy, que l'on le distribua par ordre du Corregidor, aussi bien qu'à Almagro.”

The rise, decay, and subsequent revival of the Spanish cloth industries, and particularly the Segovian, are well described by Laborde, Bourgoing, and Townsend. According to the first of these authorities, “at so early a period as 1629 the merchants (of Segovia) complained that there was every year a reduction in the fabrication of cloth, to the amount of five thousand five hundred pieces; and that there resulted from this deficiency an annual loss of 2,424,818 ducats and 2 reals, or about £274,000 sterling. In the eighteenth century it appeared, from the observations of the Economical Society, that the fabrication of stuffs and cloths employed but one hundred and twenty looms, in which only four thousand three hundred and eighteen quintals of washed wool were consumed.

“About forty years ago these manufactures began to revive, the looms were multiplied, and the consumption of wool considerably augmented. A single individual, Don Lorenzo Ortiz, has for some years accelerated their progress. In[110] 1790 there was an addition of sixty-three looms, which employed eight or nine hundred quintals of wool, and afforded occupation to two thousand four hundred manufacturers.”

The same author wrote that early in the nineteenth century, “the woollen manufactures of New Castile are the most numerous and important. Cloths are made at Toledo, Chinchon, Brihuega, Guadalajara; serges, stuffs, and flannels at Toledo and Cuenca. The cloths of Brihuega are of an excellent quality, but those of Guadalajara are still superior to them; in particular, the cloth of Vigonia. There are twenty-eight looms at Toledo, forty at Guasmenia, a hundred at Brihuega, and six hundred and fifty-six at Guadalajara.”

Bourgoing wrote, a dozen years or so before the close of the eighteenth century: “Spanish wool is eagerly demanded by manufacturing peoples of the rest of Europe. Nevertheless, it is not turned to so much advantage as it might be. French, Dutch, and English come to Spain to purchase the wools of Segovia and León at the ports of Bilbao and Santander.[29] Not even so[111] much as the commission on their sale is left in power of the Spaniards, for the foreigners buy up the wool straight from the shepherd, and wash it on their own account. Out of one million of arrobas[30] of fine wool which Spain produces annually, she exports more than half in washed wool, and a lesser quantity, by far, of unwashed. It has been estimated that the export duties on this wool and which it has not been hitherto thought prudent to curtail, produce a sum of close upon five millions for the King of Spain. Here, therefore, is another reason for not suppressing the ‘abusive measure’ of which the patriotic Spaniards complain so loudly; since it is far from easy to do away with so appreciable a source of revenue unless one has at hand a swift and sure alternative measure by which it may be substituted. All the[112] same, government is endeavouring to derive a greater fiscal profit from the exportation of these wools, and at the same time to bring about a greater use of them in the Peninsula. For a long time past, all kinds of common woollen fabrics, such as clothing for the soldiery and lower classes, have been made in Spain. The exportation of these fabrics is prohibited. As for the finer wools, these also are employed in several places, but more than anywhere else at Guadalajara, where I visited the factories towards the end of the year 1783. I was surprised to remark that in several respects the manufacture had reached a great pitch of perfection. I say I was surprised, because I had heard, times without number, that the Spaniards were completely ignorant of these processes, and did not know how to card, or spin, or weave, or dye, or full, or calender; that their stuffs grew loose and wore badly; that the price was exorbitant, etc. How many prejudices of this nature was I able to throw aside after fair and deliberate examination of the stuffs in question! I will only quote a single point to prove that the censures which are aimed at the Spaniards respecting the quality of their cloths are not applicable to them all, and that they are[113] well upon the road to being entirely undeserving of them. I was shown at Guadalajara a piece of scarlet cloth, which, both for its excellent quality and for its skilful dyeing, seemed to me to be quite comparable with the best cloths of Julienne. These latter cost at their place of manufacture as much as thirty-nine livres the ell. At Guadalajara, I noted from the tariff established in the factory, that the price of the finest scarlet cloth was only from thirty-one to thirty-two livres the ell. Comparing these and other figures on the tariff, I came to the conclusion that there was about the same difference in price between Spanish cloths and French cloths, in favour of the former. What seems more singular still is that the factories which work at the King's expense are generally administered in a thriftless fashion, and that the factory of Guadalajara was being greatly mismanaged at the time in question. However, subsequently to my visit, changes for the better have been introduced, which will improve the quality of, as well as cheapen, its products, though, even when I saw it, this factory was one of the most perfect to be seen anywhere. Within a space by no means large, it contained all the machines and apparatus required[114] for clothmaking, except the thin, polished pasteboards which are placed between the folds of a piece of cloth as it is passed through the press. These were still brought from England; but everything else was prepared upon the spot, even to the large scissors used in the shearing. There were eighty looms for the finest cloths, whose proper name is cloths of San Fernando, from the town where they were first produced; a hundred for cloths of the second quality; and five hundred and six for making serges, in which, in course of time, hopes are entertained of excelling those of England.[31] All these looms were contained in two buildings, and kept employed three thousand eight hundred and twenty-five persons, all of them paid by the King,[32] without counting some forty thousand more dispersed all over the Castilian and Manchegan tableland, engaged in spinning the wool which is made up into stuffs at Guadalajara. It would be difficult, I am sure, to find a factory[115] better organized. Even the town in which it is, presents a striking contrast with others of that neighbourhood. I did not see one single mendicant or idler among all its fifteen or sixteen thousand inhabitants. Such are the good results of its manufactures, and, above all, those of cloth, including many small and detailed processes which women, children, aged people, or even the sick are able to perform. Here, where Nature seemed to have condemned these ailing folk to a tedious and useless existence, art, as it were, steps[116] in and finds employment and relief for them. Nevertheless, it must be owned that the Spaniards (as they themselves admit) are still a little behindhand in the method of dyeing and fulling their cloths, though when a people possess (as they) the raw materials needed, both for making and for dyeing, a few men skilled in these processes are all that is wanted to perfect several branches of this industry; especially when, as is the case in Spain, government spares no effort to achieve this end. Guadalajara is further the only place in Spain which produces the celebrated Vicuña cloth; an admirable fabric for which the rest of the world has cause to envy Spanish America.[33] As the use of this cloth has not as yet become general, it is not continually manufactured, nor is it easy to obtain a few ells of it without ordering them several months in advance. This stuff is also manufactured for the King of Spain, who makes presents of it to various other monarchs. In the year 1782, after concluding a treaty with the Porte, he sent twenty pieces of it to the Sultan of Turkey. They gave great[117] satisfaction. It has been imagined from this circumstance that Spain would not be loth to supply the Turkish market with her cloths; and other of the manufacturing nations have felt some measure of alarm, perhaps unnecessarily. The Spanish government has too much sense to enter upon such a competition with other peoples as long as Spain does not supply the whole of the two and twenty million citizens who live beneath her rule. The same government, too, is well aware how remote is this degree of prosperity. The clothworks of Guadalajara have a kind of branch factory at Brihuega, four leagues distant. At Brihuega there are a hundred looms, all used for making fabrics of the finest quality.

“Segovia, famous at all periods for the excellence of her wool, was formerly not less so for the number and perfection of her clothworks. Now, every patriotic Spaniard must lament to see how she has fallen. In the year 1785 the number of her looms did not exceed two hundred and fifty. The most important factory was that of Ortiz, founded in 1779 under the title of Real Fábrica: the King possessed an interest in it. In 1785 Ortiz was still employing three thousand workers in and about Segovia, and[118] manufactured every quality of cloth in sixty-three looms, from the pieces which contained the two thousand threads prescribed by the Ordenanzas, to those which should contain four thousand. His energy was only hampered by the indolent character of the Segovians. The privileges wherewith the government has sought to stimulate his first experiments in this craft are not at all injurious to the other manufacturers. They all concur to sell their goods, and at a reasonable price. In September of 1785, the most expensive cloths cost only ninety reals the vara; that is to say, about thirty-one livres and ten sols the ell.”

see caption

(Embroidered in Gold on Green Velvet. About A.D. 1500)

Townsend wrote, precisely at the same time as Bourgoing: “Segovia was once famous for its cloth, made on the King's account; but other nations have since become rivals in this branch, and the manufacture in this city has been gradually declining. When the King gave it up to a private company, he left about three thousand pounds in trade; but now he is no longer a partner in the business.[34] In the year 1612 were made here[119] twenty-five thousand five hundred pieces of cloth, which consumed forty-four thousand six hundred and twenty-five quintals of wool, and employed thirty-four thousand one hundred and eighty-nine[120] persons; but at present they make only about four thousand pieces. The principal imperfections of this cloth are, that the thread is not even, and that much grease remains in it when it is delivered to the dyer; in consequence of which the colour is apt to fail. Yet, independently of imperfections, so many are the disadvantages under which the manufacture labours, that foreigners can afford to pay three pounds for the arroba of fine wool, for which the Spaniard gives no more than twenty shillings, and after all his charges can command the market even in the ports of Spain.

“In the year 1525, the city contained five thousand families, but now they do not surpass two thousand—a scanty population this for twenty-five parishes; yet, besides the twenty-five churches, together with the cathedral, they have one and twenty convents. When the canal is finished, and the communication opened to the Bay of Biscay at Santander, the trade and manufactures of Segovia may revive; but, previous to that event, there can be nothing to inspire them with hope.”

Swinburne had written of the same city ten[121] years earlier (1776): “The inhabitants do not appear much the richer for their cloth manufactory. Indeed, it is not in a very flourishing condition; but what cloth they make is very fine.”

see caption

(Embroidered in Gold on Green Velvet. About A.D. 1500)

The Ordinances of Granada (a.d. 1532), from which we learn that cloth was also manufactured at that capital, contain the usual dispositions relative to the stamping of this product by the city officers. The stamps were in a box which was kept in a corner of the cathedral and closed by two keys, guarded severally by a councillor and an inspector of the trade, or veedor. On every day except a public festival, between the hours of ten and eleven of the morning, and three and four of the afternoon, it was the duty of these two authorities to proceed to the Alcaicería, and ascertain if any cloth required stamping. If so, the stamps were fetched forthwith from the cathedral, the cloth was marked, and the stamps were solemnly restored to their chest beneath the double key.

Among the woven fabrics other than those of silk, and which are specified in the Ordinances of Granada relative to the tundidores or shearers, are cloths of Florence, Flanders, London, Valencia,[122] Zaragoza, Onteniente, Segovia, and Perpignan; velarte (a fine cloth manufactured at Granada), red burel (kersey) of Baeza, black kersey of Villanueva and La Mancha, ruan (Roan linen), fustians, friezes, and cordellate (grogram) of Granada, Valencia, Toledo, Segovia, and Cuenca. According to Capmany, cloths of the commoner kind, and which were popular about this time, were the granas treintenas and black cloths of Valencia, the white or yellow veintiseiseno cloths of Toledo, the white cloths of Ciudad Real, the green palmillas of Cuenca, and green dieciochenos of Segovia, the contrayes of Cazalla, and the pardillos of Aragon. Spanish cloth was also manufactured at Vergara, Cordova, Jaen, Murcia, Palencia, Tavira de Durango, and Medina del Campo.

see caption

(Palencia Cathedral)

Laborde says: “In the archives of the Crowns of Aragon and Castile there is a notice of the duties paid from the thirteenth to the end of the seventeenth century for foreign cloths sold in Spain, and for other articles of consumption coming from abroad. The principal cloths came from Bruges, Montpellier, and London; the velvets from Malines, Courtrai, Ypres, and Florence. This trade became so injurious to Spain, that[123] Ferdinand and Isabella thought themselves bound to limit it entirely to the stuffs required for ornaments of the church, which of itself was a considerable quantity. Their prohibition is the subject of the rescript of September 2nd, 1494, for the provinces of the Crown of Castile. Even so far back as the Ordinances of Barcelona in 1271, mention is made of the taxes levied on the cloths of Flanders, Arras, Lannoy, Paris, Saint Denis, Chalons, Beziers, and Reims.”[35]


see caption

(Early 16th Century; Toledo Cathedral)

In 1809 the same author remarked: “The kingdom of Valencia produces little wool, yet there are five manufactories of woollens and coarse and fine cloths: they are at Morella, Enguera, Bocairente, Onteniente, and Alcoy. The small woollen stuffs are principally made at Enguera; nothing but the coarsest cloths are made at Morella, Bocairente, and Onteniente. The manufactory at Alcoy is the most considerable: the cloths, though finer, are generally of an inferior quality. The woof of them is thick,[125] with little nap upon it. The finest are scarcely superior to the beautiful cloths of Carcassonne.”


[27] Colmenares, who wrote a history of Segovia down to the reign of Philip the Second, says that in his time the clothmakers of this town were “true fathers of families, who within and without their houses sustain a multitude of persons (in many cases two and three hundred), producing, with the aid of other people's hands, a great variety of finest cloth: an employment worthy to be ranked with agriculture, and that is of the utmost profit to any city, or to any kingdom.”

[28] An amusing passage in Fernandez Navarrete's Conservación de Monarquías (a.d. 1626) tells us that most of the costlier dress-materials used in Spain about this time proceeded from abroad, and that they were “of so fine a texture that the heat of an iron scorches them and wears them out in a couple of days; while a great number of men employ themselves in the effeminate office of dressing collars, who, ceasing also to be men, forsake the plough or warlike exercises; for it is certain that when the Spaniards kept the world in awe, this land produced a greater number of armourers, and less persons who busied themselves with looking after womanish apparel” (p. 232).

[29] This recalls the statement made, centuries before, by Alonso de Cartagena at the Council of Bâle: “And if the English should vaunt the cunning of their cloth-makers, then would I tell them somewhat; for if our country lack the weavers to make a cloth so delicate as the scarlet cloths of London, yet is that substance titled grana (the kermes, or scarlet grain), from which the scarlet cloth receives its pleasantness of smell and brilliancy of hue, raised in the kingdom of Castile, and thence conveyed to England, and even to Italy.”—Larruga, Memorias, Vol. XIV., p. 167.

[30] “The weight of an arroba is twenty-seven pounds. The average price is from twenty-three to twenty-seven livres the arroba of unwashed wool of the best quality, which pays five livres ten sols of export duty. The arroba of washed wool pays double.”

[31] “It has been calculated that Spain, about this time, paid annually to England two million pounds sterling per annum, solely on account of her woollens.”

[32] “His Majesty maintained this factory by a monthly payment from his treasury of one hundred and fifty thousand livres; an exorbitant amount, which very possibly would not be covered by the sales of cloth.”

Townsend wrote in 1787 “Royal manufactures and monopolies have a baneful influence on population: for, as no private adventurers can stand the competition with their sovereign, where he is the great monopolist, trade will never prosper. The Spanish monarch is a manufacturer of

Broad cloth, at Guadalajara and Brihuega;
China, at the palace of the Buen Retiro;
Cards, at Madrid and Málaga;
Glass, at San Ildefonso;
Paper, in Segovia;
Pottery, at Talavera;
Saltpetre, at Madrid and various other places;
Stockings, at Valdemoro;
Swords, at Toledo;
Tapestry, at Madrid;
Tissue, at Talavera.

He has the monopoly of brandy, cards, gunpowder, lead, quicksilver, sealing-wax, salts, sulphur, and tobacco.”—(Journey through Spain, Vol. II., p. 240.)

[33] “It is made from wools of Buenos Aires and Peru. The wool of the former of these regions is the longer, but the Peruvian is the more silky.”

[34] A report presented by the Council of Commerce to the Marquis of la Ensenada, put forward, in 1744, the absurd pretence that the king of Spain maintained his factories “not for any State convenience or ad lucrum captandum, but in order to augment our own products, and diminish those which are imported from abroad.”—Larruga's Memorias, Vol. XV., pp. 70 and 247. Also see the conference delivered by the Count of Torreánaz in 1886, in the Royal Spanish Academy of Moral and Political Science; p. 27, note.

Several of the Spanish Crown factories were finally taken over by the association—immensely wealthy at one period—known as the Five Chief Gremios of Madrid (Los Cinco Gremios Mayores de la Villa de Madrid), and it is clear that the investment of a large amount of capital, subscribed by many shareholders, would of itself be calculated to destroy the narrow ideals and what I may term the individually greedy spirit which hitherto had ruled within the craftsman's private family. Private interests, in short, were superseded by the larger interests of a powerful company. That which I have mentioned was composed of the five gremios of the capital of Spain which subscribed the largest sums in taxes to the national exchequer; namely, the drapers, haberdashers, spicers and druggists, jewellers, cloth-merchants, and linen-drapers. For many years this association administered, on government's behalf, the alcabalas, tercias, and cientos of the town and district of Madrid, and subsequently (a.d. 1745) the millones tax, together with other important dues, and ultimately, as I have stated, took over, on a liberal scale of purchase, the royal cloth and silk factories of Talavera de la Reina (a.d. 1785), San Fernando, Guadalajara, Brihuega, Ezcaray, and Cuenca. The decay and downfall of the company was due to gross mismanagement, and indeed, the idiosyncrasies of the Spanish character render this people, even at the present day, but little fitted to embark upon commercial schemes requiring competent directors, heavy capital, and confident assistance, moral and material, from a large body of investors. Spaniards, as I have insisted elsewhere, do not pull well together; and so, early in the nineteenth century, the association of the five great gremios, which had possessed at one time many millions of pesetas, suspended payment of all dividends. It is fair to add, however, that this collapse was partly owing to the wars between France and Spain.

[35] In the reign of Francis the First, the importation of Catalan cloth into France was prohibited altogether.—Levasseur, Histoire des classes ouvrières en France, Vol. II., p. 73.

Among the various cloths (exclusively or chiefly of the less expensive kinds) which were manufactured in the capital and country of Cataluña, we read of those of pure scarlet, scarlet tinted with light or dark purple, ash-coloured, carmine, and rose; of cloth of combed wool, medias lanas (half-woollens), serges, and cadinas or banyolenchs. But before the close of the fifteenth century the production of these fabrics had suffered a serious decline caused by the tactless government of Ferdinand the Catholic, and above all, by the introduction of the Inquisition into Barcelona. A privilege of Ferdinand, granted on November 4th, 1493, to the Barcelonese clothmakers, admits that this was the foremost and most useful local manufacture (“no y ha altre art ni offici que mes util done”), adding, however, that it had fallen into a state of sad prostration “owing to the indisposition of these times.” (Capmany, Memorias, Vol. II., Doc. ccxliv).

This was undoubtedly the case; for in a report of the city council drawn up in 1491, it is stated that good cloth can only be manufactured from good wool, but that this had now become a difficult matter at Barcelona, because the clothmakers were without the money to purchase such wool. In consequence, they appealed to the city (then even more resourceless than themselves) to help them.

Although it has become fashionable in some quarters to deny that the Inquisition contributed in a sensible degree to the decline of Spanish arts and industries, the following passage, quoted from the municipal archives of Barcelona, places the fact beyond all argument as far as this locality is concerned. The city councillors declared in 1492 that “by reason of the Inquisition established in this city, many evils have befallen our commerce, together with the depopulation of the said city, and much other and irreparable damage to her welfare; and as much more harm will occur in the future, unless a remedy be applied, wherefore the said councillors entreat of the king's majesty that of his wonted clemency he order the said Inquisition to cease; or else that he repair the matter in such wise that the merchants who departed because of the Inquisition may return, and continue in the service of their God, their king, and of the general welfare of the city aforesaid.”


The art of embroidering, and especially of embroidering with the aid of gold and silver thread, was communicated to the Spaniards by the Spanish Moors, who doubtless had derived it from the East. By about the thirteenth century, the needle of the Spanish embroiderer had become, in the picturesque phrase of one of his compatriots, “a veritable painter's brush, describing facile outlines on luxurious fabrics, and filling in the spaces, sometimes with brilliant hues, or sometimes with harmonious, softly-graduated tones which imitate the entire colour-scheme of Nature.” Nevertheless, it was not until the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries that this art attained, in the Peninsula, its topmost summit of perfection.

It is not at all surprising that embroidery should have made great progress among a people so devoted to the outward and spectacular forms of worship as the Spaniards; nor have the chasubles, copes, and other vestments of the Spanish prelacy and priesthood ever been surpassed for costly[126] splendour[36] (Plates x., xi., xii.). But generally where the Spanish embroiderer excelled was in the mere manipulation of the needle. In fertility of design he was far outdistanced by the Germans and Italians, and was even to a large extent their imitator; for Spanish embroidery, as occurred with Spanish painting, was influenced, almost to an overwhelming degree, firstly by northern art, and subsequently by the art of the Renaissance.

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These tendencies or characteristics will be found in nearly all the masterpieces of Spanish embroidery that have been preserved until to-day, of which perhaps the most remarkable specimens are the manga or case of the great processional cross presented by Cardinal Cisneros to Toledo cathedral, and the “Tanto Monta” embroidered tapestry belonging to the same temple. The manga grande, known as that of the Corpus (Plate xiii.), is in the Gothic style, with reminiscences of German art, and consists of the following four scenes arranged in panels thirty-seven[127] inches high, and hung successively about the handle of the cross:—

(1) The Ascension of the Virgin Mary, who is supported by six angels.

(2) The Adoration of the Magi.

(3) San Ildefonso in the act of cutting off a piece of the veil of Santa Leocadia, patron of Toledo.

(4) The Martyrdom of San Eugenio, another patron of the city of Toledo.

The ground of this elaborate “sleeve” is a fabric of rich silk, on which the embroidery is worked in gold and silver thread and coloured silks, principally blue and red, combined in delicate, harmonious tones. The figures are outlined with fine gold cord, which forms a kind of frame or fencing to confine the stretches of smooth silk. The careful copying of architectural detail is stated by Serrano Fatigati to be strongly characteristic of Spanish industrial art in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and even sixteenth centuries. The same writer considers that this “sleeve” was executed towards the year 1514, when embroiderers of great renown, such as Alonso Hernández, Juan de Talavera, Martin Ruiz,[128] Hernando de la Rica, Pedro de Burgos, and Marcos de Covarrubias were engaged on similar work in the venerable city of the Tagus. Two out of the four panels, says Serrano Fatigati, may possibly be from the hand of Covarrubias, who was a famous craftsman of his time, and held the post of master-embroiderer in Toledo cathedral. In any case, the four panels are evidently not all by the same artist, nor do they appear to have been executed at precisely the same period.

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(15th Century. Toledo Cathedral)

The gorgeous embroidered tapestry which also belongs to this cathedral (where it serves as a hanging or colgadura for the altar on the day of Corpus Christi), and which is known as the “Tanto Monta” tapiz, is stated by some authorities to have been the dosel or bed canopy of Ferdinand and Isabella, and to have been purchased, in the year 1517, for 900,000 maravedis by Alonso Fernández de Tendilla, steward of those sovereigns. Riaño gives the following account of the same object:—

“As a fine specimen of embroidery on a large scale, must be mentioned the dosel or canopy called the tent of Ferdinand and Isabella, which was used in the reception of the English envoys, Thomas Salvaige and Richard Nanfan, who were[129] sent in 1488 to Spain to arrange the marriage of Prince Henry with the Infanta Doña Catalina.” The ambassadors describe it in the following manner: “After the tilting was over, the kings returned to the palace, and took the ambassadors with them, and entered a large room; and there they sat under a rich cloth of state of rich crimson velvet, richly embroidered with the arms of Castile and Aragon, and covered with the device of the King which is a … (blank in original),[37] and his motto, written at length, which is ‘Tanto Monta.’” (“Memorials of King Henry the Seventh,” Gairdner, London, 1858, p. 348).

Riaño also describes the mantle of the Virgen del Sagrario at Toledo. “It is completely covered with pearls and jewels forming a most effective ornamentation. This embroidery was made in the beginning of the seventeenth century, during the lifetime of Cardinal Sandoval, who presented it to the church.” Señor Parro, in his exhaustive work Toledo en la Mano (Vol. I., p. 574), gives the following account of it: “It is made of twelve yards of silver lama, or cloth of silver, which is entirely covered with gold and precious stones.[130] In the centre there is a jewel of amethysts and diamonds. Eight other jewels appear on each side, of enamelled gold, emeralds, and large rubies. A variety of other jewels are placed at intervals round the mantle, and at the lower part are the arms of Cardinal Sandoval enamelled on gold and studded with sapphires and rubies. The centre of this mantle is covered with flowers and pomegranates embroidered in seed-pearls of different sizes. Round the borders are rows of large pearls. Besides the gems which are employed in this superb work of art, no less than two hundred and fifty-seven ounces of pearls of different sizes were used, three hundred ounces of gold thread, a hundred and sixty ounces of small pieces of enamelled gold, and eight ounces of emeralds.”

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(Palencia Cathedral)

As in other countries, embroidery in Spain was executed in the bygone time, both by paid embroiderers, and as a domestic occupation by the ladies of the aristocracy. The work of the professional embroiderer consisted principally of paraments or altar-fronts (Plates xiv., xv., xvi., xviixvii.), and ecclesiastical vestments. Among the former of this class of objects, nothing is finer than the frontal of the Chapel of Saint George in the Audiencia of Barcelona. It is believed to have[131] been wrought by Antonio Sadurni, a Catalan embroiderer who flourished in the middle of the fifteenth century. The scene represented is the combat between Saint George (patron of Cataluña) and the dragon. The saint has rescued a damsel from the monster's claws, and her parents are looking on from a mirador of their palace. This central episode is surrounded with borders and arabesques of extraordinary richness.

Riaño gives a list, compiled from Cean, Martinez, Suarez de Figueroa, and other authors, of forty-seven Spanish embroiderers of the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. More recently, Ramírez de Arellano has discovered, among the municipal archives of Cordova, the names of sixteen others, who resided at that city towards, or early in, the seventeenth century. The craftsmen in question were Diego de Aguilar, Juan Bautista, Bernardo Carrillo, Luis Carrillo de Quijana, Andrés Fernández de Montemayor, Hernán Gómez del Río, Diego Fabián de Herrera, Diego del Hierro, Diego López de Herrera, Diego López de Valenzuela, Antonio de Morales, Gonzalo de Ocaña, Mateo Sanguino, Manuel Torralbo, Cristóbal de Valenzuela, and Martin de la Vega.

Documents in the same archive contain additional[132] particulars respecting two or three of these artificers. Thus, on February 10th, 1607, Hernán Gómez del Río engaged himself to embroider for the convent of the Trinity at Cordova, “a bordering for a chasuble and four faldones for dalmatics, with their collars and sabastros and bocas mangas. The said bocas mangas to be four in number, and the collars two; also the collaretes which may be necessary for the two dalmatics, and which I am to embroider in silk and gold upon white satin. The collaretes also to be embroidered by me in silk and gold to match a bordering of white satin for a cloak in possession of the said convent.” Further, the convent was to supply the artist with the quantity of white satin required, and pay him two hundred and ten ducats, secured by certain of the convent's revenues, for the gold, the silk, and the workmanship.

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(Palencia Cathedral)

Manuel Torralbo contracted to embroider a velvet altar-front and its corresponding fronteleras for the parish church of Luque, at a price of three hundred reales; and Cristóbal de Valenzuela (on September 25th, 1604) to embroider two frontals for the altar of the church of Obejo. One of them was to be of purple velvet worked in gold, and[133] the other of “black velvet, with borders and caidas embroidered in yellow satin and white satin, with skulls and bones embroidered in gold.”[38]

Turning our attention to the embroidery which was executed, principally as a recreation, by highborn Spanish ladies of some centuries ago, the romance of El Compte Arnau, quoted by Miquel y Badía and written in Catalan and Provençal, contains the following lines:—

“¿ Ahout teniu las vostras fillas—muller leal?
¿ Ahout teniu las vostras fillas—viudeta igual?
  A la cambra son que brodan—Compte l'Arnau
  A la cambra son que brodan—seda y estam.”

Isabella the Catholic presented to the Chapel Royal of the cathedral of Granada an ecclesiastical robe embroidered by her own hands for the festival of Corpus Christi. The material was black satin brocade, with a fringe of white silk, and the letters IHS in white damask.[39]


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(Palma, Balearic Islands. About A.D. 1810)

The same usage continued in the seventeenth century. Countess d'Aulnoy says: “Young ladies of great beauty and of noble blood engage themselves to wait on ladies of the aristocracy, and spend most of their time embroidering the collars and sleeves of shirts in gold, silver, and coloured silk, although, if they be suffered to follow their liking, they work but little, and gossip a great deal.” The same writer refers repeatedly to the sumptuous embroideries in use among the upper classes of the Spaniards of that time. Thus, the bed-pillows of the Princess of Monteleón were embroidered with gold. The sleeves of the coat of Charles the Second were of white silk, very large, opening towards the wrist, and embroidered with blue silk and jet, the rest of his costume being embroidered in white and blue silk. In the palace of the same monarch, the daïs of the throne-room was covered with “a wondrous carpet, and the throne and its canopy were embroidered with pearls, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones.” The cloaks of the chevaliers who belonged to the Military Orders of Santiago, Calatrava, and Alcántara were embroidered with gold. The gentlemen of Madrid covered their horses with silver gauze, and trappings embroidered[135] with gold and pearls.[40] The same gentlemen wore coats whose sleeves were of coloured satin, embroidered with silk and jet, and even their lackeys, when they attended their masters in a procession, wore uniforms of cloth embroidered with gold and silver. Unmarried girls and brides wore gold-embroidered bodices. The chairs in which the ladies of Madrid paid visits were made of cloth embroidered in gold and silver, stretched upon the wooden frame. In the train of the Duchess of Terranova went six litters covered with embroidered velvet. “In the parish church of San Sebastián,” wrote Countess d'Aulnoy, “I have seen a hand-chair made by order of the queen-mother, for carrying the Sacrament to sick persons in bad weather. It is lined with crimson velvet embroidered in gold and covered with hide studded with gilt nails: it has large window-glasses, and a kind of small belfry full of golden bells.”

With the succession of a French line of[136] sovereigns to the throne of Spain, a taste for French embroideries passed into the Peninsula, and these, in course of time, were imitated by the Spanish craftsmen.[41] “We find,” says Riaño, “that Madrid was the principal centre of this industry, and that French designs were universally copied, as was the case in the whole of Europe. The splendid curtains and embroidered hangings for apartments which exist at the royal palaces of Madrid, the Escorial, and Aranjuez, are admirable specimens.”

I may mention here the embroidery, often of a rich and highly ornate character, which is, or used to be, applied to the regional costumes of Spain. Plate ix. is reproduced from a rare print in my possession, showing the gala dress, as it existed in the year 1777, of the charra of Salamanca, with full, white sleeves ornamented in black embroidery with animals and other devices. A similar costume is still worn in that neighbourhood. Plate xviii., also copied from a print in my collection, dating from about the year 1810, shows the costume worn by the women of the well-to-do[137] middle class of the island of Majorca. “Le jupon ou guardapies,” says the manuscript description prefixed to this series of plates, “en mousseline, complete le costume de cette insulaire: il est orné au bas de riches broderies, mais assez court pour laisser voir un joli petit pied chaussé d'un bas de coton ou de soie et d'un élégant soulier de satin.”


[36] The cathedrals of Toledo and Palencia are particularly rich in sets of magnificently embroidered vestments. “Each set,” says Riaño, “generally includes a chasuble, dalmatic, cope, altar frontal, covers for the gospel stands, and other smaller pieces. The embroideries on the orphreys, which are formed of figures of saints, are as perfect as the miniatures on illuminated MSS.”

[37] The device of Ferdinand the Catholic was a yoke; the sheaf of arrows, that of Isabella. (See Vol. II., p. 147, etc.).

[38] The skull and crossbones were a favourite design upon these objects. The Church of the Escorial possesses four paraments so decorated, which were shown, in 1878, at the Parisian Exhibition of Retrospective Art.

[39] Gómez Moreno; Apuntes que pueden servir de historia del bordado de imagineria en Granada (El Liceo de Granada; 6th year, No. 18).

[40] A similar usage prevailed at Valladolid. The account of this city as it existed in 1605, published by Gayangos in the Revista de España, describes Don Juan de Tassis, Count of Villamediana, as “riding in the finest clothes imaginable; his cloak, jacket, breeches, shoes, and the trappings, harness, reins, etc., of his horse, being all embroidered with the finest twisted silver thread. Even his horse's blinkers were of the same material.”

[41] The use of embroidery was, however, greatly curbed by sumptuary pragmatics, issued early in this century (see Vol. I., pp. 287, 289). A similar pragmatic had appeared in 1622; but it is clear from the passages I have quoted, that little or no attention was paid to it.


There is a dim tradition, derived from or supported by a Latin poet (“Tunc operosa suis Hispana tapetia villis”) that carpets or tapestries of some kind were made in the Spanish Peninsula in the time of the Romans. Undoubtedly this craft was practised by the Spanish-Moors, particularly in the regions of Valencia, Alicante, Cuenca, and Granada. This statement is confirmed by two laconic notices which occur in the Description of Africa and Spain of Edrisi, a Mohammedan geographer of the twelfth century. Of the town of Chinchilla, in Alicante province, he wrote,—“woollen carpets are made here, such as could not be manufactured anywhere else, owing to the qualities of the air and water”; and of Cuenca,[138] “excellent woollen carpets are manufactured at this town.”

“En Espagne,” says Müntz, “l'industrie textile ne tarda pas à prendre également le plus brilliant essor, grâce à la conquête maure. Les étoffes d'Almeria acquirent rapidement une réputation européenne; il est vrai que c'étaient des brocarts, des damas, et autres tissus analogues, non des tapisseries: l'influence qu'elles furent appelées à exercer au dehors se borna donc au domaine de l'ornementation.”

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(12th Century; Gerona Cathedral)

Of a similar composition to the foregoing fabrics specified by Müntz—that is to say, not genuine tapestries, although requiring for several reasons to be classed with these—is the celebrated “Genesis” (Plate xix.) of the cathedral of Gerona. This primitive yet complicated work of art, dating from the twelfth century, is embroidered in crewels upon linen, and represents the creation of the world. Its dimensions are about four yards high by four and a half yards wide; but the bordering has been torn away in places. The design is thus described by Riaño:—“In the centre is a geometrical figure formed by two concentric circles. In the lesser circle is a figure of Christ holding an open book, on which[139] appear the words Sanctus Deus, and on each side Rex fortis, surrounded by the inscription, Dixit quoque Deus, Fiat lux, Et facta est lux. In the larger circle are the words, In principio creavit Deus coelum et terram, mare et omnia quæ in eis sunt, et vidit Deus cuncta quæ egerat et erant valde bona.

“The space between the two circles is divided by radiating lines into eight portions, in which are represented the Mystic Dove, the angels of light and darkness: the division of land from water, the creation of sun, moon, and stars, of birds, fishes, and beasts, and of Adam and Eve. In the angles outside the larger circle are the four winds, and the whole is surrounded by a border, imperfect in parts, containing representations of the months, and apparently of certain scriptural incidents, too much defaced to be clearly made out.”

The royal palaces of Spain and many of her noble houses have possessed, from about the fifteenth century, splendid collections of the costliest tapestries, consisting principally of paños de Ras, or “Arras cloths” (as they were called among the Spaniards, and especially in Aragon). Until a later period all, or very nearly all, these objects were imported from the Flemish workshops.[140][42] At the palace of a nobleman in Madrid, Bertaut de Rouen observed “les plus belles tapisseries du monde.” The same author tells us that in the seventeenth century, when he visited Spain and wrote his entertaining Journal, it was customary for the walls of the royal palace to be hung with tapestry in winter, these hangings being removed for greater coolness in the summer months. In reading descriptions of Spanish life referring to the same period, one is struck by the craze which prevailed among the Spaniards for displaying tapestries and other gay-coloured fabrics in all kinds of places and on every possible occasion. Thus, Bertaut de Rouen relates that when he saw a play performed in the Alcázar, “le long de ces deux costez de la salle estoient seulement deux grands bancs couverts de tapis de Perse”; that the boxes at the bull-fights, both at Madrid and[141] in the country, were “tapissées de brocatelle de soye”; and that the lower part of the dome in one of the chapels of Seville cathedral was decorated with the same material. At the haunted castle of Quebaro, on the road from Galareta to Vitoria, Countess d'Aulnoy saw upon the walls of a large chamber, some tapestries representing the amours of Don Pedro the Cruel and of Doña María de Padilla. “This lady was depicted seated, like a queen, among various other ladies, while the king crowned her with a chaplet of flowers. Elsewhere Doña María was reposing in a forest, as the king offered her a falcon. I also saw her dressed as a warrior while the king, in armour, offered her a sword. This set me thinking whether she had ever accompanied Don Pedro in one of his campaigns. All the figures in these tapestries were badly drawn, but Don Fernando assured me that all well-executed likenesses of Doña María de Padilla represented her to be a woman of rare charm, the loveliest of her century.”

Pinheiro da Veiga says that at Valladolid in 1605, a banquet was celebrated in “a large gallery, completely covered with the richest silk brocade, as were most of the other apartments.” He also says that cloths of similar richness were employed as[142] street-awnings. “Upon the ninth was the Corpus procession, at which the king was to assist; and a proclamation was issued that none should promenade on horseback or in coaches. I found nothing remarkable in this procession, unless it were the hangings and the awnings to keep off the sun, which were of the richest damask and brocade.” Of the same fiesta Countess d'Aulnoy wrote in 1679: “The streets through which the procession has to pass are adorned with the finest tapestries in all the world, since in addition to those belonging to the Crown, many of the greatest beauty are displayed by private persons. The celosías of all the balconies are replaced by elaborate canopies and hangings, and the whole roadway is covered with an awning to ward off the sun, and which, for the sake of greater freshness, is moistened with a little water.” Nearly identical with this account is that of Alexander de Laborde, who wrote, a century and a quarter later than the Countess; “On Corpus Christi day there is a grand procession composed of the regular and secular clergy of Madrid, followed by the king, his ministers, and court, each bearing in his hand a wax taper. Magnificent awnings of tapestry are raised in the streets through which the procession[143] is to pass; the balconies are decorated with splendid hangings; the seats are covered with cushions, and occasionally surmounted with a daïs; in some of the streets the face of day is darkened by canopies which stretch from one side to the other. Altars are placed at regular intervals; the balconies are thronged with ladies superbly dressed, who sprinkle scented water, or scatter fragrant flowers on the passing multitudes.”

Pinheiro da Veiga also describes a set of remarkable tapestries, evidently Flemish, which he saw in the Chapter-room of the Convent of Cármen Calzado at Valladolid. “It was hung with the richest tapestry, silk, and paintings that had belonged to the Duke of Lerma. I greatly admired some cloths of green velvet, worked all over with the Bucolics of Virgil, in tarjas embroidered in silk and gold, as though they were sebastos[43] of ecclesiastical vestments, but these were old, of great value, and extraordinary merit. Finer still were certain cloths of recent workmanship, such as I had never seen equalled, of a white material painted in tempera, with the borders, dresses, and faces of the personages on them[144] wrought in twisted gold. I never saw anything so brilliant or so novel. The cloths were eight in number, with four embroidered guardapuertas. The persons figured upon them wore belts of real pearls, rings set with diamonds and rubies on their fingers, and gold chains and medals studded with precious stones, just as living people wear them.”

The fashion of collecting foreign tapestries seems to have reached its height at the Spanish capital in the first half of the seventeenth century. “Nowadays,” wrote Fernandez de Navarrete, in his Conservacion de Monarquías, published in 1626, “gentlemen are not contented with hangings which a few years ago were considered good enough to adorn a prince's palace. The Spanish taffetas and guadamecíes, so highly esteemed in other provinces, are held of no account in this one (Madrid). The sargas and arãbeles wherewith the moderation of the Spanish people was satisfied in former days, must now be turned into injurious telas rizas of Florence and Milan, and into costliest Brussels tapestry.”

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(16th Century. Monastery of Las Huelgas, Burgos)

It is perhaps allowable to include among the oldest makers of Spanish tapestry the names of Gonzalo de Mesa and Diego Roman, who, in[145] the year 1331, were paid respectively one thousand maravedis and eighteen hundred maravedis, for decorating the tents of King Sancho the Fourth. There also exists the following entry, dating from the same period; “To Boançibre, master of the tents; XXX maravedis for his food, for fifteen days.”[44]

Far clearer than these laconic excerpts is a document preserved in the library of the Academy of History at Madrid, in the form of a memorial presented to Philip the Second by a Spanish tapestry-maker of Salamanca, named Pedro Gutierrez,[45] and setting forth, in pessimistic language, the unhappy condition of this craft in the Peninsula. Pedro relates of himself that in twenty-four days he made for the Cardinal-archduke no less than a hundred and twenty reposteros; and that in order to exhibit his cleverness as a[146] tapestry-weaver, he set up a loom in the royal palace (being officially the tapicero to the Crown), and worked for forty days where all might criticise the product of his toil. Gutierrez also states that the township of Madrid had provided him with six hundred ducats to enable him to establish there a tapestry-factory for the space of ten years, together with six hundred and fifty ducats from the Cortes for supporting his apprentices, and a thousand ducats from the king to defray the cost of certain voyages he had made to Lisbon, Monzón, and Barcelona, and of removing his residence from Salamanca to the capital of Spain. He complains, however, that the house he dwells in at Madrid is not large enough to contain his loom, and replies to the objections of such persons as opposed his opening the tapestry-works at all (on the ground that this craft was practised better and more cheaply in Flanders), by asserting that Spanish makers of reposteros were now accustomed to receive a daily wage of no more than three reales and “a miserable meal.” This, he urges, should render Spanish tapestries at least as inexpensive to produce as those of Flanders; although, upon the other hand, he admits that the colouring of the former is likely to prove inferior to the[147] Flemish cloths in purity and durability. “Common tapestry,” he says, “seldom keeps its colour upward of a couple of years, so that, if such were used in open sunlight on the backs of beasts of burden, or to cover carts, exposed to sun, wind, dust, and mire, or else for cleaning shoes upon, as now is practised with the reposteros, their imperfections would become apparent all the sooner.”

Mention of these typically Spanish objects known as reposteros,[46] induces me to quote an interesting notice relating to the visit of Philip the Second to Cordova, in the year 1570. The train of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who journeyed to this city in order to receive his sovereign, consisted of a hundred and three mules covered with “new reposteros of wool, and of six mules[148] covered with reposteros of purple velvet, embroidered with silver and gold, and bearing the duke's arms.”

If, as seems most likely, the woollen reposteros above referred to were of woven work containing a device, this passage would demonstrate that the manufacture of the cloths in question was sometimes the province of the tapestry-maker and sometimes that of the embroiderer. Ramírez de Arellano, from whose instructive studies on the craftsmen of older Spain I quote the foregoing extract, says that the making of reposteros constitutes a branch of craftsmanship distinct from embroidery of the common class, and that the men who produced them deserve to be included among artists of real merit. He gives the names of two, Hernán Gonzalez and Juan Ramos, who worked at Cordova in the middle of the sixteenth century. A document relating to the former of these men tells us that in those days the price of a repostero de estambre measuring sixteen palms square, with a coat-of-arms worked in the centre, and a decorative border, was ninety reales.

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(By Velazquez. Prado Gallery)

Riaño says: “I do not find any information of a later date which suggests the existence of the manufacture of tapestries in Spain during the[149] Middle Ages.” Davillier, however, affirms that in the year 1411 two master-makers of tapestry were living at the court of the King of Navarre, and that other craftsmen, holding the same title, were established at Barcelona in 1391 and 1433. This notice is accepted by Müntz: “A la fin du XIVe et au commencement du XVe siècle, les Espagnols tentèrent de fonder dans leur patrie quelques ateliers de haute lisse. A Barcelone, en 1391 et en 1433, plusieurs tapissiers (maestros de tapices) firent partie du grand Conseil. Mais ces tentaves ne semblent pas avoir eu de résultats durables. Il était plus commode de recourir aux manufactures flamandes, si merveilleusement organisées. Peut-être même ce système était-il plus économique. Ne voyons-nous pas aujourd'hui jusqu'à l'extrême Orient tirer, pour raison d'économie, des fabriques de Manchester et de Birmingham les tissus courants dont il a besoin?”

The history of tapestry-making at Madrid may be said to date from the establishment in this town of a small factory by Pedro Gutierrez, whose petition to Philip the Second I have already quoted, and who received protection both from that monarch and from the queen, Doña Ana. In 1625 Gutierrez was succeeded by Antonio[150] Ceron, who formally styled himself “tapicero de nuevo, sucesor de Pedro Gutierrez” (“maker of new tapestries, successor to Pedro Gutierrez”), and petitioned the king for the grant of a meal a day, “in recompense of having taught his trade to eight lads, and of having mounted eight looms in (the factory of) Santa Isabel.” This factory of Santa Isabel was so called from the street in which it lay, and part of it is represented in the celebrated painting by Velazquez called Las Hilanderas (“The Spinners,” not, as it is translated in Riaño's handbook, “The Weavers.” Plate xxi.).

This factory was unsuccessful, and declined by degrees until it ceased completely, in spite of the efforts made to revive it in 1694 by a Belgian named Metler, and in 1707 by a Salamanquino, Nicholas Hernández.

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(16th Century. Spanish Crown Collection)

A new tapestry-factory—that of Santa Barbara—was founded shortly afterwards in a building known as the Casa del Abreviador. The first director, engaged in 1720 by order of Philip the Fifth, was Jacob Van der Goten, a native of Antwerp,[47] who died in 1724, and was succeeded[151] at the factory by his sons, Francisco, Jacobo, Cornelius, and Adrian. These craftsmen worked with basse lisse looms till 1729, in which year a haute lisse loom was mounted by a Frenchman, Antoine Lenger.

In 1730, when the court removed to Seville, a tapestry-factory was established at this city also. The director was Jacob Van der Goten the younger, assisted by the painter Procaccini. At the end of three years this factory closed its doors, and Van der Goten and Procaccini, returning to Madrid, established themselves at the old factory of Santa Isabel, from which, in 1744, they again removed to the factory of Santa Barbara.[48]

In 1774, when, with the exception of Cornelius,[152] who was considered the most skilful of them all, the family of the Van der Gotens had died out, the direction of the Santa Barbara factory was entrusted to several Spanish artists, named Manuel Sanchez, Antonio Moreno, Tomás del Castillo, and Domingo Galan. Sanchez, who acted as general superintendent of the works, died in 1786, and was succeeded in this office by his nephew, Livinio Stuck, whose son resumed the directorship in 1815, after the factory had been paralysed by the invasion of the Peninsula, and destroyed by the French in 1808. Since then it has never ceased working, and descendants of the Stucks continue to superintend it at the present day.

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(Cartoon for Tapestry. By Goya)

The collection of tapestry belonging to the Crown of Spain is probably the finest in the world. As far back as the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella the walls of the royal palace were hung with decorative textile cloths or paños de Ras, and among the officers in the household of their son, the youthful Prince Don Juan, we find[153] included a keeper of the tapestry and reposteros. But it was not until the reigns of Charles the Fifth and Philip the Second that the royal collection was enriched with numerous sets of celebrated tapestries produced in Italy and Flanders—countries which were then subjected to the yoke of Spain. Frequent additions were also made throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, both from abroad and subsequently (when the Brussels industry declined) from the Spanish factories of Santa Isabel and Santa Barbara.

As early as the year 1600 a Spaniard wrote enthusiastically of “the rich and cunning tapestries belonging to His Majesty, to whom it would be easier to win a kingdom than to get them made anew.”[49] At the present day it is impossible to estimate with any certainty the number of these tapestries, the greater part of which are locked away. Only on certain festivals, such as the days of Corpus Christi and the Candelaria (Purification), a few are unfolded and displayed in the upper galleries of the palace at Madrid. Their total number is believed to be not far short of one[154] thousand pieces;[50] but Señor Tormo calculates that were they no more than five hundred, they would, if placed end to end, cover more than two miles of ground.

Among the sets which form this wonderful collection, distributed between the palaces of Madrid, the Prado, and the Escorial, none is of greater merit or magnificence than the series of twelve cloths depicting the Conquest of Tunis (Plate xxii.), designed for Charles the Fifth by his Court painter, Jan Vermay or Vermeyen, of Beverwyck, near Haarlem, and executed by William Pannemaker, of Brussels. It was agreed by Pannemaker in 1549 that the materials employed upon this tapestry should consist of the finest wool, Granada silk, and, for the woof, the choicest Lyons fillet—the very best that money could procure. The Emperor himself was to provide the gold and silver thread. Accordingly, Pannemaker was supplied with five hundred and fifty-nine pounds and one ounce of silk, dyed and spun in the city of Granada, where one of Charles' agents[155] resided for two years seven months and twenty-five days, for the purpose of superintending its preparation. The cost of this silk, exclusive of the agent's expenses, amounted to 6,637 florins. Nineteen colours were employed in the dyeing, each colour consisting of from three to seven shades, and a hundred and sixty pounds of the finest silk were consumed in trying to obtain a special shade of blue.

After receiving these materials, Pannemaker kept seven workmen constantly engaged upon each paño of this tapestry, or eighty-four workmen in all. As soon as any one of the pieces was concluded, he submitted it to experts who pointed out such details as they recommended for correction. The entire work required a little more than five years, and was therefore terminated in 1554. The price paid for it was twelve florins per ell, and the number of these was 1246, representing a total cost of 14,952 florins, while Pannemaker, subject to the Emperor's being satisfied with the work, was further promised a yearly pension of a hundred florins.[51]

Equally remarkable are the spirited design and[156] the flawless execution of this series of elaborate cloths, recalling, in their swarms of armed figures and the lofty point of view, which reduces the sky to a mere strip, the vivacious war and camp pictures of Snyders. The titles of the subjects, forming, as it were, a pictured epitome of the expedition led by Charles in person against the Barbary pirates, are as follows: (1) A map of the Spanish coast; (2) The review of the troops at Barcelona; (3) The landing of the forces; (4) A skirmish; (5) The camp; (6) Foraging; (7) The capture of La Goleta; (8) The battle of Los Pozos, Tunis; (9) A sortie of the besieged; (10) The sack of Tunis; (11) The victors returning to the harbour; (12) The forces embarking.

According to Müntz, this tapestry has been copied at least on two occasions; once in the eighteenth century by Josse de Vos, of Brussels, and also, in the same century, in Spain, partly at Seville, and partly at the factories of Santa Isabel and Santa Barbara.

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(First half of 15th Century. Zamora Cathedral)

Other most valuable and beautiful tapestries belonging to the Spanish Crown are the series titled The History of the Virgin, believed to be from cartoons by Van Eyk, The Passion, from[157] cartoons attributed to Van der Weyden, the History of David and History of Saint John the Baptist, the Mass of Saint Gregory, and the Founding of Rome. All of these series date from the fifteenth century and early in the sixteenth. Belonging to a later period are the reproductions of rustic scenes and hunting subjects by Teniers and others, executed in Spain between 1721 and 1724, the Scenes from Don Quixote, made at Santa Barbara from Procaccini's cartoons, and the eminently national series produced at the same factory from designs by Francisco Goya y Lucientes. This latter group amounts to several dozen pieces, including the well-known Blind Man's Buff, A Promenade in Andalusia (Plate xxiii.), The Crockery-seller, The Grape-Gatherers (Frontispiece), and other spirited and charming scenes of popular Spanish life—“tout cela,” as Lefort describes it, “spirituel, vif, pittoresque, très mouvementé, bien groupé, s'élevant sur des fonds champêtres ou baignant gaiement en pleine lumière.”

Other tapestry collections of great merit belong to the cathedrals of Burgos, Zamora (where they line the walls of the Sacristy; Plate xxiv.), Zaragoza, Toledo, Tarragona, and Santiago. The first of these temples possesses the following sets,[158] which are displayed to decorate the cloisters on the feast of Corpus Christi:—

(1) The History of Cleopatra and Mark Antony.

(2) The History of David.

(3) The Creation.

(4) An Historical Subject.

(5) The Theological and Cardinal Virtues.

(6) A series of five Gothic tapestries, which represent some mystery or allegory, and seem to be of Flemish manufacture. One other paño, of a similar character, accompanies them.

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(Late 15th Century. Collection of the late Count of Valencia de Don Juan)

All but the last of the above sets are marked with two B's separated by a shield, denoting Brussels workmanship. The Theological and Cardinal Virtues were presented to the cathedral about the end of the sixteenth century. They are evidently executed from Italian cartoons, and the haute-lisse craftsman who made them, in or towards the year 1571, was named Francis Greubels.[52]

The tapestries which belong to the cathedral of[159] Zaragoza number some sixty or seventy pieces, including a series (fifteenth century) representing The Life of Saint John the Baptist, from designs by Lucas of Holland. Good tapestries were also the property of Valencia cathedral, but have been dispersed and sold in recent years. The convent of the Descalzas Reales at Madrid possesses a set from designs by Rubens. Ten pieces of this series formerly belonged to the Count-Duke of Olivares, who sent them to his town of Loeches; four passing subsequently to the Duke of Westminster's collection. The small though valuable collection formed by the late Count of Valencia de Don Juan (Plate xxv.), passed at this nobleman's death to his daughter, Señora de Osma, who has presented part of it to the Archæological Museum at Madrid. Another collector resident in Spain, Mons. Mersmann, of Granada, possesses a series of fine Brussels cloths representing scenes from Don Quixote, by Van den Hecke.


[42] “A côté de l'Italie, il faut citer l'Espagne, tributaire comme elle des ateliers flamands. Les résidences royales regorgeaient de ces précieux tissus, qui aujourd'hui encore, à Madrid ou à l'Escurial, se chiffrent par centaines. Parmi les présents que le roi de Castille envoya à Tamerlan († 1405), on remarquait des tapisseries dont les portraits étaient faits avec tant de délicatesse, dit un chroniqueur persan, que si on voulait leur comparer les ouvrages merveilleux autrefois exécutés par le peintre Mani sur la toile d'Artène, Mani serait couvert de honte et ses ouvrages paraîtraient difformes.”—Müntz, La Tapisserie, p. 172.

[43] A Portuguese word meaning a strip of silk upon the back of a chasuble.

[44] Manuel G. Simancas, Artistas Castellanos del Siglo XIII (Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones for January, 1905.)

[45] At about the same time that this petition was presented by Gutierrez, another tapestry-maker named Pedro de Espinosa, a native of Iniesta, was living at Cordova. On February 2nd, 1560, he married Leonor de Burgos, and received as dowry from his bride the sum of thirty-five thousand maravedis. (Ramírez de Arellano, Artistas Exhumados, published in the Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones.)

[46]Reposteros,” says Riaño, “is the ancient name given to the hangings which are placed outside the balconies on state occasions in Spain. Several splendid examples of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries may still be seen at the houses of Spanish grandees, of which those belonging to the Conde de Oñate and Marques de Alcañices at Madrid are the most remarkable for their artistic design.”

It is surprising that Riaño should insert so incomplete a definition of this word, whose primitive and proper meaning, according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Academy, is “a square piece of cloth with the arms of a prince or Señor, which serves for covering baggage carried by beasts of burden, and also for hanging in antechambers.” See also Vol. II., p. 16 (note) of the present work.

[47] The royal contract with the elder Van der Goten, dated July 30th, 1720, was the result of secret negotiations, and largely brought about by the influence of Philip's minister, Cardinal Alberoni.

[48] “On Saturday, May 27th, passing through the gate of Saint Barbara, I visited the tapestry manufactory, which resembles, and equals in beauty, the Gobelins, whence it originally came. I found a Frenchman at the head of it, who was civil and communicative. This fabric was brought into Spain, and established here under the direction of John de Van Dergoten, from Antwerp, in the year 1720. They now employ fourscore hands, and work only on the king's account, and for his palaces, making and repairing all the tapestry and carpets which are wanted at any of the Sitios, or royal residences.”—Townsend, in 1786.

“The elegant manufacture of tapestry is carried on without Saint Barbe's gate, at the entrance of the promenade of Los Altos, or Chamberi; it was established in 1720 by Philip the Fifth, at whose invitation John Dergoten, of Antwerp, was induced to undertake its superintendence, an office at present filled by his descendants. The productions of this manufactory are carpets and tapestry, the subjects of which are often drawn from fable or history; it sometimes copies pictures executed by superior artists, and affords daily employment to eighty persons, including dyers, drawers, designers, and all its various branches.”—Laborde (about 1800).

[49] Licentiate Gaspar Gutierrez de los Ríos, Noticia general para la estimación de las Artes y de la manera en que se conocen las liberales de las que son mecánicas y serviles.

[50] Riaño estimates them at this number. See his Report on a collection of photographs from tapestries of the Royal Palace of Madrid; London, 1875; and also Tapices de la Corona de España, with 135 plates in phototype, and text by Count Valencia de Don Juan; Madrid, Hauser and Menet, 1903.

[51] Müntz, La Tapisserie, pp. 217, 218. Wauters, Les Tapisseries Bruxelloises, pp. 76, 77. Houdoy, Tapisseries représentant la Conqueste du Royaulme de Thunes par l'empereur Charles-Quint.

[52] See an article on these tapestries by Señor Lamperez y Romea, published in No. 55 of the Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones; and also Nos. 156 and 157 of the same publication, for an article on the Crown and other Spanish collections, by Elías Tormo y Monzó.


Although the Spaniards have enjoyed, and still enjoy, a widespread fame for lace-making, their[160] written records of this craft are unsubstantial. Originally, perhaps, they borrowed it from the Arabs or Venetians. Certainly, the earliest Spanish lace was such as is made with a needle, that is, point, not pillow lace. In this form, à la aguja, and in the sixteenth century, the Spaniards possibly conveyed the secrets of its manufacture to the Netherlands, receiving from the natives of this country, in exchange, the art of making lace by means of bobbins, including the characteristic “Flemish net,” or red flandés.

Towards the sixteenth century the parts of Spain where lace was manufactured in the largest quantity were some of the Manchegan towns and villages, the coast of Finisterre, and nearly the whole of Cataluña. In La Mancha lace was made, and still is so, at Manzanares, Granatula, Almagro, and other places. That of Almagro (the celebrated punto de Almagro, resembling the lace of Cataluña), is mentioned by nearly all the older travellers. In Don Quixote, Teresa writes to Sancho Panza that their daughter Sanchita was engaged in making bobbin-lace at a daily wage of eight sueldos.

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(By Goya)

In 1877, at the Exhibition of Sumptuary Arts which was held in Barcelona, a magnificent lace[161] toca was shown, which was affirmed by its possessor, Señor Parcerisa, to be the work of a Spaniard of the later part of the fifteenth century, and to have belonged to Isabella the Catholic. The cathedral of the same city owns three thread-lace albs of sixteenth century workmanship, and the South Kensington Museum other pieces of Spanish lace of a comparatively early date, probably made by nuns and subtracted from the convents during the stormy scenes of 1835.

Dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, we have a number of notices, though scrappy and inexplicit as a rule, relating to Spanish lace. One of the more complete and interesting is quoted by Riaño from the Microcosmia y Gobierno Universal del Hombre Cristiano (Barcelona, 1592) of Father Marcos Antonio de Campos. “I will not be silent,” wrote this austere padre, “and fail to mention the time lost these last years in the manufacture of cadenetas, a work of thread combined with gold and silver; this extravagance and excess reached such a point that 100 and 1000 ducats were spent in this work, in which, besides destroying the eyesight, wasting away the lives, and rendering consumptive the women who worked it, and preventing them from[162] spending their time with more advantage to their souls, a few ounces of thread and years of time were wasted with so unsatisfactory a result. I ask myself, after this fancy shall have passed away, will the lady or gentleman find that the chemises that cost them 50 ducats, or the basquiña (petticoat) that cost them 300, are worth half their price, which certainly is the case with other objects in which the material itself is worth more?”

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(A.D. 1777)

Several of the other notices relating to the lace-makers' craft are from the pen of Countess d'Aulnoy. Of the Countess of Lemos this writer says: “Her hair was white, but she carefully concealed it beneath a black blonde”; and of another Spanish lady, Doña Leonor de Toledo, that she wore “a green velvet skirt trimmed with Spanish blonde.” In the apartments of the young Princess of Monteleón the countess saw “a bed of green and gold damask, decorated with silver brocade and Spanish blonde. The sheets were fringed with English point-lace, extremely broad and handsome.” The countess also says that the petticoats of the Spanish ladies were of English point-lace,[53] and that these ladies, when they[163] visited each other, wore on their heads “a toca of the richest English black point-lace, half a yard broad, forming points like the antique laces, beautiful to look at, and very dear. This head-dress suits them rarely.”

According to Balsa de la Vega, whose interesting articles on Spanish lace (published in the newspaper El Liberal) are worth perusal by all who are interested in this craft, about the middle of the seventeenth century the custom originated in Spain of making lace in broader pieces, dividing the pattern into a number of strips or fajas which were subsequently sewn together. In Belgium, on the contrary, the design was cut out, following the contour of the floral or other decoration.

In former ages gold and silver lace was made in France, and also at Genoa. I think it possible that Genoese merchants, many of whom are known to have settled in Granada and other Spanish cities, may first have introduced this branch of lace-making among the Spaniards. The sumptuary laws of Aragon, Castile, León, and Navarre would seem to show that lace of these materials, known as punto or redecilla de oro (or plata) was manufactured by the Spanish Jews between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. During the[164] seventeenth century and part of the eighteenth, the quantity produced in the Peninsula was very large. In his Fenix de Cataluña, a work which was published at Barcelona in 1683, Feliu de la Peña says that Spanish randa or réseuil, of gold and silver, silk, thread, and aloe fibre, was better made in Spain than in the Netherlands. The journal of Bertaut de Rouen contains the following notice of this silver lace: “Le Roy y envoya le Lieutenant du Maistre des Postes, avec huit postillons, couverts de clinquant, et quarante chevaux de poste, dont il y en avoit huit avec des selles et des brides du Roy où il y avoit de la dentelle d'argent, que Monsieur le Mareschal fit distribuer à environ autant de gens que nous estions, sur une liste qu'il avoit envoyée quelques jours auparavant.”

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(By Goya)

It is impossible to mention Spanish lace without recalling that most graceful article of headwear, the mantilla, the use of which is gradually dying out. At present we understand by this word a black or white head-covering of lace alone (the white being more conspicuous and dressy), but about a hundred years ago the mantilla was made of a variety of fabrics. Also, it was worn in an easier and more negligé manner than nowadays,[165] retaining a closer likeness to the velo or manto with which the Spanish women of the seventeenth century were able, at their pleasure, to completely mask their faces (Plates xxvi. and xxvii.). Indeed, as late as the early part of the nineteenth century the mantilla was sometimes thrown over the face (Plates xxviii. and xxix.). The same usage is referred to by Townsend, who describes the mantilla as “serving the double purpose of a cloak and veil.”[54] To-day it is worn, not hanging loose and open, but a good deal bunched up at the bosom. The hair, too, is dressed to an unusual height, with a tall comb, and over this the delicate lace covering should droop a little to one side. A flower or two (roses or carnations by preference) may be worn at one side of the head, and where the mantilla is caught up at the breast.

The manuscript account of Spanish costumes early in the nineteenth century, and which is prefixed to my copy of Pigal's coloured lithographs, contains some excellent descriptions of the older[166] Spanish mantilla. We learn, for instance, that at Palma the women of the well-to-do middle class wore a mantilla of black taffeta, trimmed with blonde (Plate xviii.).[55] In La Mancha, and among the peasants, it was of white muslin; at Cordova, in cold weather, “en flanelle ou en bayette fine: elle est garnie de rubans à l'extrémité desquels il y a deux gros noeuds: en été elle est en mousseline.” The small mantilla or “mantellina” of the wife of the smuggler of Tarifa was “en flanelle blanche, ou noire, ou rose, brodée d'un ruban: elle en fait três souvent un usage différent des autres femmes espagnoles, car au lieu de la mettre sur la tête attachée avec des épingles, elle s'en sert de schal: quelque fois elle la met en baudrier laissant flotter derrière elle les deux extrémités qui sont ornées d'un noeud en ruban.” The servant-girl of Madrid wore a white mantilla in summer, and a black one in winter. The same author describes in greater detail the mantillas of the fine ladies. “La mantille et la basquigne,” he says, “voila de quoi se compose principalement le costume du beau sexe en Espagne. Ce costume, quoique national, est susceptible de recevoir aussi[167] bien que tout autre les divers degrés de luxe que les femmes d'une riche classe et celles du plus haut rang peuvent apporter dans leur parure: la classe la moins aisée porte la mantille en laine noire ou blanche et la basquigne en serge ou autre étoffe de laine noire. Pendant le jour, lorsque les dames espagnoles se présentent en public, c'est toujours avec la mantille et la basquigne, mais le soir si elles vont au spectacle ou ailleurs, elles sortent três souvent habillées à la française.”

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(About A.D. 1810)

Elsewhere he says: “Nous avons déjà dit qu'un simple ruban, un peigne, ou une fleur, est la coiffure adoptée par les dames espagnoles, pour faire usage de la mantille: celle-ci est dans l'hiver quelquefois en serge de soie, taffetas, etc., noir, garnie en outre de blondes, ou d'un large ruban de velours noir en échiquier (cinta de terciopelo à tablero), mais ce ruban est toujours noir. Il y eut un temps où la mode, qui ne fut pas de longue durée, prescrivait que les bouts de la mantille se terminassent en trois pointes ornées chacune d'une houppe (borla) noire, ou d'un lacet de ruban noir. Jamais les mantilles ne sont doublées.”

The same author remarks of the lady of Madrid; “La mantille de tulle brodé ne se porte que dans la belle saison … elle ne dépasse jamais la[168] ceinture”[56]; and of the lady of Granada: “si la mantille est blanche, elle est en tulle parsemé de petits bouquets et garnie de larges et riches dentelles. Si elle est noire, comme cela arrive plus ordinairement, elle est alors en blonde: il y a de ces mantilles qui coutent cinq cent, mille, et jusqu'à deux mille francs.”

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(Presented to Queen Victoria of Spain, on her marriage)

A good deal of lace, principally of the less elaborate and cheaper kinds, was formerly manufactured in the kingdom of Valencia. Cabanillas wrote in 1797 that at Novelda, a small town of this region, more than two thousand women and children worked at making laces, which were hawked about the country by others of the townspeople. Swinburne remarks upon the same industry, and Ricord tells us in his pamphlet (1791) that cotton lace was made in six factories at Torrente, Alicante, and Orihuela.[57] The total product of these factories for the said year was 1,636,100 yards, which sold at from nine to twelve reales the yard. Laborde wrote some years later, in the first volume of his book, that lace, and gold[169] and silver fringes were then made at Valencia, and in the fourth volume; “Gold and silver laced stuffs, and velvets of all colours brocaded and flowered with the same metals, are made at Toledo, Barcelona, Valencia, and Talavera de la Reina; and the manufacture at the last-named city annually consumes four thousand marks of silver, and seventy marks of gold.

“At Barcelona, Talavera de la Reina, and Valencia are also manufactured gold and silver edgings, lace, and fringes, though not in a sufficient quantity to answer the demands of Spain; and the gold is very badly prepared, having too red a cast.”

Lace-making was an ancient and important industry of every part of Cataluña. Lace articles for ladies' headwear are known to have been made throughout this region at least as far back as the fifteenth century, and Capmany reminds us that by a cedula dated from the Cortes of Monzón, December 16th, 1538, the Emperor Charles the Fifth confirmed the Ordinances of the guild, established long before, of the tejedores de velos of Barcelona. Technical provisions are embodied in this code, concerning various articles of lace employed as headwear, such as alfardillas, quiñales,[170] and espumilla, all of which were largely exported to America.

The attention of foreigners who travelled in Cataluña towards the eighteenth century was constantly attracted by the lace-makers. Swinburne mentions “Martorell, a large town, where much black lace is manufactured,” and “Espalungera (Esparraguera?), a long village, full of cloth and lace manufacturers,” and wrote of Sarriá and its surroundings, close to Barcelona: “The women in the little hamlets were busy with their bobbins making black lace, some of which, of the coarser kind, is spun out of the leaf of the aloe. It is curious, but of little use, for it grows mucilaginous with washing.”

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(Point and Pillow Work. Modern)

“Martorell,” wrote Townsend in 1786, “is one long, narrow street, in which poverty, industry, and filth, although seldom seen together, have agreed to take up their abode. The inhabitants make lace, and even the little children of three and four years old are engaged in this employment.” Laborde wrote that at the beginning of the eighteenth century seventeen manufactories of blondes were established at Mataró, and adds of Barcelona province generally at that time: “Laces and blondes constitute the employment of[171] women and children. The work is principally done at Pineda, Malgrat, San Celoni, Tosa, Canet, Arenys, Callela, San-Pol, Mataró, Esparraguera, Martorell, and Barcelona…. The laces are almost all shipped for the New World.”

The most observant and most entertaining of all these tourists was Arthur Young, who wrote, in 1787, of the towns upon the coast of Cataluña: “The appearance of industry is as great as it can be: great numbers of fishing-boats and nets, with rows of good white houses on the sea-side; and while the men are active in their fisheries, the women are equally busy making lace.” Of Mataró he says: “It appears exceedingly industrious; some stocking-frames; lace-makers at every door…. I am sorry to add that here also the industry of catching lice in each other's heads is well understood.

“Pass Arrengs (Arenys), a large town … making thread lace universal here. They have thread from France; women earn ten to sixteen sous at it. Great industry, and in consequence a flourishing appearance. Canet, another large town, employed also in ship-building, fishing, and making lace…. Pass Malgrat, which is not so well built as the other towns, but much lace[172] made in it…. Reach Figueras, whose inhabitants seem industrious and active. They make lace, cordage, and mats, and have many potteries of a common sort.”[58]

Lace-making prevails to-day all through this region of north-eastern Spain, particularly in the strip or zone of it including the valley of the Llobregat as far as Martorell, and which extends from Palamós to Barcelona. The towns which produce the greatest quantities of lace are Arenys de Mar, Malgrat, San Pol, Canet, and Arenys de Munt. In the last of these places an important Regional Exhibition of Lace was held in July of last year, the number of exhibitors amounting to one hundred and twenty-five. Due to the increasing production of underlinen and woven fabrics generally, or to other causes, lace-making has declined at Blanes, Pineda, Calella, and one or two other places. At San Celoni, Vallgorguina, San Vicente, San Andrés de Llevaneras, Argentona, Caldeta, and San Acisclo de Vilalta, lace is made by women who combine this work with dirtier and rougher labour in the field. Most of the lace made in these towns is therefore black.

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In the spring of last year, an elaborate lace[173] pocket-handkerchief (Plate xxx.), designed by Señor Riquer, and executed in a traditional style of Cataluña, denominated locally the ret Catalá, was made in the old-established lace-factory of the widow of Mariano Castells in the town of Arenys de Mar, and offered by the Agricultural Institute of San Isidro as a wedding-present to Princess Ena of Battenberg. Two encajeras worked at this handkerchief under the personal direction of the widow Castells, and the time employed by them in making it was two months.

Plate xxxi. represents a small portion of a very original and beautiful lace curtain, ten feet high, designed by Señor Aguado, and executed, partly by Señorita Pilar Huguet (who superintended the work throughout), and partly by seventeen of this lady's pupils, at the School of Arts and Industries, Toledo. Although it is a hackneyed trope to declare that the ornamentation of the Spanish-Moors, whether in ivory, wood or metal, stone or plaster, was “delicate enough to seem of lacework,” I believe this to be the first occasion when such intricate and graceful motives have been actually reproduced in lace. The result of the experiment has proved surprisingly effective. The design is Spanish-Arabic[174] in its purest form, recalling various arabesques upon the walls of the Alhambra, and includes thirty-three medallions which constitute the principal decorative scheme, a hundred and forty-eight palms or alharacas, and the Arabic expression “God is all-powerful,” repeated sixty-six times. The centre of the curtain consists in all of four hundred and forty-eight pieces. The broad cenefa or bordering, which runs right round the whole, contains, in Arabic, the following inscription: “This curtain was begun in the curso (course or series of classes) of the year 1903–1904, and terminated in the curso following, (Art) School of Toledo.” The style adopted throughout is that of Brussels, known erroneously as English point, although upon a coarser scale than is considered to be proper to this lace, the ground being executed by the needle, or in point-work, and the rest by bobbins.

Plate xxxii. represents a covering for a fan, also executed by Señorita Huguet, and also in the Brussels style. The design is a combination of Mudejar motives, such as conventional foliage and geometrical bordering, with a Spanish scutcheon and the double-headed eagle of the Emperor Charles the Fifth.

At the present day, and largely owing to the[175] initiative and the skilled tuition of Señor Salvi, excellent lace is manufactured at Madrid, including reproductions—which have been generally admired in Great Britain and elsewhere—of the finest point or bobbin work of Malines, Manchester, and Venice.


[53] Upon the other hand, a notice dated 1562 says that at that time Spanish-made black lace was largely used at the Court of England.

[54] “Pour les femmes, elles ne sortent point qu'emmantelées d'une mante noire comme le deüil des dames de France, et elles ne se montrent qu'un œuil, et vont cherchant et agaçant les hommes avec tant d'effronterie, qu'elles tiennent à affront quand on ne veut pas aller plus loin que la conversation.”—Bertaut de Rouen; Journal du Voyage d'Espagne, p. 294.

[55] Blonde, I need hardly state, is silk-lace. It can always be distinguished by the glossy surface.

[56] This is incorrect. It was sometimes worn longer.

[57] A letter from Vargas y Ponce to Cean Bermudez, dated 1797, says that in this year there existed at Murcia a school for making blondes, owned by one Castilla. “He does good work, teaches well, and has executed blondes for the Queen, which are well spoken of.”

[58] Tour in Catalonia in 1787; Vol. I., p. 644, etc.






Towards the year a.d. 707, when Witiza was king of Spain, there dwelt at the castle of Goñi, not far from the city of Pamplona in Navarre, a cavalier named Don Theodosio, whose wife, Doña Constanza de Viandra, was a lady of remarkable beauty. On one occasion Don Theodosio found himself obliged to quit his native country for a time, in order to command a military expedition against the Berbers, and before his departure he begged his father and mother to cheer his wife's loneliness while he should be away, by taking up their residence at his castle. They came accordingly, and as a special mark of honour to the parents of her lord, Doña Constanza gave up to them her own chamber, together with the nuptial couch. After a time, when Theodosio's enterprise was concluded, and the warrior, safe and sound, was returning to Navarre, the Devil, disguised as a hermit, one evening lay in wait for him at a spot called Errotavidea, situated at a few miles' distance from Goñi castle, in the wooded and romantic valley of the Ollo. Stepping up to the cavalier's side, Satan assured him, in a[180] tone of smooth hypocrisy, that during his absence the lady Constanza had been seduced by one of Theodosio's own servants. Upon the knight's demanding proof, “proceed,” replied the Devil, “to your castle, enter your nuptial chamber, and there you will find your consort in the very arms of her paramour.” Frantic with apprehension, the warrior spurred home, broke into his chamber at the dead of night, and, passing his hand over the bed, encountered, as Satan had malignantly foretold, two bodies; whereupon he drew his sword and, in this moment of fatal and irreflective haste, murdered his own father and mother. Then, just as he was rushing from the room, he met, carrying a lighted lamp, the lady Constanza herself, returning from the chapel in which, as was her custom every night, she had been praying for his safe return.

Smitten with deep repentance for the crime, whose enormity had been discovered by the impetuous lord in so dramatic and dreadful a fashion, Theodosio journeyed to Rome, and related what had happened to the Pope, who sentenced him to wear a heavy iron collar round his neck, and chains about his body, and to wander, in a state of rigorous penance, through the loneliest regions of Navarre, without setting foot in any town, until, as a sign that divine justice was satisfied, the chains should fall from off him. Wherever this should come to pass, he was instructed to build a temple in honour of the archangel Michael.

The sentence was patiently performed, and Theodosio had spent some years in solitary wandering, when on[181] a day a single link dropped from his ponderous chains. This happened on the top of a high mountain called Ayedo, in the Sierra de Andía, and accordingly the penitent erected on the spot a simple fane in the archangel's honour, known by the name of San Miguel de Ayedo, and which, in the form of a little hermitage, still exists.

This proof of heavenly grace presaged a further and a more complete deliverance. When Theodosio's wandering had lasted seven years, he reached one day the summit of Mount Aralar, at two leagues' distance from his own castle, and was there met by a ferocious dragon of appalling size. Being, as a penitent, unarmed, as well as encumbered by his massive chains, the miserable man fell helpless to his knees, and called to God to succour him. The prayer was heard. Suddenly the form of his patron the archangel flashed out against the sky, the dragon fell dead, and all of Theodosio's chains were shattered, and dropped from him. Here, therefore, he built another and a larger temple in honour of his guardian, and, accompanied by Doña Constanza, passed the remainder of his life in peaceful and secluded piety.

The castle of Goñi, which was also called “Saint Michael's palace,” and “the palace of the cavalier to whom Saint Michael revealed himself,” was standing as late as the year 1685, but, according to Padre Burgui, by the close of another century the walls were crumbling fast. Until about the year 1715 there also stood an ancient wooden cross to mark the spot where Satan, in a hermit's garb, had appeared to Don Theodosio.




In former times the art of carving jet was largely practised at this town. The characteristic form was the signaculum or image of Saint James; that is, a more or less uncouth representation of the apostle in full pilgrim's dress. The height of these images, which are now dispersed all over Europe, varies between four and seven inches. They are fully described in Drury Fortnum's monographs, On a signaculum of Saint James of Compostela, and Notes on other signacula of Saint James of Compostela, as well as in Villa-amil y Castro's La azabachería compostelana. These objects were sold in quantities to the pilgrims visiting Santiago, who nevertheless were often cheated by the substitution of black glass for jet.[59]

Specimens of this work are in the British and Cluny[183] Museums, and in the Archæological Museum at Madrid. An interesting jet figure of the apostle on horseback belonged to the late Count of Valencia de Don Juan. Jet processional crosses (twelfth and thirteenth century), studded with enamel, and which were used at funerals, are preserved in the cathedrals of Oviedo and Orense. Rings, rosaries, and amulets were also carved from this material.

As to Spanish processional crosses generally (the use of which was undoubtedly borrowed from the standard borne at the head of pagan armies), I may say that they are commonly fitted with a handle, called the cruz baja or “lower cross,” though sometimes this handle is dispensed with, as, for instance, at the funerals of infants. According to Villa-amil y Castro, the typical shape of the Spanish processional cross has always been that denominated the immissa, consisting of four arms terminating in straight edges. The same authority says that within this broader definition the primitive form was the Greek cross, that is, having four arms of equal length. Another early form was the “Oviedo” cross (see Vol. I., Plate II.), with the four arms in the shape of trapezia, united at the centre by a disc. Of this latter shape are, or were, the crosses of Guarrazar and those which were presented by Alfonso the Second and Alfonso the Third to the cathedrals of Oviedo and Santiago.

A later form was the potenzada cross, which had a[184] cross-piece fixed at the extremity of each arm. As time advanced, this T-shaped termination to the arms assumed such decorative and capricious forms as the trefoil and the fleur-de-lis. Early in the history of the Spanish church the processional cross consisted often of a wooden core, covered with more or less profusely ornamented silver plates, and having, between the handle and the upper part, an enamelled bulb or nœud. The image of Christ, converting the cross into the crucifix, was not attached until a later period, because, as Villa-amil y Castro has remarked, the primitive Christians considered the essential glory of their faith, rather than, as yet, the perils and the pains to which they were exposed by clinging to that faith. The cross was thus the symbol of the Christian's glory; the crucifix, of his suffering.[60]




The custodia of Seville cathedral is described by its author, Juan de Arfe, in the following terms:—

The shape is circular, with projecting friezes and bases. The custodia is four yards high, and is divided into four orders of symmetrical proportions, the second order being smaller by two-fifths than the first, the third smaller by the same fraction than the second, and the fourth than the third. Each order rests upon four-and-twenty columns, twelve of which are of a larger size, and wrought in relief. The other and the smaller twelve are striated, and serve as imposts to the arches. All these orders are of open work, containing twelve vistas (prospects) apiece. Six are of full dimensions, and the other six spring from half-way up the larger ones, as is shown in the appended design, which I will not explain further, as the proportion and harmony can be judged of from the plan (see Vol. I., Plate xvii.).



The first order is in the Ionic style. The columns and frieze are adorned with vines containing fruits and foliage, and some figures of children holding spikes of wheat, to signify bread and wine. In the centre of this, the largest order, is Faith, represented by the figure of a queen, seated on a throne, holding in her right hand a chalice with the host, and in the other a standard such as is seen in certain ancient medals of the emperors Constantine and Theodosius. Beneath her feet is a world, and behind her, overthrown and bound with chains, a monster with the face of a beautiful woman and the trunk or body of a dragon, to represent Heresy, which seems to attract by pleasantness of shape, being at bottom poison and deceit.

At one side is the figure of a youth with wings, and a bandage over his eyes, representing Intelligence. His hands are shackled, and he is kneeling, as one that surrenders himself captive to Faith in all her mysteries, and particularly in this one.

Corresponding to this figure, on the opposite side, is that of a beautiful woman, likewise kneeling, crossing her hands before her breast, and holding a book, to represent Human Wisdom, which acknowledges the majesty of the Catholic Faith, and is subservient thereto.

On the right hand of Faith is Saint Peter, seated, holding his keys on high, and on her left Saint Paul, with naked sword, that is, the preaching of the word of[187] God. High up, about the spring of the vault, is the figure of the Holy Spirit, assistant in the church.

Between the six asientos of the base are the four doctors of the Church, together with Saint Thomas and Pope Urban the Fourth, who instituted the festival of the Holy Sacrament.

All these figures are half a yard in height; that is, one half the height of the larger columns belonging to this order.

In the six niches that are between the arches, are the figures of six Sacraments, in this wise:—

(1) Baptism, represented by the figure of a youth holding in one hand a bunch of lilies, signifying purity and innocence, and in the other a beautiful vessel, showing the act of washing the soul, that is the particular virtue of this Sacrament. Over the arch is a scroll containing the word BAPTISMUS.

(2) Confirmation is a damsel of spirited mien, armed with a helmet. In one hand she has some vessels of holy oil. Her other hand is raised, while with the index finger she expresses firm determination to confess the name of Christ. Inscribed upon her is the word CONFIRMATIO.

(3) Penitence holds in her right hand a wand, denoting spiritual jurisdiction, like the wand wherewith they smite the excommunicated at his absolution. In her left hand is a Roman javelin, that was the symbol of liberty, to signify the free estate of the captive's soul, and how, through absolution, sin is made a slave; together with the word PŒNITENTIA.

(4) Extreme Unction is represented by an aged[188] woman, holding a vase whence issueth an olive bough, and in her other hand a candle, as token that this Sacrament is a succour to those that be in the last agony. The word inscribed is UNCTIO.

(5) Order is a priest with his vestments, holding an incensory, together with a chalice and the host, signifying Oration and Sacrifice. The word inscribed is ORDO.

(6) Matrimony is the figure of a youth, holding in one hand a cross with two serpents twined about it, in imitation of Mercury's wand. In his other hand he bears a yoke, and the inscription MATRIMONIUM.

The Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, as being most excellent of all, occupies a loftier place than all these other Sacraments.

The basement of this order, forming, as it were, a boundary and bordering to this holy edifice of the Church, has twelve pedestals beneath the columns, making six and thirty sides, which are adorned with six and thirty scenes, eighteen whereof are taken from the Old Testament, and the other eighteen from the New Testament, or relating to the present state of the Church.

(1) The first scene represents how God formed Eve from one of Adam's ribs. An inscription at the foot of the pedestal says, Humani generis auspicia.

(2) Next to the preceding is an image of our Saviour with two angels supporting him by the arms, while from his wounded side issue seven rays of blood, signifying[189] the Church and Sacraments. The inscription says, Felicior propagatio.

(3) The tree of Life, with Adam and Eve partaking of its fruit, and the inscription, Perituræ gaudia vitæ.

(4) A cross adorned with branches and with blades of wheat, surmounted by a chalice and the host, and round about it a few prostrate figures, eating this holy fruit, and the inscription, Vitæ melioris origo.

(5) The angel with the flaming sword, driving our fathers from Paradise, without suffering them to reach the tree of Life. The inscription says, Procul, procul esse prophani.

(6) The parable of the banquet, from which was driven out the man that had no wedding garment. The inscription says, Non licet sanctum dare canibus.

(7) The stream of water that issued from the rock smitten by the rod of Moses, and the thirsty people, drinking. The inscription says, Bibebant de spirituali petra.

(8) Beside the preceding, the figure of Christ, from whose side issues a stream of blood, of which some sheep are drinking. The inscription says, Petra autem erat Christus.

(9) The manna which fell from Heaven. The inscription says, Manducaverunt et mortui sunt.

(10) The miracle of the five loaves, with the inscription, Qui manducat vivit in æternum.

(11) The raven bringing bread and meat to Elijah. The inscription says, Non turpat dona minister.

(12) Next to this, an angel conveying a chalice and[190] the host to the saints in the desert, with the inscription, Sacerdos Angelus Domini est.

(13) Elisha throwing flour in the pot to sweeten the bitterness of the colocynth. The inscription says, Vitæ solamen acerbæ.

(14) Christ turning the water into wine, with the inscription, Vertit tristes in gaudia curas.

(15) Tobias frightening away the Devil with the smoke from the liver of a fish. The inscription says, Fumum fugit atra caterva.

(16) Devils flying from an altar containing a chalice and the host, with the inscription, Fugiunt phantasmata lucem.

(17) Lot inebriated, sleeping with his daughters. The inscription says, De vinea sodomorum vinum eorum.

(18) A group of virgins prostrating themselves before the Sacrament upon the altar, with the inscription, Hoc vinum virgines germinat.

(19) Abraham harbouring the angels and washing their feet. The inscription says, Non licet illotos accedere.

(20) Christ washing the feet of his disciples before a table. The inscription says, Auferte malum cogitationum vestrarum.

(21) The supper of the paschal lamb, with the inscription, Antiqua novis misteria cedunt.

(22) The supper of Christ, with the inscription, Melioris fercula mensæ.

(23) The throne of God, before which stands the prophet Isaiah, and an angel whose mouth is smitten by[191] a lighted brand. The inscription says, Purgavit filios Levi.

(24) A priest before an altar, in his robes, administering the communion to the Christian people. The inscription says, Probet se ipsum homo.

(25) Elijah reclining in the shade of the tree, with an angel bringing him bread and a vessel. The inscription says, In pace in idipsum.

(26) A sick man in his bed, with a priest administering the Sacrament to him. The inscription says, Dormiam et requiescam.

(27) Habbakuk borne by the angels to the den of lions, to carry food to Daniel. The inscription says, Adjutor in opportunitatibus.

(28) An angel with a chalice and the host, which he administers to the souls in Purgatory. The inscription says, Emissit vinctos de lacu.

(29) Noah sleeping beneath the vine, holding a vessel, with his sons gathered about him. The inscription says, Humanæ ebrietatis ludibria.

(30) Christ with a chalice in his hand, and angels round him, holding clusters of grapes, and a cross surrounded with a vine. The inscription says, Calix ejus inebrians quant præclarus est.

(31) A queen adorned profanely, crowned with a snake. She holds a vessel in her hand, and rides upon a dragon with seven heads, some of which are drooping, as though they were inebriated. The inscription says, Hæreticæ impietatis ebrietas.

(32) The figure of a virtuous lady wearing a royal[192] crown. She holds a chalice in her hand, and rides in a car borne by the figures of the four evangelists. The inscription says, Ecclesiæ Catholicæ veritas.

(33) The table with the loaves of propitiation, before the tabernacle, with Moses and Aaron standing beside it, and the inscription, Umbram fugit veritas.

(34) A custodia, with a chalice and the host, borne by angels. The inscription says, Ecce panis angelorum.

(35) David and his soldiers, who receive bread from the priest's hand. The inscription says, Absit mens conscia culpæ.

(36) A priest, administering the Sacrament to two persons, each of whom has an angel beside him. The inscription says, Sancta sanctis.

And since all Sacraments have virtue and efficacy from the passion of Christ our Saviour, which passion is perpetually commemorated by this holiest of Sacraments, I placed upon the summit of the twelve columns belonging to this order twelve child-angels, naked, bearing the signs and instruments of the Passion, as voices to announce this sacred mystery.

On the tympanums of the arches are angels bearing grapes and ears of wheat, and in the middle of the six sides of the frieze are graven, upon some ovals, the following images and devices, the inscription corresponding to them being on the largest scroll of the architrave.

(1) A garland of vine-tendrils and ears of wheat, and in the midst thereof an open pomegranate, signifying, by[193] the number and cohesion of its grains, the Church, guarded within the fortress of this holiest of Sacraments. The inscription says, Posuit fines tuos pacem.

(2) A hand among clouds, extended over a nest of young ravens that have their beaks open and raised, with the inscription Quanto magis vos. This signifies, that the Lord who taketh care to sustain the infidels and pagans, taketh also especial care to sustain His Church with abundance of this celestial food.

(3) A fair stalk of wheat, whence issue seven ears of great fatness, with the inscription, Sempiterna satietas; showing that, not as in the seven years in Egypt, but for ever, shall spiritual abundance abide in the Church of Christ, owing to this holy table of His body and His blood.

(4) A stork upon a nest woven of wheat-ears and vine-tendrils, with the inscription, Pietas incomparabilis. Showing the piety and fatherly love that God affordeth to us in this Sacrament.

(5) A hare smelling at a bough and some ears of wheat, with the inscription, Vani sunt sensus hominis. The hare signifies the senses, which are deceived by the appearance of the bread and wine, unless they be fortified by faith.

(6) A hand bearing a wand, the end whereof is turning to a serpent, with this inscription, Hic vita, hic mors; because this Sacrament is the judgment and condemnation of all that receive it unworthily, but life for such as receive it with a clean spirit. The device has reference to the rod of Moses, that gave health to the people of Israel, affording them a passage through the midst of[194] the sea, and making streams of sweet water to gush from the rock, but that was ruinous to the Egyptians, causing among them terrible sickness and destruction.


The second order is in the Corinthian style, the columns and frieze adorned with foliage in the upper and lower thirds, and the other one with fluted columns. This order contains the Holy Sacrament in a circular viril ornamented at its ends. Round it are the four evangelists with the figures of the lion, bull, eagle, and angel, adorning the majesty of the Lord that is within the Sacrament, whereof they gave true testimony, according to these words upon a tablet which each one holdeth in his hand:—

Saint Matthew, Hoc est corpus meum. Saint Mark, Hic est sanguis meus. Saint John, Caro mea vere est cibus. Saint Luke, Hic est calix novi testamenti.

On the outside are placed these figures, in pairs:—Saint Justa and Saint Rufina, patron saints of Seville; San Isidro and San Leandro, archbishops of the same city; San Hermenegildo and San Sebastian; San Servando and San Germano, martyrs; San Laureano, archbishop of Seville, and San Carpóforo, priest; Saint Clement, pope, and Saint Florence, martyr.

On the six running pedestals of the columns of this order are six scenes or figures of ancient sacrifices,[195] symbolic of this holiest sacrifice of the Eucharist, as showing how this one is the consummation and perfection of all sacrifices, and that the light thereof dispersed the shadows of the others. And these be in the following wise:—

(1) The sacrifice of Abel.

(2) That of Noah, on his leaving the ark.

(3) That of Melchisidech.

(4) That of Abraham, when he sought to sacrifice Isaac.

(5) That of the lamb which was found in the thornbush and placed upon the altar.

(6) Solomon's sacrifice at his dedication of the temple.

On the tops of these columns are twelve figures representing the twelve gifts and fruits of this most holy Sacrament, as they are told of by Saint Thomas in his treatise on this mystery:—

(1) The conquest of the Devil, represented by a maiden beautified and adorned with a palm and a cross. The inscription on the pedestal says, Fuga dæmonis.

(2) Spiritual cheerfulness and delight, in the form of another maiden, holding a wand wreathed with boughs and tendrils of the vine, and in her other hand some ears of wheat. The inscription says, Hilaritas.

(3) Purity of soul, represented by a heart among flames, suspended over a crucible. The inscription, Puritas.

(4) Self-knowledge, represented by a figure of Reason,[196] holding in one hand a mirror, in which she regards herself, and in the other hand a leafy bough. The inscription says, Cognitio sui.

(5) Peace, and the appeasing of the wrath of God, represented by a figure holding in one hand an olive bough, and in the other a cornucopia filled with grapes and wheat. The inscription, Reconciliatio.

(6) Inward quiet and control of the affections, represented by a figure holding some poppies in one hand, and in the other a lamp, the lower wick of which is being extinguished. The inscription says, Animi qui est.

(7) Charity, and profound love for God and for our neighbours, represented by a figure holding in one hand a lighted heart that has two wings, and with the other pouring from a cornucopia. The inscription says, Charitas.

(8) Increase of true worth, represented by a figure holding in one hand a bough of mustard, that is wont to grow and multiply exceedingly from a tiny grain, and in the other hand a half-moon, receiving greater brightness as it waxes. The inscription says, Meritorum multiplicatio.

(9) Firmness and constancy in well-doing, represented by the figure of a woman holding an anchor in one hand, and in the other a palm. The inscription says, Constantia.

(10) The hope that guides us to our celestial home, represented by a figure holding in one hand a bunch of flowers (denoting the hope of the fruit that is to come), and in the other hand a star, as one that guideth to a haven. The inscription, Deductio in patriam.

(11) Resurrection, represented by the figure of a beautiful[197] woman, holding in one hand a snake, and in the other an eagle; creatures that renew themselves by casting off the slough of their old age. The inscription says, Resurrectio.

(12) Life Eternal, represented by a figure holding a palm in one hand, and a crown in the other. The inscription says, Vita æterna.

The devices contained in this order, and in the middle of the frieze, are as follows:—

(1) A bunch of grapes upon a wand, surrounded with ears of wheat. The inscription says, Cœlestis patriæ specimen. This signifies that, as the great bunch of grapes that was borne by Joshua and Caleb on their shoulders was a token of the fertile land of promise, so the greatness and the sweetness of this admirable Sacrament, which is afforded to us in the guise of bread and wine, is the living sign and earnest of the abundance reigning in the kingdom of the blessed.

(2) A hand extending the index-finger, pointing to a chalice and the host, with the inscription, Digitus Dei hic est. This means that the miracle of this holiest of Sacraments is the work of the eternal wisdom, that cannot be attained by any wisdom of us humans.

(3) A rainbow, and above it a chalice with the host, and the inscription, Signum fœderis sempiterni. Signifying, that as in the olden time God vouchsafed the rainbow to Noah in sign of friendship and alliance, so does He now vouchsafe His own flesh and blood as a true and effective token of His lasting association with mankind.

(4) Two rays, crossed, and in their midst an olive[198] bough, with the inscription, Recordabor fœderis mei vobiscum. These are the words that were spoken by God to Noah, when He made the said alliance with him, giving to understand the clemency wherewith God treateth mankind in the lesson of this divinest Sacrament, forgetting their errors, and establishing perpetual peace and amity with them.

(5) The pelican feeding her young with the life-blood issuing from her breast. The inscription says, Majorem charitatem nemo habet.

(6) A dead lion, from whose mouth issueth a swarm of bees, with the inscription, De forti dulcedo. Giving to understand, that as from the mouth of so brave a creature there issued a substance so sweet as honey, so did the God of vengeance, the brave Lion of the tribe of Judah, concert such love and peace with man, that He offered His very body for man's food.


The rest of the third order, as far as the summit of the custodia, represents the Church triumphant: wherefore was placed in the midst of this order (which is in the composite style) the history of the Lamb that is upon the throne, and round about it the four beasts that are full of eyes, as the Apocalypse relateth.

Upon the six continuous pedestals of the columns of this order are graved the following six scenes:—

(1) The saints who wash their stoles in the blood that[199] issues from the Lamb, as is told in the Apocalypse.

(2) God the Father, with a sickle in His hand, and angels gathering grapes in the vat, and corn in the granary, after winnowing out the chaff; signifying the reward accorded unto men in sowing, and in the harvest of the vine.

(3) The saints in joyful procession, each with his sheaf of wheat.

(4) The virgins, crowned with vine-tendrils and ears of wheat, that follow the Lamb.

(5) The five prudent virgins, that with their lighted lamps go in to the feast of the Bridegroom.

(6) The banquet of the blessed.

Between the arches of this order are the six hieroglyphs following, with their inscriptions above, upon tablets.

(1) A burning phœnix, with the inscription, Instauratio generis humani.

(2) Two cornucopias crossed, with a cross in their midst. The cornucopias are full of vine-tendrils and ears of wheat. The inscription says, Felicitas humani generis.

(3) A kingfisher brooding over her young in a nest of vine-tendrils and blades of wheat, with the inscription, Tranquillitas immutabilis. This signifies the calm state of the blessed, whereof a token is the nest of the kingfisher, which bird, when it crosses the water, causes all storms to cease.

(4) A car with flames, rising to heaven, with the[200] inscription, Sic itur ad astra. Signifying that this divinest Sacrament is the harbinger of those that travel heavenward, in that Elijah was so swept away, after God had sent him bread by the angel and the raven.

(5) Two dolphins, whose tails are crossed, and in the middle a chalice and the host, with the inscription, Delitiæ generis humani. By this device is signified the love and the delight bestowed by God on men by means of this Sacrament.

(6) An altar adorned with festoons of vine-tendrils and blades of wheat, with flames upon it, and bearing the inscription, Æternum sacrificium.


In this order is represented the Holy Trinity upon a rainbow, surrounded by many rays of splendour, and in the fifth order is a bell, surmounted by a simple cross.

Thus are all the parts of the custodia adorned with the foregoing beautiful decoration, having regard to their proportions and their symmetry, according to the rules of good architecture, and to the movements and position of the statuary, designed after nature, as was prescribed by the inventor of histories. “Et in his omnibus sensum matris Ecclesiæ sequimur, cujus etiam juditium reveremur.

Such is the description, written by Arfe himself, of this wonderful masterpiece of silver-work. Unfortunately, since his time the custodia has been much meddled with by profane hands, and has been subjected to[201] various impertinent “restorations” and “improvements.” Thus, the original statuette of Faith, seated on her throne, has been replaced by another of the Virgin, and the twelve child-angels, holding the instruments of the passion, by the same number of figures of a larger size and far inferior workmanship. Further, some simple pyramids which crowned the fourth order were foolishly replaced by badly executed statuettes of children, and the Egyptian obelisk, resting on four small spheres, which surmounted the whole custodia, by an unwieldy statue representing the Catholic Faith.

Description of the Custodia of Cordova Cathedral
(From Córdoba, by Pedro de Madrazo)

As I have stated in Vol. I., p. 98, the author of this custodia was Enrique de Arfe, Juan de Arfe's grandfather. “The base, supported on small wheels placed in the interior, is in the form of a regular dodecagon, each side of which measures a foot. On the twelve-sided plate which forms the base and which has well executed heads of seraphs at each corner, is an order consisting of three tiers. The first, which has projecting and receding angles, leaves, about six sides of the dodecagon, a free space for the handles by which the custodia is raised. The first tier forms a kind of socle with six buttresses, on the surface of which are represented allegorical scenes, alternated in rows with graceful designs in relief,[202] grotesque and pastoral dances, and scenes from Bible history relative to the carriage of the Tabernacle. This tier is surmounted by a gilded balustrade of elegant design. The bas-reliefs are wrought alternately in gold and silver.

“The second tier is formed by a small socle, crowned by a band of leaves and diminutive figures. Over this is a gilded balustrade, and finally another and a broader frieze containing gilded figures, together with delicate foliage wrought in dull silver. This second tier grows gradually narrower, and sustains the third, whose base projects, serving as cornice to the frieze of the tier below, and decorated with a gilded balustrade. Upon it rises a mass or body with twelve sides, following the same arrangement of projecting and receding angles as the lower tiers. In each of its receding spaces this order contains three compartments, and in each of its salient faces it has a small tower or buttress, which springs from the base and rests upon a delicate plinth carved with a gilded ornamental band. Thus, the order we are describing has six salient faces behind the six towers or buttresses, and six spaces containing three open compartments. In these compartments, separated one from another by diminutive buttresses with delicate pinnacles, there is the same number of sunken spaces, one inch deep, on which are represented, in high relief, scenes of the life and passion of our Lord. The figures, admirably executed, are two inches high. Above this order is a projecting cornice, decorated along its lower part with a band of dull silver. It should be noted, that[203] as the custodia narrows gradually as it rises, the receding spaces grow proportionally larger, thus affording room for the spacious inner order on which is raised the viril. This order is formed by a crystal cylinder (containing the host) resting on a base which is also cylindrical, the lower part of which is decorated with a broad hexagonal band, narrower at the top than at the bottom, and wrought with delicate foliage and figures, as are the bands which lie beneath it. Above the transparent cylinder enclosing the viril rises a Gothic vault, drooping over in the manner of a plume, and resting on the buttresses which fill the projecting spaces on the base of the principal order. These buttresses have a similar arrangement to, and coincide with, the other ones which spring from the base of the third tier of the first order, and are joined one to another by means of fine cross-buttresses surmounted by statuettes. The circular vault which holds the crystal cylinder containing the viril, and which resembles that of the rotunda dedicated as a sepulchral chapel by the emperor Constantine to the memory of his daughter, saint Constance, supports other and finer buttresses, alternated with those beneath; but instead of rising from the salient spaces of the base, these rise from the receding spaces and support another vault, of smooth open-work, beneath which is a graceful statuette of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. Over this vault is a kind of open-work dome, consisting of an effective series of pinnacles and buttresses in the shape of segments of a circle, which bridge over the summits of the pinnacles. Upon the[204] dome is a crown surmounted by a statuette of Christ triumphant, with the cross. The two vaults—that which encloses the viril, and the other one above it, enclosing the image of the Virgin—are masked on the outside by arches of elegant design, crowned by an elaborate balustrade. The turrets or buttresses which rise upon the lowest and the principal orders are decorated with numerous statuettes, resting on plinths of exquisite design, covered by open-work canopies.

“This masterpiece of art is made of gold, and polished and unpolished silver. The weight is 532 marks…. Unfortunately, it lacks its original purity of style, having been restored in the year 1735, when it is probable that certain details were added which now disfigure it.”




This was the most elaborate and costly crown that had ever been produced in Spain for decorating an image of the Virgin. The following is a sketch of it:—


Before it was enlarged to the imperial shape, this crown[206] was executed by a silversmith named Fernando de Carrión, who finished it in the year 1556, and was paid for his labour 760,000 maravedis. It then consisted of a gold diadem adorned with rows of pearls, emeralds, rubies, and enamelled devices of various colours, in the style of the Renaissance.

The superstructure, which converts it into what is known as an imperial crown, was added by Alejo de Montoya, another silversmith of Toledo, who began it in 1574, and completed it twelve years later. The addition consisted of a number of gold statuettes of angels, covered with enamel, measuring in height from two inches to two and a half, distributed in pairs, and supporting decorative devices attached to the body of the crown. From behind these angels sprang gold bands thickly studded with precious stones, and terminating towards their union at the apex of the crown in seated allegorical figures grouped about a globe surmounted by a cross. This globe consisted of a single emerald, clear, perfect both in colour and in shape, and measuring an inch and a half in diameter. The inside of the hoop was covered with enamels representing emblems of the Virgin, disposed in a series of medallions, and the dimensions of the entire crown were eleven inches high by nine across the widest part.

The crown was examined and reported upon by two goldsmiths of Madrid, who declared it to contain the following precious stones:—


Two balas rubies, valued at 150,000 maravedis
Twelve rubies, valued at 403,528 maravedis
Twelve emeralds, 237,500
Fifty-seven diamonds, 555,396
One hundred and eighty-two pearls, 397,838

The precious stones were thus valued at a total of 1,744,262 maravedis. Besides this, the value of the gold and silver contained in the crown was estimated to amount to 405,227 maravedis, while 3,097,750 maravedis were allowed for the workmanship. These figures relate to the part which was made by Alejo de Montoya only. That which had previously been executed by Fernando de Carrión was valued at 1,954,156 maravedis, making a grand total, for the whole jewel, of 7,201,395 maravedis. At the present day the intrinsic value of the crown would be from nine to ten thousand pounds sterling.

In 1869 this splendid specimen of Renaissance jewellery was stolen from a cupboard in the cathedral of Toledo, sharing thus the fate of many other precious objects which have been entrusted to the slender vigilance or slender probity of Spanish church authorities.




The inlaying of iron or steel with gold is often thought to be a craft particularly Spanish, and to have been inherited directly by the Spanish Christians from the Spanish Moors. This work, however, although we may assume it to have been of Eastern origin in a period of remote antiquity, was quite familiar to the ancient Romans, including, probably, such as made their home in Spain. The Memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini contain the following notice of the work in question:—

“I met with some little Turkish daggers, the handles of which were of iron as well as the blade, and even the scabbard was of that metal. On these were engraved several fine foliages in the Turkish taste, most beautifully filled up with gold. I found I had a strong inclination to cultivate this branch likewise, which was so different from the rest; and finding that I had great success in it, I produced several pieces in this way. My performances, indeed, were much finer and more durable than the Turkish, for several reasons: one was, that I made a much deeper incision in the steel than is generally[209] practised in Turkish works; the other, that their foliages are nothing else but chicory leaves, with some few flowers of echites: these have, perhaps, some grace, but they do not continue to please like our foliages. In Italy there is a variety of tastes, and we cut foliages in many different forms. The Lombards make the most beautiful wreaths, representing ivy and vine-leaves, and others of the same sort, with agreeable twinings highly pleasing to the eye. The Romans and the Tuscans have a much better notion in this respect, for they represent acanthus leaves, with all their festoons and flowers, winding in a variety of forms; and amongst these leaves they insert birds and animals of several sorts with great ingenuity and elegance in the arrangement. They likewise have recourse occasionally to wild flowers, such as those called Lions' Mouths, from their peculiar shape, accompanied by other fine inventions of the imagination, which are termed grotesques by the ignorant. These foliages have received that name from the moderns, because they are found in certain caverns in Rome, which in ancient days were chambers, baths, studies, halls, and other places of a like nature. The curious happened to discover them in these subterranean caverns, whose low situation is owing to the raising of the surface of the ground in a series of ages; and as these caverns in Rome are commonly called grottos, they from thence acquired the name of grotesque. But this is not their proper name; for, as the ancients delighted in the composition of chimerical creatures, and gave to the supposed promiscuous breed of animals the appellation of monsters,[210] in like manner artists produced by their foliages monsters of this sort; and that is the proper name for them—not grotesques. In such a taste I made foliages filled up in the manner above mentioned, which were far more elegant and pleasing to the eye than the Turkish works.

“It happened about this time that certain vases were discovered, which appeared to be antique urns filled with ashes. Amongst these were iron rings inlaid with gold, in each of which was set a diminutive shell. Learned antiquarians, upon investigating the nature of these rings, declared their opinion that they were worn as charms by those who desired to behave with steadiness and resolution either in prosperous or adverse fortune.

“I likewise took things of this nature in hand at the request of some gentlemen who were my particular friends, and wrought some of these little rings; but I made them of steel well tempered, and then cut and inlaid with gold, so that they were very beautiful to behold: sometimes for a single ring of this sort I was paid above forty crowns.”




The earliest pulpits of the Spaniards were similar to those of other Christian nations. One of them was the tribuna or tribunal, so called, according to Saint Isidore, “because the minister delivers from it the precepts for a righteous life, wherefore it is a seat or place constructed upon high, in order that all he utters may be heard.” The ambo, too, although it is not mentioned by Saint Isidore, was probably not unknown among the Spaniards.[61] Then there were various desks, such as the analogia, legitoria, or lectra, on which the scriptures were deposited in church, or carried in procession, and from which the latter were read aloud by the priest. Saint Isidore remarks of the analogium; “It is so called because the word is preached therefrom, and because it occupies the highest place.”[62] Ducange, quoting from old authors, remarks in his Glossary that these desks were often adorned with gold and silver plates or precious stones. Thus it[212] is extremely probable that Tarik's celebrated “table” (see Vol. I., pp. 31 et seq.) was merely some elaborate and bejewelled analogium of the Christians; such as was, in fact, the predecessor of the modern lectern or “hand-pulpit.”

According to Amador de los Ríos, sermons in those early times were delivered from the analogium only. Towards the twelfth century, the Isidorian liturgy was abolished in Spain, and the furniture of Spanish temples underwent some change. In the same century and throughout the century following, the Spanish Peninsula was invaded by the Order of Preachers, while, coinciding with, or closely consequent upon, this movement, the primitive ambo was succeeded by the jubé, and wood, as the material of which the pulpit was constructed, by marble, iron, stone, or plaster.

Two Mudejar pulpits of great interest are preserved at Toledo, in the church of Santiago del Arabal (thirteenth century), and in the convent, erected in the reign of Pedro the Cruel, of Santo Domingo el Real. The substance of these ancient objects is a brick and plaster foundation, with panels of the stucco known as obra de yesería, produced from wooden moulds. The pulpit of the church of Santiago is traditionally affirmed to be the one from which, in 1411, Saint Vincent Ferrer delivered a sermon to the Toledan Jews. Whether this be so or not, the date of its construction is undoubtedly the second half of the fourteenth century, or early in the fifteenth. The shape is octagonal—a very common form with Gothic pulpits. It is divided into four cuerpos or[213] orders, including the sounding-board. The decoration, which is chiefly floral, is a combination of the Gothic and the Moorish styles.

The pulpit of Santo Domingo el Real stands in the refectory of that convent. It dates from the same period as the one belonging to the church of Santiago, but unlike this latter, bears no trace of former gilding, painting, or enamelling upon the surface of the stone or plaster. It has three tiers or compartments, and, as in the other pulpit, the decoration consists of leaves and flowers, blended with geometrical patterns and Moorish lacería.

The Moorish mimbar or pulpit of the mosque of Cordova was very wonderful. According to Sentenach, its situation was near the archway leading to the mihrab, and on its desk rested the sacred copy of the Koran which had belonged to the Caliph Othman, and which was stated to be stained with his blood.

This mimbar, sacrificed long years ago to Christian barbarism and neglect, was the richest piece of furniture in all that mighty building, seven years of unremitting labour being exhausted by Al-Hakem's craftsmen in constructing it of the richest and most aromatic woods, inlaid with silver, ivory, gold, and precious stones. Ambrosio de Morales called it “King Almanzor's chair,” describing it quaintly as a four-wheeled car of richly-wrought wood, mounted by means of seven steps. “A few years since,” he adds, “they broke it up, I know not wherefore. So disappeared this relic of an olden time.”




In former times excellent cutlery, such as knives, scissors, daggers, spearheads, and surgical instruments, was made in Spain, at Seville, Albacete, Toledo, Valencia, Pamplona, Ronda, Peñíscola, Guadix, Ripoll, Mora, Olot, and Tolosa. Rico y Sinobas has given an interesting description of the workshop and apparatus of one of these old Spanish cutlers—his graduated set of hammers, weighing from a few ounces to five pounds, his hand-saws, bench-saw, chisels, pincers, files, and drills, his forge, measuring from a yard square to a yard and a half, his two anvils of the toughest iron, the larger with a flat surface of three inches by ten inches, for ordinary work, the smaller terminated by conical points for making the thumb and finger holes of scissors.[63] The method of tempering and forging practised by these cutlers was much the same as that of the Toledo swordsmiths.

Rico y Sinobas also embodied in his essay the[215] following list of cutlers and cutler-armourers, who manufactured knives, penknives, scissors, parts of firearms, or heads and blades for lances, halberds, and the like. The following is a summary of the list in question:—

Name. Date. Worked at
Acacio 17th century He made spearheads and fittings for crossbows.
Aguas, Juan de Early in 18th century Guadix.
Alanis Late 16th century ? Maker of fittings for crossbows.
Albacete Late 18th century Albacete. Scissors-maker.
Ambrosio Late 18th century Mora. Maker of large scissors for sheep-shearing.
Arbell, Ramón 17th century (?) Olot. Knife-maker.
Azcoitia (the elder) Late 15th century and early 16th Guipúzcoa (?). A celebrated maker of pieces for crossbows.
Azcoitia (Cristóbal) 16th century ? Also a maker of pieces for crossbows. He was the fourth descendant of the family who worked at this branch of the cutler's craft.
Azcoitia (Juan) 16th century ? Perhaps a member of the same family. He also made pieces for crossbows.
Beson, Manuel 18th century Madrid. Knife-maker.
Bis, Francisco[216] 18th century Madrid (see Vol. I., p. 273). Maker of knives and arquebuses.
Blanco, Juan 16th century Maker of crossbows, and of pieces for the same.
Castellanos (the elder) 18th century Albacete. Scissors-maker.
Castellanos (the younger) 18th century and early 19th Albacete. Scissors-maker.
Castillo, Gregorio Late 16th century Cataluña (?). Scissors-maker.
Cerda, Miguel de la Late 16th century Madrid and Segovia. He made scissors and other cutlery.
Criado, Juan Early 17th century
Diaz, Pedro Early 18th century Albacete. Scissors-maker.
Escobar, Cristóbal Late 16th century and early 17th Madrid (?). Maker of pieces for crossbows.
Escobar, Juan 17th century Madrid (?). Son of the preceding, and also a maker of pieces for crossbows.
Fernandez Manso de Payba, José Late 18th century Guadalajara. A Portuguese, naturalized in Spain. He was a scissors-maker of considerable fame.
Fuente, Pedro de la Late 15th century or early 16th Madrid (?). Maker of crossbows and their pieces.
García, Domingo Late 17th century Madrid. Arquebus-maker and cutler.
García de la Torre, Teodoro[217] Early 18th century Guadalix and Alcorcón. Cutler. In company with Manuel Beson, he invented a method of converting iron into steel.
Garijo 18th century Albacete. Scissors-maker.
Garro, Martín Early 15th century Pamplona. Cutler and swordsmith. A letter dated October 31st, 1406, records that he was paid five escudos for making a sword, and one escudo for a dagger.
Gomez, Mateo Late 17th century Albacete. Scissors-maker.
Grajeras 17th century Madrid (?). Maker of pieces for crossbows.
Grande, Juan 17th century Madrid (?). Maker of lanceheads.
Gutierrez Late 17th century Chinchilla. Scissors-maker.
Hernandez, Juan 16th century Madrid (?). Maker of pieces for crossbows.
Herraez, Andres Late 16th century Cuenca. Arquebus-maker and cutler.
Herrezuelo (the elder) Late 16th century and early 17th Baeza. Cutler.
Herrezuelo (the younger) Early 17th century Baeza. Scissors-maker.
Horbeira, Angel Late 17th century Madrid. Cutler; a native of Galicia, and reputed to be one of the best craftsmen of his time. He was known as El Borgoñon, and passed his early life in Flanders.
Hortega[218] Early 16th century ? Maker of pieces for crossbows.
Lallabe, Juan de Early 19th century ? Cutler, locksmith, and maker of surgical instruments.
Lastra, Juan 17th century Madrid (?). Maker of pieces for crossbows. He was one for crossbows. He was one of the latest and most celebrated of these craftsmen.
Leon Early 18th century Albacete. Scissors-maker.
Llorens, Pablo Late 17th century Olot. Cutler.
Marcoarte, Simon Late 16th century and early 17th Madrid. Arquebus-maker and cutler. He was the son of another craftsman of the same name, who settled in Spain in the reign of Charles the Fifth (see Vol. I., p. 273).
Martinez, Juan Early 16th century ? Maker of darts and lancesfor crossbows.
Mendoza, Francisco and Manuel Early 18th century Trigueros (Old Castile). Cutlers.
Moreno, Luis Late 15th century Madrid (?). Maker of pieces for crossbows.
Moro, El Late 18th century and early 19th Madrid. Cutler.
Muñoz of Getafe 16th century and early 17th ? Maker of pieces for crossbows.
Óipa, Juan ? Madrid. Maker of crossbows.
Perez de Villadiego, Juan 16th century Madrid (?). Maker of pieces
Perez, Julian[219] Early 17th century Madrid (?). Maker of darts and lances for crossbows.
Puebla (the elder) Early 16th century Madrid. Maker of parts of crossbows.
Ramirez, Juan Late 16th century ? Cutler. He emigrated to the city of Puebla de los Angeles, in Mexico, where he continued to make knives, scissors, and weapons of good quality.
Renedo (the elder) Early 16th century(?) ? Maker of darts and lances for crossbows.
Renedo (the younger) Late 16th century and early 17th ? Son of the preceding. He made the same objects as his father.
Romero Late 18th century Albacete. Scissors-maker.
Rosel ? Mora. Scissors-maker.
San José, Brother Antonio Late 17th century Jaen. Scissors-maker.
Santamaría Late 16th century and early 17th Madrid (?). Maker of pieces for crossbows.
Selva, Juan Late 18th century Cartagena and Madrid. Cutler and iron-founder.
Segura Late 18th century and early 19th Mora. Scissors-maker.
Sierra, Juan 18th century Albacete. Scissors-maker.
Soler, Isidro Late 18th century and early 19th Madrid. Arquebus-maker, cutler, and author of An Historical Essay on making Arquebuses.
Sosa[220] 17th century Madrid (?). Maker of weapons, especially the heads of lances.
Targarona, Francisco Late 18th century Madrid. Arquebus-maker to Charles the Third and Charles the Fourth, and one of the most skilful craftsmen of his day.
Tijerero, El (Domingo Sanchez) ? Toledo. Maker of swords and scissors.
Torres Early 17th century Albacete. Scissors-maker.
Ucedo Late 16th century and perhaps early 17th ? Maker of pieces for crossbows.
V.... 16th century (?) Toledo (?). Scissors-maker. The rest of this craftsman's name is not known.
Valderas, Pedro de 16th century Madrid and Valladolid. Maker of pieces for crossbows.
Vicen-Perez, Pedro Late 17th century Albacete. Scissors-maker.
Vilarasa, Antonio Late 17th century ? Cutler and razor-maker.
Vilarasa, Antonio Late 17th century ? Cutler and razor-maker.
... Emt.., Julian Early 18th century Albacete. Scissors-maker. Only a fragment of his name has been preserved upon a blade. Rico y Sinobas suggests that the entire surname may have been Vicen-Perez.
Zeruantes, Francisco Late 17th century Toledo. Maker of blades for halberds.
Zamora (“the deaf”) Late 16th century and early 17th Castile. Cutler,




The gremios of Spain were copied from the guilds of France and other countries, and may be traced originally to the corpora and collegia of the Romans and Byzantines. The earliest which were formed in the Peninsula were those of Barcelona[64] and Soria, succeeded, not long after, by Valencia, Seville,[65] and Toledo. Prior, however,[222] to the institution of these trade-guilds proper, whose purpose was pre-eminently mercenary,[66] there existed, in the case of several cities, cofradías or religious brotherhoods, that is, associations of a philanthropic character, composed of tradesmen or artificers who pledged themselves to assist each other in poverty or sickness, or to defray the burial expenses of such members as should die without resources.

The formula of admission to a Spanish brotherhood was very quaint in its punctilious and precise severity. A notice of this ceremony, relating to the Cofradía of Saint Eligius, or Silversmiths' Brotherhood of Seville,[67] is quoted[223] by Gestoso from the venerable Regla de Hermandad or statutes of the members, preserved in a codex dating from the first half of the sixteenth century. It was required that the candidate for admission should be a silversmith, married in conformity with the canons of the church, a man well spoken of among his neighbours, and not a recent convert to the Christian faith. The day prescribed for choosing or rejecting him was that which was consecrated to Saint John the Baptist, coinciding with the festival of Saint Eligius or San Loy, “patron and representative” of silversmiths, and who in life had been a silversmith himself. The regulations of the Cofradía decreed the following method of election. “In the chest belonging to the Brotherhood shall be kept a wood or metal vessel with space sufficient to contain some fifty beans or almonds; and the said vessel shall be set in our chapter-room, in a spot where no man is. Each of the brothers that are present shall next be given one of the beans or almonds, and, rising from his seat, arrange his cloak about him so as to conceal his hands, in order that none may witness whether he drops, or does not drop, the almond or the bean into the vessel. Then, with due dissimulation, he shall proceed to where the vessel lies, and if he deem that he who seeks to be admitted as our brother be an honourable man, and such[224] as shall contribute to the lustre of our Brotherhood, then shall he drop in a bean or almond, and return to his seat, still covering his hands with his cloak. But if, upon the contrary, he deem that the said candidate be a sinner, and a riotous fellow and bad Christian, that should prove a source of evil and vexation to our chapter, or that hath wronged another of our brethren, then shall he not cast in the bean or almond, but secretly reserve the same, and once more seat himself. Lastly, when all shall have crossed over to and from the vessel, they shall bear it to the table where the officers sit, and void it in the sight of all the company, and count the beans or almonds; and if the number of these be full, then is it clear that we do receive the other for our Hermano. But if there be a bean or almond wanting, in that a brother hath retained it in his fingers, then shall our Alcaldes speak to this effect. ‘Señores: here wants a bean or almond’ (or two, or any number, as may be). ‘Within eight days from now let him that kept it back present himself to us, or to any one of us, and give account why he that sought admission to our Brotherhood deserves to be rejected.’ And if the brother that kept back the bean or almond should not present himself within the appointed time, then shall the Brotherhood admit the other: but if he appear, and state a lawful cause against the other's entry, then our Alcaldes, when this last presents himself to learn their resolution, shall urge him to have patience, in that not all the brothers are content with him, albeit, if such cause consisteth in a quarrel between a brother and the candidate for entry, peace may be brought about[225] between the two, and afterward the Cofradía may admit him of their number.”

Similar ceremonies and customs were observed in old Toledo (see the Ordinances of this city, dated June 24th, 1423, renewed and amplified in 1524).[68] Here also the silversmiths agreed to meet and celebrate the festival of their patron saint upon one day in every year, “for ever and for ever” (para siempre jamás). On these occasions the image of the saint was carried in procession, and a repast was given to the brothers themselves, as well as to all persons who were “willing to receive it for the love of God.” Every brother who failed to present himself at this solemnity was fined one pound of candle-wax; but if he were merely unpunctual, and arrived “after the singing of the first three psalms,” the fine was only half a pound. A pound of candle-wax was also the statutory tribute for admission to the Brotherhood, together with a hundred maravedis and other unimportant sums in cash.

The history of the gremios of Valencia has been traced in an instructive essay by Luis Tramoyeres Blasco. Early in the fifteenth century guilds were established here of nearly thirty trades, including tailors, millers,[226] carpenters, shoemakers, silversmiths, weavers, tanners, dyers, swordsmiths, and bonnet-makers. These guilds developed greatly in the sixteenth century, expanding into powerful and wealthy bodies, who practically controlled the entire commerce and commercial products of their native town. Among the gremios instituted at a later date were those of the firework-makers, basket-makers, twisters of silk, stiffeners of dress fabrics, bell-founders, and painters of chests and boxes, each of these corporations being enrolled by law, and possessing a code of regulations for the government and guidance of its members. Sometimes, however, owing to diminution in its trade, a guild became extinct, as happened with the guadamacileros (see Vol. II., pp. 38 et seq.), and with the clothmakers, of whom, in 1595, but three remained in all Valencia. Or else a gremio would purposely amalgamate with, or merge insensibly into, another. Thus in 1668 the tailors and the makers of trunk-hose united in a single corporation, just as, at other times, the glovers and the parchment-dressers, the clog-makers and the shoemakers.

Those of the Valencian guilds which possessed the greatest influence and resources, and enjoyed the highest privileges from the city or the crown, were called colegiados. Among them were the velvet-makers, hatters, bronze-founders, wax-makers, confectioners, dyers, and makers of silk hose. The earliest to obtain this coveted and honourable title were the booksellers, in 1539, followed by the wax-makers in 1634, the confectioners in 1644, the velvet-makers also in this year,[227] and others in succession, terminating with the dyers in 1763, the hatters in 1770, the bell-founders in 1772, and the makers of silk stockings in 1774.

According to Tramoyeres, most of the Valencian trade-guilds owned a building in fee-simple, and often gave the title of their craft to the entire street in which that edifice was situated. Nor did the gremios, in their evolution from the simpler and less mercenary form of brotherhood or cofradía, wholly abandon the religious ceremonies of their prototype. In almost every instance the guild erected and maintained a chapel within its private domicilio, chose a particular saint to be its patron, and held, with fitting pomp and liberality, a yearly celebration of that patron's holy-day.

On these occasions masses and other services were said or sung, and the embroidered banner of the guild, together with the image (which was often of silver) of its tutelar saint, was carried in procession through the streets of this bright city of the south, abounding at all seasons in flowers and sunshine, and famed, from the remotest days of Spanish history, for the splendour and munificence of her public festivals.

Our earliest record of the formal attendance of the gremios of Valencia at one of her fiestas, goes back to the visit to this capital of King Pedro the Second, in 1336, when the guilds were marshalled in military fashion, company by company, each headed by its pennon “á la saga dels primers,” that is, next to the group or company immediately in front of it. In 1392, upon the visit of another monarch, Juan the First, who was accompanied[228] by his queen, Violante, a more elaborate character was given to the welcome. Jongleurs and dancers were hired to perform, while several of the gremios constructed decorative scenes or allegorical tableaux on a platform or a waggon, which was wheeled along the street in slow procession, surrounded by the marching members of the guild. One of these structures represented the winged dragon or drach-alat which figures so conspicuously in the records of Valencia (see Vol. I., p. 210), and was attacked and overcome in mimic combat by a body of knights armed cap-à-pie. The mariners of the port built two large galleys, also moved on wheels and simulating an attack, and the freneros or bit-makers presented a gathering of folk disguised as savages. Nor was the bullfight—that most characteristic of Spanish sports—omitted from the entertainment, judging from the following entry in the city archives: “Item. Sien aemprats los prohomens carnicers a procurar e haver toros e fer per sos dies feta la dita entrada joch ab aquells specialment en lo mercat com sia cert quel Senyor Rey se agrada e pren plaer de tal joch.”

A typical fiesta and procession of these trade-guilds is described by Tramoyeres. “Formed in two long lines, the members of the guild advanced along the tortuous and narrow highways of the town, adorned with tapestries and altars. Each gremio was preceded by a band of cymbal-beaters, pipers, and jongleurs, sometimes accompanied by a comparsa allusive to the ceremony now being celebrated. Next came the standard of the master-craftsmen and apprentices, each[229] group of whom attended its divisa or distinguishing emblem. Close after followed the banner of the craft in general, carried by one or two of the oficiales, who made display of their dexterity and strength by supporting the staff of the banner upon their shoulder, the palm of the hand, or the under-lip. The cords of the banner were held by the officers of the guild, denominated mayorales, clavarios and prohombres; behind these came the masters, and last of all, a triumphal car on which were represented scenes relating to the craft. Thus, in the year 1655, at the commemoration of the second centenary of the canonization of Saint Vincent Ferrer, the gremios showed particular ingenuity and novelty in these devices.” Don Marco Antonio Ortí, who wrote an account of the festival in question, thus describes a few of them. “The millers were preceded by a waggon drawn by four mules and covered with boughs and flowers. On it was the imitation of a windmill, wheel and every other part, contrived so cunningly that although the wheel went round at a great speed, the artifice which caused it to revolve was kept from view, and in the time that the procession lasted, it ground to flour a whole caliz of wheat.” Another invention, says the same chronicler, was that of the masons. “The scene devised by these was a triumphal car, handsomely adorned, on which was borne the great tower (of the cathedral),[69] imitated so skilfully that it seemed to have been rooted from its foundation, and replanted in the[230] car aforesaid; and so enormous was its size that a special spot required to be chosen in which to set it up. This was in the garden of La Punta; and when the tower was finished and ready to be taken forth, a breach for its passage had to be opened in the garden wall. It even contained a peal of bells, which rang by turning round and round, and this invention of the bells, besides its ingenuity, was rarely fitted to this festival, seeing that the clock-bell of the cathedral (that is the greatest of them all) was given, when it was baptized, the name of San Vicente's bell, as well as of Saint Michael the Archangel; whence the tower itself is called the Micalet, this, in the language of Valencia, being the diminutive for Michael. It were impossible to imagine the stir and the applause excited in all quarters of the city by the passage of this tower.”

The same writer describes the decorative car or waggon of the flax-weavers. “Upon it were a woman seated beneath a canopy, weaving at a frame, and representing Santa Ana, the child Jesus making cañillas, and an aged man, for San Antonio, dressed as a hermit, with a live sucking-pig at his side. Before these went Our Lady riding on a jennet, with a child in her arms, her right hand held by a man of venerable age representing Saint Joseph. This artifice was symbolic of the weavers' trade, receiving for this reason great applause, as well as for the lavish decoration of, and curious details that were in, the car.”

Tramoyeres further explains that the guild which took first place in the procession was that which had[231] been most recently created, the oldest and most honoured coming last. At Valencia this proud position was held from the remotest period by the clothmakers; but from time to time, when these for any cause were absent from the festival, their place was taken by one or other of two companies almost as ancient and as honourable—the tanners or the tailors.

Each guild selected an official dress or livery, distinguished from the others by its colour or design:—the tailors, purple and white; the weavers, rose with black sleeves; the cutlers, crimson with green sleeves and sprinkled with golden roses; the millers, white with crimson-striped sleeves; the silversmiths, crimson with silver trimming; and so forth. Their banners, too, were quite in harmony with the rich apparel of the vain agremiados. According to an author of the seventeenth century, these flags were “not of war, but of a different workmanship, and greatly larger. All are of damask, most being coloured crimson, and the poles sustaining them, and terminated by an image of the sainted patron of the guild, are longer than the longest pike of war. Truly, a splendid show these banners make, displayed with fringes of drawn gold, and shields embroidered with the same material.”

The image in which the pole of the banner concluded was not, however, invariably that of a saint, or of a saint alone. In the case of the cask-makers it was a golden tun surmounted by a cross, with figures of Saint Helen and the Emperor Constantine standing on either side of it. That of the armourers was a bat (the rat-penat or[232] “winged rat” contained in the escudo of Valencia); that of the cloth-shearers, a pair of scissors with a golden crown and the image of Saint Christopher; of the fishermen, a boat containing Saint Peter and Saint Andrew; of the clothmakers, a sphere inscribed with the name of Jesus; of the stonemasons, a silver millwheel and a silver image of the Virgin. Similarly, each gremio displayed upon its coat-of-arms some kind of emblem such as the implement, or implements, associated with its trade:—the silversmiths, a square and compass; the carpenters, a hatchet and a saw; the lock-smiths, a pair of hammers and an anvil.

Quaintly instructive are the dispositions of the guilds relating to apprenticeship. The maestro of a trade, described by the Count of Torreánaz as “the principal worker in the workshop,” agreed to feed, clothe, and instruct his apprentice or discípulo, and treat him generally as a member of his own family. He was permitted to punish his apprentice for misconduct, but not to employ excessive physical violence; and a law of Jayme the First decreed that if the apprentice lost one or both of his eyes from a blow inflicted by his master, the latter was to “make good the injury” (sia tengut del mal que li haura feyt).

The number of apprentices allowed in any one workshop was often (and subsequently to the fifteenth century, nearly always) regulated by the law. The first disposition of this kind discovered by Tramoyeres dates from the year 1451, and refers to the shoemakers, whose apprentices might not outnumber three to each[233] maestro.[70] Similarly, by provisions issued at a later date, the mattress-makers and the builders were allowed no more than two apprentices, and the silk-weavers three, although sometimes the master might admit an extra aprenent or so, on payment of a certain sum per head.[71] The term of the apprenticeship was also often fixed by law. In most of the trades it was four years; but in the case of the makers of ribbons and of boxes it was five years; while stocking-makers were apprenticed for six, and wax-makers and confectioners for eight years.

Before the father or the guardian of a lad could sign his papers of apprenticeship, it was required (during and after the sixteenth century) to prove before the guild, by means of his certificate of baptism, or on the declaration of witnesses, that he was the child of parents who were “old Christians,” and not the offspring of Moor, Jew, slave, convert, or (in the fierce expression of the stocking-makers) “any other infected[234] race.” Still more absurd and savage was an ordinance, dated 1597, of the shoemakers, prohibiting any master of this trade from admitting to apprenticeship in any form, “a black boy, or one of the colour of cooked quince, slave or Moor … so as to avoid the harm which might befall our brother shoemakers from the ridicule that would be stirred among the populace, if they should see in our processions and other public acts, a slave, or the son of a black slave, or a lad of the colour of cooked quince, or a Moor; as well as the rioting and scandals that would be caused by the spectacle of creatures of this nature mixing with decent, well-dressed people.”

These statutes are selected from the mass of local legislation which concerned Valencia only. Turning to Spanish guilds at large, the study of these institutions throws considerable light upon the customs of the Spanish nation in the past, and more especially upon the social and financial standing of the older Spanish craftsman. As in other countries, the principal and primal object of the gremio was to organize a system of defence against the military and nobility, or even against the crown. Presently, however, and long before their evolution is completed, errors become apparent in the statutes or proceedings of these bodies which denote, very instructively and very plainly, the typical defects or weaknesses of the Spanish character. Foremost of all was thriftlessness. Although it is a fact that several of the Spanish guilds owned houses or even land, none of them (except the silversmiths of two or three large towns) were really[235] affluent;[72] and indeed, in a country racked by incessant foreign wars or civil strife, there was every reason why they should not be affluent. Yet, notwithstanding this, in celebrating any kind of public festival, the poor agremiado made no scruple to vie in prodigal disbursements with the moneyed aristocracy, clothing himself in fanciful and costly stuffs,[73] constructing shows and spectacles on wheels, raising elaborate altars in the streets, contracting for expensive services, performances, and tableaux. More than once, the gremios were obliged to borrow funds to celebrate the festival of their patron saint.[74] So also with[236] regard to dress. The costumes of the guildsmen of Valencia have been already noticed. An equal recklessness and foppery prevailed in other Spanish towns; for instance, at Barcelona, where, on a visit of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1481, the silversmiths formed part of the procession “dressed in the richest manner, with robes and mantles all covered with silver, and some of them with bonnets that were all of silver plate with jewels and silver foliage, while others wore silver chains about their necks.”

Two of the most conspicuous faults among the Spanish race are pride and envy. Yet these defects may be explained without much puzzling, and, in a measure, pardoned. Spaniards, through all the process of their national development, have clung by preference to the calling of the soldier or the priest; that is, the only occupations which directly dissipate the revenue of the commonwealth. Since, therefore, they were thus inclined from earliest antiquity, as well as tutored by a crafty priesthood to believe that might or violence alone is right, the haughtiness of the Spanish people is a logical, and indeed inevitable, outcome of their history. Moreover, side by side with this erroneous theory that the only prowess and decorum of a people must consist in armed aggressiveness, as well as in a truculent and militant intolerance in matters of religion (or rather, of superstition), there arose the equally as mischievous and erroneous theory that the arts of peace were venal, despicable, and effeminate, or, in the current phrase of our contemporaries, “unworthy of a gentleman.”[237] “The Spaniards,” wrote Fernández de Navarrete, “are so proud-hearted that they do not accommodate themselves to servile labour.” Therefore this people chose their favourites and heroes in a semi-savage freebooter; never in a craftsman of gigantic merit, like the elder Berruguete, or Juan de Arfe, or Alonso Cano. Sometimes, as happened with the reja of the Chapel Royal of Granada, they did not even trouble to record the surname of her best artificers. These men, in fact, exceptions to her universal rule, were coldly looked upon, or even persecuted.[75] Abundant proof is yet[238] extant of this humiliation of her merchants, craftsmen, shopkeepers, as distinguished from her soldiery and clergy, gentry and nobility. Undoubtedly, beneath such scorn the former of these groups were sensitive to their position, and all the more acutely sensitive because of their inherent Spanish pride. In fact, so sensitive were they, that now and then the crown esteemed it prudent to appease their wounded vanity by certain declarations or emoluments. Thus, the Repartimiento de Sevilla tells us that in the year 1255 Alfonso the Tenth rewarded several craftsmen of his capital of Seville with the title of Don, “a dignity,” says Amador, “rarely bestowed at that time.”[76] In 1556 Charles the Fifth[239] resolved, in favour of the corporation of artistas-plateros or “artist-silversmiths,” that the masters of this craft, together with their wives, might dress in silk, “in that it was an art they exercised, and not an office” (Gestoso,[240] Diccionario de Artífices Sevillanos, Vol. I., p. lx.), while Philip the Fourth decreed that they should not be forced to contribute to the equipment of his troops, but should only be invited to contribute, just as with the nobles. Nevertheless, Rico y Sinobas points out (Del vidrio y de sus artífices en España) that Philip the Fifth and Ferdinand the Sixth, on founding the royal glass factory of San Ildefonso, did not dare to ennoble the Castilian workmen.

“I bestow the name of craftsmen in silver (artífices plateros), not upon all who handle silver or gold, but only upon such as draw, and grave, and execute in relief, whether on a large or small scale, figures and histories from life, just as do the sculptors.” These words are quoted from a book, the whole of which was written with the aim of proving that certain classes of Spain's older craftsmen were less abject than the rest.[77] It is not so long ago that the expression viles artesanos (“vile artisans”) was banished from the legal phraseology of Spain. “That prejudice,” wrote Laborde, “which regards the mechanic arts as base, is not extinguished in Spain, but only abated: hence it happens that they are neglected or abandoned to such unskilful hands that they are[241] wonderfully backward in these matters. The influence of this cause is striking: in Catalonia, laws, customs, and opinions are favourable to artisans, and it is in this province that these arts have made the greatest progress.”

Townsend commented as follows on what he called the national prejudice against trade. “Whilst the Jews were merchants, and the mechanic arts were left either to the Moors or to the vilest of the people, the grandees or knights were ambitious only of military fame. After the conquest of Granada, the Moors continued to be the principal manufacturers, and excelled in the cultivation of their lands. When these, with the Jews, were banished, a void was left which the high-spirited Spaniard was not inclined to fill. Trained for many centuries to the exercise of arms, and regarding such mean occupations with disdain, his aversion was increased by his hatred and contempt for those whom he had been accustomed to see engaged in these employments. He had been early taught to consider trade as dishonourable; and whether he frequented the theatre, or listened to the discourses of the pulpit orators, he could not fail to be confirmed in his ideas. Even in the present day, many, who boast their descent from noble ancestors, had rather starve than work, more especially at those trades by which, according to the laws, they would be degraded, and forfeit their nobility.”—(Journey through Spain in 1786 and 1787, pp. 240, 241.)

Laborde endorsed these assertions by uncharitably remarking that “the Spaniard had always fortitude enough to endure privations, but never courage enough[242] to encounter work.” In our time judgments of a still severer kind have been passed upon the Spaniards by various of their own countrymen—among others, Unamuno, Ganivet, and Pompeyo Gener.

It is evident, too, that the cause of the relentless exclusion, by the Spanish guilds, of Moors, Moriscos, Jews, or converts—men who, owing to the unsubstantial taint of heresy, were hated and derided by the Spanish nation almost to a man—resided also in this morbid sensitiveness. Had not the Moorish prisoner been formerly considered as the merest chattel, legally equivalent to a beast of burden?[78] How, then, should he be ever equalled with the Christian Spaniard? These haughty and extravagant notions operated, in the seventeenth century, to bring about the general ruin of Spanish trades and manufactures. Bertaut de Rouen wrote at this time:—>“L'acoûtumance qu'avoient les Espagnols de faire travailler les Morisques, qui[243] estoient libres parmi eux, et les Mores esclaves, dont il y a encor quelques-uns qu'ils prennent sur leurs costes et sur celles d'Afrique, les a entretenus dans la faineantise et dans l'orgueil, qui fait qu'ils dédaignent tous de travailler. Ce qui achève de les y plonger, c'est le peu de soucy qu'ils prennent de l'avenir, et l'égalité du menu peuple et de tous les moindres marchands et artisans qu'ils nomment officiales, avec les gentilshommes, qui demeurent tous dans les petites villes.”

In the same century the Countess d'Aulnoy recorded comical instances of the pride of the tradesmen of Madrid. “One morning,” she says, “we stopped awhile in the Plaza Mayor to await the return of a servant whom my aunt had sent with a message to some place not far away. Just then I saw a woman selling some slices of salmon, crying them aloud and proclaiming their freshness in tones which positively molested the passers-by. Presently a shoemaker came up (I knew him to be such, because they called him the señor zapatero), and asked for a pound of salmon; since here they sell everything by the pound, even to coal and firewood. ‘You have not been through the market,’ cried the woman who sold the fish, ‘because you fancy that my salmon is cheap to-day; but let me tell you that it costs an escudo the pound.’ Furious that his poverty should thus be hinted at in public, the shoemaker exclaimed in angry tones: ‘It is true that I was not aware of the price of fish to-day. Had it been cheap, I would have bought a pound of it; but since you say it[244] is dear, give me three pounds.’ With these words, he held out his hand with the three escudos, jammed his hat upon his eyebrows (tradesmen in this town wear small hats, and persons of quality hats of great size), and then, twisting the ends of his mustachios, and clapping his hand to his rapier, the point of which bobbed upward, carrying with it a fold of his ragged cloak, caught up his purchase and strode home, looking at us with an arrogant air, as though he had performed some heroic deed and we had witnessed it. Yet the drollest part of it all was that beyond doubt the fellow had no money left at home, but had spent his week's wages upon the salmon, so that his choleric and haughty act would keep his wife and children famishing for all those days, after supping once upon abundant fish. Such is the character of this people; and there are gentlemen here who take the feet of a fowl and hang them so as to show beneath the hem of their cloak, to make it appear as though they really bore a fowl. But hunger, in truth, is all they carry with them.

“You never see a shopman here who does not clothe himself in velvet, silk, and satin, like the king; or who is not the owner of a mighty rapier, which dangles from the wall, together with his dagger and guitar. These fellows work as little as they may, for, as I said, they are by nature indolent. Only in case of extreme necessity do they work at all, and then they never rest, but labour even throughout a feast-day; though when they have finished what was needed to procure them money, they deliver the product of their toil, and with its value[245] relapse into fresh idleness. The shoemaker who has two apprentices, and who has only made one pair of shoes, hands to his lads a shoe apiece and makes them walk before him as though they were his pages; he that has three apprentices is preceded by all three; and when occasion rises, the master-zapatero will hardly condescend to fit upon your feet the shoes which his own hands had put together.”

It seems that the shoemakers of Madrid were distinguished for their insolence and vanity above the rest of her tradespeople. In 1659 Bertaut de Rouen wrote of the two corrales or theatres of this town, that they were “toujours pleines de tous les marchands, et de tous les artisans, qui quittant leur boutique s'en vont là avec la cappe, l'épée, et le poignard, qui s'appellent tous cavalleros jusques au çapateros; et ce sont ceux qui décident si la comedie est bonne ou non, et à cause qu'ils la sifflent ou qu'ils l'applaudissent, et qu'ils sont d'un costé et d'autre en rang, outre que c'est comme une espèce de salve, on les appelle Mosqueteros, en sorte que la bonne fortune des autheurs dépend d'eux.”

The foregoing narratives sound absurd, and are particularly prone to be considered so from being of foreign authorship. Their tenor, notwithstanding, is supported by the following declarations, gravely set down in writing by a Spaniard, within some half a dozen years of the visit to Madrid of the Countess d'Aulnoy. The name of this author is Alonso Nuñez de Castro, and the title of his work (published towards the close of the reign of Philip the Fourth), El[246] Cortesano en Madrid. “What man,” demands this madrileño of a bygone century, “eminent in any of the arts, has belonged to other nations, but has sought in Madrid the applause and gain which his native country would not, or could not, bestow upon him? Thus, either he in person, or else his master-works, visit with frequency this court of ours, wherein they meet a better fate than in their birthplace, since only at Madrid is properly esteemed the value of illustrious effort. Let London manufacture as she may her famous cloths, Holland her cambrics, Florence her satins, India her castors and vicunas, Milan her brocades, Italy and the Netherlands the statues and oil-paintings which seem to breathe the very life of the original: our Court enjoys these products one and all, proving hereby that other nations generate artists for Madrid, who is, in sooth, the supreme Court of Courts, seeing that she is served by all, yet in her turn serves none.

“Yet not at slight expense does she enjoy this sovereignty, showering upon other hands her gold and silver, that they may recreate her mouth with choicest drinks and viands, her nostrils with delicious essences, her eyes with wondrous works of painting and of statuary, her hearing with the skill of world-renowned musicians, her luxury with expensive fabrics and with precious stones; albeit these disbursements mark her, not as prodigal, but as prudent in discovering the proper use of gold, together with the fitting aim and purpose of all riches. Who was possessor of more gold than Midas?—seeing that not he alone, but all he laid his hand upon,[247] was gold; or who so wretched?—seeing that he was powerless to keep himself alive on gold, though all he touched was golden. Truly that man is rich that maketh gold to minister to his wants, and he a miserable pauper that to gold himself is slave, not knowing how to turn its uses to his good. Therefore let other peoples accumulate wealth at ease, heaping up the gold wherewith Madrid repays their ministration to her needs. Whereas her courtiers prove possession of their gold, in that they amassed it formerly, those foreigners show the evil and the mischief of their own by jealously confining it with lock and key: nay, who shall even tell if it be theirs, seeing that they enjoy it not, although they seem to be the lords thereof?

“You will declare that other courts enjoy the same conveniences with less expense, because their magistrates are stricter to restrain the tradesman from establishing his prices at caprice. Truly, it may happen that elsewhere the price of foods and luxuries be less than in Madrid; yet it is certain that Madrid makes fair comparison in cheapness with the other cities of Castile. Nay, more, without there seeming to be cause, her courtiers daily find that by a marvel articles are cheaper here than in the soil which generated them, or in the town where they were wrought. The fact that in comparison with other kingdoms Madrid is in some ways the dearer, proves that she hath the money for rewarding labour; and that in other capitals the sweat of the artificer is worthless, because money is worth more. Always have I remarked that the province or[248] the realm that is awarded the name of happy, because all things are purchasable there at next to no expense, is wrongly titled so, since here is evidence, either that money lacks, or that there is no purchaser.”[79]

In the eighteenth century, when better sense prevailed among the statesmen and economists of Spain, the greedy and corrupt administration of her guilds began to be awarded greater notice. Among the enlightened and progressive Spaniards who outspoke their minds upon this theme, were Florez Estrada and the Count of Campomanes. These, among others of less mark, saw and proclaimed that the harm inflicted by the gremios in some directions was incalculable, while the good they were supposed to bring about in others was rather nominal than real.[80] Apart, however, from the judgment[249] uttered by these two authorities, men of acknowledged probity and consequence who held the public ear, as well as by the patriotic Jovellanos in his spirited appeal in favour of the libre ejercicio de las artes, a number of causes, such as the propagation of the principles of individual liberty by the French Revolution, contributed to give the gremios an archaic air, and finally to bring about their downfall. The views concerning them which gradually filled the popular mind, prior to their extinction as an act of government in the year 1834,[81] are well expressed[250] by Townsend. “In all the trading companies or gremios,” wrote this traveller, “religious fraternities are formed, some incorporated by royal authority and letters patent, others by connivance of the crown, but both in violation of the laws.

“Every fraternity is governed by a mayor and court of aldermen, who make laws, sit in judgment on offenders, and claim in many cases exemption from the common tribunals of the country. None but the members of these communities may exercise mechanic arts, or be concerned in trade; and to be admitted as a member is both attended with a heavy fine, and entails upon each individual a constant annual expense.

“This, however, is not the greatest evil, for the mayor and officers, during their year of service, not only neglect their own affairs, but from vanity and ostentation run into expenses, such as either ruin their families, or at least straiten them exceedingly in trade.

“These corporations, being established in the cities, banish, by their oppressive laws, all the mechanic arts from towns and villages. In the cities likewise they tend only to monopoly, by limiting the numbers in every branch of business, and fixing within unreasonable bounds the residence of those who are concerned in[251] trade. This they do either by assigning the distance between shop and shop, under pretence that two shops vending the same commodities must not be so near together as to interfere, or by assembling all the mechanics of the same profession, such as silversmiths, and confining them to one street or quarter of the city, under the plausible pretext that thus the proper magistrate may with ease pay attention to their work, and see that the due standard be observed.[82]

“In many cases the various gremios bear hard upon each other. Thus, for instance, the carpenter must not employ his industry on mahogany, or any other wood but deal, nor must he invade the province of the turner. The turner must confine his ingenuity and labour to soft wood, and must not presume to touch either ivory or metals, even though he should be reduced to poverty for want of work. The wheeler, in similar distress, must not, however qualified, extend his operations beyond the appointed bounds, so as to encroach on the business of[252] the coach-maker, who is equally restrained from either making or mending either cart or waggon wheels. The barber may shave, draw teeth, and bleed, but he must not fill up his leisure time with making wigs.[83] As mechanics are obliged to keep exactly each to his several line, so must shopkeepers confine themselves to their proper articles in trade, and under no pretence must the manufacturer presume to open magazines, that he may sell by retail.

“But neither are these abuses the only evils which call for reformation. Many corporations have been impertinently meddling, and have absurdly bound the hands of the manufacturer by regulations with respect to the conduct of his business and the productions of his art, such as, being too rigidly observed, would preclude all improvements, and would be destructive to his trade, by giving to foreigners a manifest advantage in favour of their merchandise.[84]

“The incorporated fraternities in the kingdoms of[253] Castile and Aragon are 25,581, and their corporate expenses amount to 11,687,861 reals. Their revenue is not altogether consumed in feasting, nor in salaries to officers, nor in pensions to their widows, nor yet in lawsuits, which are said to be both numerous and expensive; but considerable sums are expended for religious purposes, in procuring masses to be said, either for departed spirits and the souls in Purgatory, or for the benefit of the fraternity in which each individual has a proportionable interest. For this reason, these communities enjoy the protection of the ecclesiastical courts, to which, in cases of necessity, they frequently appeal.

“The chartered corporations claim their exclusive privileges by royal grant, and on this plea they resist a formation, not considering, as Count Campomanes with propriety remarks, the essential condition of these grants, Sin perjuicio de tercero, or that nothing therein contained shall be to the prejudice of others, or injurious to the citizens at large.”



(From Riaño's Industrial Arts in Spain)

Towards the middle of the eighteenth century:—

Vases of different shapes.

Small pots (Chinese fashion).

Teapots and covers (Chinese fashion).

Cruets, complete sets (Chinese style).

Entrée dishes.

Salt-cellars (Chinese style).

Escudillas (bowls), of Constantinople.

Barquillos (sauce bowls), Chinese style.

Bottles (in the Chinese manner).

Cups, plates, and saucers of different kinds, with good painted borders in imitation of lace-work (puntilla). Some were designed in the Chinese manner, and especial care was taken with fruit-stands, salad-bowls, and dishes.

Trays and refrigerators.

A document, discovered by Riaño, and dated 1777, says that in that year the following kinds of pottery were manufactured at Alcora:—


Figures of Demi-Porcelain.
Figures of tritons.
of soldiers (two sizes).
of soldiers, one-third of a palmo high.
of the four seasons (two sizes).
of dancers.
of tritons in the form of children.
with brackets.
of different animals.
of gardener and female companion in the Dresden style.
Dancing figures in the German style.
Figures of Neptune.
of shepherd and shepherdess.
of the Moorish king, Armenius.
of the four parts of the world (two sizes).
of peasant and his wife.
Small figures holding musical instruments.
Figures representing different monarchies.
representing historical personages.
representing the history of Alexander the Great (two sizes).
representing Martius Curtius (two sizes).
of elephants.
of a man mounted on an elephant.
representing Chinese figures.
of Heliogabalus.
of a general on horseback.
of a grenadier supporting a candlestick.
Large figures representing Julius Cæsar.[256]
Figures representing the different costumes worn in Spain, on brackets. Groups of Chinese figures.
Snuff-boxes, sugar-basins, inkstands.
Rabbits, horns, and pug-dogs for holding scent.
Small scent-bottles.
Large vases with foot and cover.
Walking-stick handles.
Knife handles.
Figures of white Biscuit China.
Figures representing Spanish costumes (two sizes).
Groups of two figures.
Large and small figures of the four parts of the world.
Figures of the four seasons (two sizes).

We find also, says Riaño, the following figures of painted and glazed porcelain:—

Four seasons (two sizes).
Groups of two figures.
Figure of a Moorish king.
of musicians and huntsmen.
of peasants.
of Chinese.
Small figures of a gardener and female companion.
Figures of soldiers in the German style.

From 1789 to 1797, continues Riaño, the following[257] kinds of pottery were made at Alcora:—

Hard paste porcelain (French).
Porcelain of three different kinds called Spanish.
Porcelain of pipeclay (English).
Blue pipeclay porcelain.
Marbled pipeclay porcelain..
Bucaros, painted and gilt.
Strasburg ware.
Porcelain painted en froid.
Marbled and gilt wares, hitherto unknown.
Porcelain (Frita).
Porcelain painted with gilt lines.
painted without gold.
(frita), canary colour.
Boxes in relief.
Porcelain (frita), painted with marble wares.
Plain boxes of the same kind.
Porcelain (frita), of blue and brown ground.
Cups and saucers of a similar kind.
Biscuit Porcelain.
White porcelain (frita) cups of different kinds.
porcelain, ornamented and plain.
Boxes with busts.[258]
Boxes with ornamentations in relief.
Vases for holding flowers, plates, etc.
Large figures of the four seasons.
Flower vases with rams' heads.
Plain boxes.
Boxes with ornaments in relief.
White Porcelain.
Plates, cups, etc.
Figures of different kinds.
Painted Porcelain.
Cups, saucers, plates, etc.
Plain snuff-boxes, or in the shape of a dog.
Fruit-stands in relief.


[59] The following passage from Townsend's Journey through Spain (Vol. II., p. 56), is curious as showing where jet was formerly found in this Peninsula. “When I returned to Oviedo, a gentleman gave me a collection of amber and of jet, of which there is great abundance in this province: but the two most considerable mines of it are in the territory of Beloncia, one in a valley called Las Guerrias, the other on the side of a high mountain in the village of Arenas, in the parish of Val de Soto. The former is found in slate, and looks like wood: but when broke, the nodules discover a white crust, inclosing yellow amber, bright and transparent. Jet and a species of kennel coal, abounding with marcasites, universally accompany the amber.”

[60] As for the clothing of sacred images in Spain, even these are subject to changes in the fashion of costume. Ford makes merry over “the Saviour in a court-dress, with wig and breeches.” Swinburne wrote in 1775, from Alicante: “We have been all the morning in great uneasiness about Sir T. G.'s valet de chambre, who, till within this hour, was not to be found in any of the places he usually frequents. His appearance has quieted our apprehensions; and it seems he has been from sunrise till dinner-time locked up in the sacristy of the great church, curling and frizzling the flaxen periwig of the statue of the Virgin, who is to-morrow to be carried in solemn procession through the city.”

A similar passage occurs in one of the letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. “I was particularly diverted,” she wrote from Nuremberg in 1716, “in a little Roman Catholic church which is permitted here, where the professors of that religion are not very rich, and consequently cannot adorn their images in so rich a manner as their neighbours. For, not to be quite destitute of all finery, they have dressed up an image of our Saviour over the altar in a fair, full-bottomed wig, very well powdered.”

[61] “Ambo, pulpitum ubi ex duabus partibus sunt gradus.” Ugutio, quoted by Ducange.

[62] Originum, Book XV., Chap. iv.

[63] Noticia Histórica de la Cuchillería y de los Cuchilleros Antiguos en España (Almanaque de El Museo de la Industria, Madrid, 1870).

[64] See Pérez Pujol, Condición social de las personas á principios del siglo V. “The ironsmiths of Barcelona,” says Riaño, “formed an extensive guild in the thirteenth century; in 1257, four of its members formed part of the chief municipal council; this guild increased in importance in the following centuries.”

[65] The history of the Sevillian trade-guilds begins properly with the fifteenth century, although Gestoso states in his Diccionario de Artífices Sevillanos that he has found a few documents which seem to point to their existence in the century preceding.

When the Spanish Christians pitched their camp before this city, prior to their victorious assault upon its walls, the besieging army was divided according to the various trades of its component soldiery: the spicers in one part of the camp, the apothecaries in another, and so forth. It is therefore probable that the Sevillian trade-guilds were instituted shortly after the re-conquest. The wages of smiths, shoemakers, silversmiths, armourers, and other craftsmen were decreed by Pedro the First in his Ordenamiento de Menestrales. The ordinances of the silversmiths, in particular, are so old that Gestoso believes them to have been renewed and confirmed by Juan the Second, in the year 1416. However this may be, it is certain that the Seville guilds were regularly constituted in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella.

[66] Barzanallana defines the word gremio “as it came to be understood in Spain,” as “any gathering of merchants, artisans, labourers, or other persons who practised the same profession, art, or office; and who were bound to comply with certain ordinances, applicable to each individual of their number.”

It is well, however, to distinguish broadly between actual manufacturers or producers (menestrales de manos) and merchants or shopkeepers (mercaderes de tienda y de escriptorio), who merely trafficked in what was executed by another.

[67] This guild, as all the others, held an annual convocation of its members, and possessed a chapel of its own in the convent of San Francisco. It exercised a strict and constant supervision upon the gold and silver work produced throughout the city. On April 15th, 1567, the inspectors appointed and salaried by the guild visited the shop of Antonio de Cuevas, and seized an Agnus Dei and a faultily executed cross, both of which objects were destroyed forthwith. On February 8th, 1569, they repeated their visit to the same silversmith, and seized an apretador, which was likewise broken up. On February 9th, 1602, they entered the shop of Antonio de Ahumada, and took away “two rings, a gold encomienda, a cross of Saint John, some small cocks, a toothpick, and a San Diego of silver.” Similar notices of fines, confiscations, and other punishments exist in great abundance, and may be studied in Gestoso's dictionary. See also Vol. I., p. 114, of the present work.

[68] The foremost in importance of the gremios of Toledo was that of the silk-weavers (arte mayor de la seda), whose earliest ordinances date from a.d. 1533.

Interesting particulars of the old Toledan gremios generally will be found in the municipal archives of this city, in the Ordenanzas para el buen régimen y gobierno de la muy noble, muy leal é imperial ciudad de Toledo (reprinted in 1858); in Martín Gamero's History of Toledo; and in the Count of Cedillo's scholarly monograph, Toledo in the Sixteenth Century.

[69] That is, the ponderous structure known as the Miguelete, which stands unfinished to this day.

[70] The Count of Torreánaz quotes an earlier instance, relative to another city, from the shoemakers' ordinances of Burgos, confirmed by the emperor Alfonso in a.d. 1270. These laws decreed, obviously with the purpose of limiting the number of apprentices, that every master-craftsman who engaged an apprentice was to pay two thousand maravedis “for the service of God and of the hospital.” Similar legislation, lasting many centuries, was in force elsewhere, for Larruga says that at Valladolid, although the city produced fourteen thousand hats yearly, most of the master-hatters had no apprentices in their workshops, and only one oficial.

[71] E.g., the silk-weavers (Statute of 1701). “Que ningun collegial de dit collegi puixa matricular francament mes de tres aprenents y si volgués tenirne mes, hatja de pagar á dit collegi deu lliures, moneda real de Valencia per cascú dels que excedirá de dit numero.”

[72] It is not often, for instance, that we meet with notices of Spanish craftsmen such as Miguel Jerónimo Monegro, a silversmith of Seville, who at his death, towards the middle of the sixteenth century, was in a position to bequeath the following money and effects: 15,000 maravedis to his servant, Catalina Mexia, 6000 maravedis to Juan Ortiz, “a boy that was in my house, that he may learn a trade,” 6000 maravedis yearly to his slavewomen, Juana and Luisa, and a black mule to his executor, Hernando de Morales.—Gestoso, Diccionario de Artífices Sevillanas, Vol. II., p. 256.

[73] This did not happen only at Valencia. The Cortes assembled at Valladolid in 1537 complained that it was “tolerable that costly stuffs should be worn by lords, gentlemen, and wealthy persons; but such is become our nation, that there is not an hidalgo, squire, merchant, or oficial of any trade, but wears rich clothing; wherefore many grow impoverished and lack the money to pay the alcabalas and the other taxes owing to His Majesty.”

Fernandez de Navarrete stated, in 1626, that “the wives of common mecánicos (i.e. craftsmen) furnish their dwellings more luxuriously than titled personages of the realm were wont to furnish theirs some few years ago,” and that hangings of taffeta or Spanish guadamecíes were now regarded with contempt, being replaced, even in the homes of the moderately well-to-do, by sumptuous fabrics of Florence and Milan, and by the costliest Brussels tapestry.—(Conservación de Monarquías, p. 246).

[74] Larruga, in Vol. XVIII. of his Memorias, inserts an account of the heavy debts incurred by the gremios of Valladolid, upon the celebration of various of their festivals.

[75] The treatment of distinguished craftsmen by the Spanish church was often sheerly villainous. A document, inserted by Zarco del Valle among his collection of Documentos Inéditos para la Historia de las Bellas Artes en España, p. 362, and in the handwriting of “Maestre” Domingo (see Vol. I., pp. 148, 149), states that after making the choir-reja for Toledo cathedral, “so richly wrought, that in the elegance and rarity thereof it far surpasseth all that has been witnessed in our time, whether in his majesty's dominions or abroad,” and expending on it “all the money I had earned in my youth,” this eminent rejero found himself by now “owing a great quantity of maravedis, seeing that I am utterly without resources,” concluding by an appeal to the archbishop to “take heed how that I shall not perish through such poverty, and my wife and children in the hospital.”

In another document the same artificer complains that in producing the aforesaid reja, he had sacrificed “not only my labour, but my property to boot, having been compelled to sell my house and my inheritance to compensate me for my losses,” adding that the cathedral authorities had violated their engagement with him.

In answer to a series of petitions such as this, the archbishop tardily gave orders for the payment to Domingo of a lump sum of fifteen thousand maravedis and a pension for the rest of his life of two silver reales of Castilian money, “to aid him to support himself.” This was in a.d. 1563. By 1565 death had ended the miseries of the master-craftsman, and again we find his widow and children knocking at the archbishop's door, pleading that “extreme is our necessity,” and declaring that Domingo had succumbed overburdened with debt, affirming on his deathbed that the cathedral owed him three thousand ducats, being half the value of a reja he had made.

In answer to this terrible appeal, the thrifty prelate ordered that since it was found to be true that Master Domingo had lost his maravedis in making the rejas of the choir, his widow and children should receive a daily pension of one real, and that a suit of clothes should be given to each of his sons and his two daughters.

[76] So rarely, that Salazar de Mendoza affirms in his book upon Castilian Dignities that this “high prenomen” (alto prenombre Don) might properly be used by none but kings, infantes, prelates, and the ricos-homes of the realm.

In a.d. 1626, Fernández de Navarrete complained of the tendency prevailing among the Spaniards generally to usurp the title Don. “Nowadays in Castile,” he wrote (Conservación de Monarquías, p. 71, etc.), “exists a horde of turbulent and idle fellows that so style themselves, since you will hardly find the son of a craftsman (oficial mecánico) that does not endeavour by this trick to filch the honour that is owed to true nobility alone; and so, impeded and weighed down by the false appearance of caballeros, they are unsuited to follow any occupation that is incompatible with the empty authority of a Don.”

Some of the reasons why these rogues or pseudonobles (as Fernández de Navarrete called them), attempted to pass for hidalgos or “sons of somebody,” are disclosed by Townsend, writing a century and a half later. “Numerous privileges and immunities enjoyed by the hidalgos or knights, sometimes called hijos dalgo, have contributed very much to confirm hereditary prejudices to the detriment of trade. Their depositions are taken in their own houses. They are seated in the courts of justice, and are placed near the judge. Till the year 1784, their persons, arms, and horses were free from arrest. They are not sent to the common jails, but are either confined in castles or in their own houses on their parole of honour. They are not hanged, but strangled, and this operation is called garrotar, from garrote, the little stick used by carriers to twist the cord and bind hard their loading. They cannot be examined on the rack. They are, moreover, exempted from the various taxes called fechos, pedidos, monedas, martiniegas, and contribuciones reales and civiles: that is, from subsidies, benevolence, and poll tax, or taille paid by the common people, at the rate of two per cent., in this province, but in others at the rate of four. They are free from personal service, except where the sovereign is, and even then they cannot be compelled to follow him. None but the royal family can be quartered on them. To conclude, the noble female conveys all these privileges to her husband and her children, just in the same manner as the eldest daughter of the titular nobility transmits the titles of her progenitors.

“The proportion of hidalgos in the kingdom of Granada is not considerable; for out of six hundred and fifty-two thousand nine hundred and ninety inhabitants, only one thousand nine hundred and seventy-nine are noble; whereas, in the province of León, upon little more than one-third that population, the knights are twenty-two thousand. In the province of Burgos, on four hundred and sixty thousand three hundred and ninety-five inhabitants, one hundred and thirty-four thousand and fifty-six are entitled to all the privileges of nobility; and in Asturias, of three hundred and forty-five thousand eight hundred and thirty-three, nearly one-third enjoy the same distinction.”—(Journey through Spain in the years 1786 and 1787: Vol. III., pp. 79, 80.)

[77] Licentiate Gaspar Gutierrez de los Ríos, Noticia general para la estimación de las Artes y la manera en que se conocen las liberales de las que son mecánicas y serviles. Madrid, 1600. I again have occasion to mention this curious work in my chapter on Spanish tapestries.

[78] It is stated in the Fuero of Nájera (a.d. 1076) that the price of the blood of a Moorish slave was twelve sueldos and a half, while the Fuero Viejo of Castile (Book II., Tit. III., Ley IV.) contains the significantly contemptuous phrase, “If a man demand of another a beast or a Moor” (si algún ome demanda á otro bestia ó moro). The Countess d'Aulnoy wrote in 1679;—“There are here (at Madrid) a large number of Turkish and Moorish slaves, who are bought and sold at heavy prices, some of them costing four hundred and five hundred escudos. Until some time ago the owners of these slaves possessed the right to kill them at their pleasure, as though they had been so many dogs; but since it was remarked that this usage tallied but poorly with the maxims of our Christian faith, so scandalous a license was prohibited. Nowadays the owner of a slave may often break his bones without incurring censure. Not many, however, resort to so extreme a chastisement.”

[79] To further show the extravagant way of thinking and behaving of the Spaniard of the seventeenth century, the same author sets aside the sneering objection justly made by foreign writers to the river Manzanares at Madrid—namely, that it has no water—by remarking with exquisite complacency, that here precisely lies the crowning merit and advantage of the Manzanares over rival streams; in that it amuses people without endangering their lives. In the reigns of Philip the Fourth and Charles the Second, a favourite promenade of the Madrid aristocracy was the waterless channel of this river, in which, according to this work, “coaches and carriages do duty for a gondola, and form a pleasant imitation of the boats and palaces of Venice.”

[80] The object avowedly pursued by Campomanes was not, however, the absolute suppression of the Spanish trade-guilds, but merely their reconstruction upon a sounder basis. He still believed that admission to a guild should be preceded by a formal period of apprenticeship, as well as that the title and the privileges of the master of a trade should be hereditary. An instance of the grossly fraudulent methods employed by the gremios in order to retain the privilege of manufacture in a certain family, is quoted by Larruga (Memorias, Vol. II., p. 201), who states that the silk-cord makers of Madrid conferred the title of master-craftsman on a babe only twenty-two months old.

[81] Barzanallana says that the earliest sign of a movement in the direction of emancipating the Spanish people from the thraldom of the gremios is contained in the royal cedula of May 17th, 1790, abolishing several of the noxious prerogatives which had hitherto been enjoyed by the families of master-craftsmen. A further crown decree, dated the same month and year, empowered the Audiencias and Chancillerías to authorize persons to pursue a craft (provided they were reasonably competent) without the necessity of approval from the gremios and their veedores. Three years later, the same monarch (Charles the Fourth) suppressed the gremios and colegios of the silk-twisters, and declared this craft to be open to all such persons, of either sex, as wished to practise it. In 1797 it was permitted to all foreigners who should be competent in any art or industry (except Jews) to establish themselves in Spain or her dominions, nor were they to be molested in their religious theories if they should happen not to be Roman Catholics.

At a later time the Cortes annulled, or very nearly so, the ordenanzas of the gremios, and allowed the exercise of any lawful trade or craft to everybody, Spaniards and foreigners alike, without the requisite of special license or examination, or approval by the officers of the guilds (decree of June 8th, 1813). This measure was revoked in 1815, but again became law in 1836, and two years before this latter date was issued the decree of Queen María Cristina prohibiting associations which, under the semblance of a gremio, should aim at converting any craft or office into a monopoly.

The Spanish gremios still exist, but all their sting has departed. To-day they may be said to spring from the natural and beneficial interdependence of persons working together in the same groove, and seeking mutual support by means of peaceable association. Thus the abuses which rendered them so terrible and evil in the olden time are fortunately now no more.

[82] This custom was borrowed from the East, and explains why, in many of the older Spanish cities, a number of their streets have taken their title from the trades that formerly were plied in them, or (in some instances) that still are so. Especially was this the case at Valencia and Toledo. In the latter capital there are, or used to be, the streets, plazas, or barrios, of the silversmiths, armourers, bakers, old-clothes vendors, potters, esparto-weavers, dyers, chairmakers, and many more. Martín Gamero, in his excellent History of Toledo (Introduction, p. 60), says that in the centre of the city were located the quiet crafts, such as those of the jewellers, silversmiths, chandlers, and clog-makers, as well as the shops of the silk, brocade, and tissue-vendors. Noisy trades, such as the swordsmiths', tinsmiths', boiler-makers', chairmakers', and turners', were practised on the outskirts of the town.

[83] Colmeiro has published memoriales presented by the hatters of Zaragoza, in which they pray to be allowed to line, by their own hands, or by those of their wives, the hats which they had manufactured, instead of being required to give up this finishing and accessorial process to the makers of silk cord.—Historia de la Economía Política en España, and Biblioteca de los economistas españoles de los siglos XVI., XVII., y XVIII.

[84] This meddlesomeness almost exceeds belief. It was at its worst, perhaps, in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, who decreed that the wicks of candles were to be made of the same kind of tow, and horse-shoes and nails to be of the same weight in every part of their dominions. It was required that machines, which might have been to great advantage moved by mules or horses, should only be worked by the hand of man, however lengthy and exhausting this might prove. The Count of Torreánaz, who quotes these ridiculous dispositions from the Libro de bulas y pragmáticas of Juan Ramírez, further recalls that, as late as the middle of the eighteenth century, costly woven stuffs of Seville and Valencia used to be confiscated because, although the ground of the fabric was of a colour which the law allowed, the flowers or other devices which formed the decoration were of a forbidden shade. On one occasion the chief lady-in-waiting of the queen was prohibited from wearing a dress which she had ordered from a weaver of Valencia, because the flowered pattern was contrary to the ordenanzas.




The following is a fairly complete list of the works I have consulted for the preparation of these volumes.

Abdón de Paz. La España de la Edad Media.

Academia de San Fernando, Real. Colección de Antigüedades Arabes de Granada y Córdoba; 2 vols.

Alba, Duchess of Berwick and. Catálogo de las colecciones expuestas en las vitrinas del Palacio de Liria.

Alderete. Antigüedades de España.

Alzola y Minondo, Pablo. El Arte Industrial en España. Bilbao, 1892.

Amador de los Ríos. El Arte Latino-Bizantino en España y las Coronas Visigodas de Guarrazar. Madrid, 1861.

Antón, Francisco. Estudio sobre el Coro de la Catedral de Zamora; 1904.

Argote de Molina. Nuevos Paseos Históricos, Artísticos, Económico-Políticos por Granada y sus Contornos.

Arphe y Villafañe. Varia Conmensuración para la Escultura y Arquitectura. Seventh edition; Madrid, 1795.

Arte en España, El; 8 vols.

Arts italiens en Espagne, Les, ou histoire des artistes italiens qui contribuerent à embellir les Castilles. Rome, 1825.

Balsa de la Vega. Las Industrias Artísticas en Madrid (Lace, etc.). Articles published in El Liberal, 1907.

Barrantes. Barros emeritenses. Madrid, 1877.[262]

Bertaut de Rouen. Journal du Voyage d'Espagne. Paris, 1669.

Birch, Samuel. History of Ancient Pottery. London, 1873.

Bock. Die Kleinodien des heil. römischen Reichs deutscher Nation, nebst den Kroninsignien Böhmens, Ungarns, und der Lombardei. Vienna, 1864.

Geschichte der liturgischen Gewänder des Mittelalters. Bonn, 1871.

Bonsor, Georges. Les Colonies pre-Romaines de la Vallée du Bétis. Paris, 1899.

Bourgoing, Jean-François de. Nouveau Voyage en Espagne. 3 vols.; Paris, 1789.

Breñosa y Castellarnau. Guía y Descripción del Real Sitio de San Ildefonso. Madrid, 1884.

Caballero Infante, Francisco. Aureos y barras de oro y plata encontrados en el pueblo de Santiponce. Seville, 1898.

Campos Munilla, Manuel. Mosaicos del Museo Arqueológico Provincial de Sevilla. 1897.

Capmany y Montpalau, Antonio. Memorias históricas sobre la marina, comercio, y artes de la ciudad de Barcelona. Madrid, 1779.

Carrasco y Sáinz, Adolfo. Catálogo de los recuerdos históricos existentes en el Museo de Artillería. Part I.; Madrid, 1893.

Cascales, Francisco. Discursos históricos sobre Murcia. Murcia, 1624.

Cean Bermudez, Juan Agustin. Descripción Artística de la Catedral de Sevilla. Seville, 1863.

Diccionario de las Bellas Artes en España.

Cedillo, Count of. Toledo en el siglo XVI. Madrid, 1901.

Clonard, Count of. Memorias para la historia del traje[263] español; published in the Memorias de la Real Academia de la Historia, Vol. IX. Madrid, 1879.

Conferencias leidas en el Ateneo Barcelonés sobre el estado de la cultura española y particularmente catalana, en el siglo XV. Barcelona, 1893.

Cole, Alan S. Ornament in European Silks. London, 1899.

Contreras, Rafael. Recuerdos de la Dominación de los Arabes en España. Granada, 1882.

Cox. L'Art de décorer les Tissus.

Cruzada Villaamil. Los tapices de Goya. Madrid, 1870.

Danvila y Collado. Trajes y Armas de los Españoles. Madrid, 1877.

Davillier, Baron. Recherches sur l'orfévrerie en Espagne. Paris, 1879.

Les arts decoratifs en Espagne au moyen âge et à la Renaissance. Paris, 1879.

Nota sobre los cueros de Cordoba, Guadameciles de España, etc. (Spanish edition.) Gerona, 1879.

Diaz y Perez, Nicolás. Historia de Talavera la Real. Madrid, 1879.

Dozy. Histoire des musulmans d'Espagne. Leyden, 1881.

Dupont-Auberville. L'Ornement des Tissus. Paris, 1877.

Echeverría. Paseos por Granada y sus Contornos. 2 vols.; Granada, 1814.

Eguilaz Yanguas, Leopoldo. Reseña Histórica de la Conquista del Reino de Granada por los Reyes Católicos. Granada, 1894.

Errera, Madame Isabelle. Collection d'Anciennes Étoffes (Catalogue). Brussels, 1901.

Fernandez y Gonzalez, Francisco. Estado social y político de los mudéjares de Castilla. Madrid, 1866.

Florez. España Sagrada. (2nd edition). Madrid, 1824.

Ford, Richard. Handbook for Travellers in Spain. 2 vols.[264] London, 1845.

Gayangos, Pascual de (edited by). History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain. London, 1843.

(annotated by). Chronicle of Rassis the Moor. Madrid, 1850.

Gayet. L'Art Persan.

Gestoso y Perez, José. Documentos relativos á la historia de la Armería de Sevilla. Seville, 1887.

Ensayo de un Diccionario de los artífices que florecieron en Sevilla desde el siglo XIII al XVIII inclusive. 2 vols.; Seville, 1899.

Historia de los barros vidriados sevillanos desde sus orígenes hasta nuestros días. Seville, 1903.

Curiosidades antiguas sevillanas. Seville, 1885.

Goblet d'Alviella, Comte. La Migration des Symboles. Paris, 1891.

Gómez Moreno, Manuel. Apuntes que pueden servir de historia del bordado de imaginería en Granada (published in the magazine El Liceo de Granada; 6th year, No. 18).

Guía de Granada. Granada, 1892.

Góngora. Antigüedades Prehistóricas de Andalucía. Madrid, 1868.

Granada, Ordinances of. Titulo de las Ordenanças que los muy Ilustres y muy magníficos Señores Granada mandaron que se guarden para la buena governacion de su República. Las quales mandaron imprimir para que todos las sepan y las guarden. 1552.

Ordenanzas que los Muy Ilustres y Muy Magnificos Señores Granada mandaron guardar, para la buena governacion de su Republica, impressas año de 1552. Que se han buelto a imprimir mandado de los Señores Presidente,[265] y Oydores de la Real Chancilleria de esta ciudad de Granada, año de 1670. Añadiendo otras que no estauan impressas. Impressas en Granada. En la Imprenta Real de Francisco de Ochoa, en la Calle de Abenamar. Año de 1678.

Guillen Robles, Francisco. Málaga musulmana. Málaga, 1880.

Gutierrez de la Hacera, Pascual Ramon. Descripción General y Cronológica de España. 2 vols.; Madrid, 1771.

Hübner. Inscriptiones Hispaniæ latinæ. Berlin, 1892.

Inscriptionum Hispaniæ latinarum supplementum. Berlin, 1892.

Jones, Owen. The Alhambra. London, 1842.

Lane-Poole, Stanley. The Art of the Saracens in Egypt. London, 1888.

The Moors in Spain. London, 1897.

Larruga. Memorias políticas y económicas sobre los frutos, comercio, y minas de España. Madrid, 1788.

Le Breton, Gaston. Céramique espagnole. Le salon en porcelaine du Palais Royal de Madrid et les porcelaines de Buen Retiro. Paris, 1879.

Lecea y Garcia. Recuerdos de la antigua industria Segoviana. Segovia, 1897.

Lopez de Arenas, Diego. Carpintería de lo Blanco y Tratado de Alarifes. (3rd edition.) Madrid, 1867.

Madrazo, Pedro de. Córdoba. Barcelona, 1884.

Martorell y Peña, Juan. Apuntes arqueológicos de, ordenados por Salvador Samper y Miquel. Barcelona, 1879.

Medina, Pedro de. Primera y Segunda parte de las grandezas y cosas notables de España. Alcalá de Henares, 1595.

Menendez y Pelayo, Marcelino. Historia de las Ideas Estéticas en España. Madrid, 1886 and following years.


Morales, Ambrosio de. La crónica general de España del Maestro Florián de Ocampo, continuada con el libro de las antigüedades de España.

Moreno de Vargas, Bernabé. Historia de la Ciudad de Mérida. Merida, 1633; reprinted at Merida, 1892.

Murguía, Manuel. El Arte en Santiago durante el siglo XVIII., y noticia de los artistas que florecieron en dicho ciudad y centuria. Madrid, 1884.

Museo Español de Antigüedades (many articles in the). Madrid, 1872 and following years.

Noticia de la Fábrica de Espadas de Toledo que por tantos siglos existió hasta fines del XVII en que acabó, y del método que tenían aquellos artífices Armeros para forjarlas y templarlas, aceros de que usaban, y otras particularidades que las hicieron tan famosas en todo el Mundo como apetecidas al presente, y de la que por el Rey N.S. que Dios gue. se estableció en esta Ciudad año de 1760; por Francisco de Santiago Palomares Escriuano mayor de primeros remates de Rentas decimales de Toledo y su Arzobispado. MS. in the Library of the Royal Academy of History, Madrid; in the volume inscribed Varios de Historia, 8, E, 141.

Ordenanzas de la muy noble é muy leal Cibdad de Sevilla é su tierra, assi de las tocantes al Cabildo y regimiento della, que se contienen en la primera parte, como de todos los oficios mecánicos, de que es la segunda parte. Impressas con mucha diligencia en la dicha Cibdad de Sevilla por Juan Varela de Salamanca, vezino della. Acabáronse de imprimir á catorze dias del mes de Febrero, año de Nuestro Redemptor Iesu Christo de mil quinientos é veynte y siete años (1527). The second edition was published, also at Seville, in 1632.

Ordenanzas para el buen regimen y gobierno de la muy noble,[267] muy leal é imperial ciudad de Toledo. Reprinted by the Town Council. Toledo, 1858.

Ortega Rubio. Los Visigodos en España. Madrid, 1903.

Osma, Guillermo J. de. Azulejos sevillanos del siglo XIII. Madrid, 1902.

Los letreros ornamentales en la cerámica morisca del siglo XV.

Pérez de Villa-amil. España Artistica y Monumental. Paris, 1842–1850.

Pérez Villaamil, Manuel. Artes é Industrias del Buen Retiro. Madrid, 1904.

Picatoste, Felipe. Ultimos escritos.

Estudios sobre la grandeza y decadencia de España.

Pigal. Collection de Costumes des diverses Provinces de l'Espagne. Paris, about 1810.

Ponz, Antonio. Viaje de España. 18 vols.; Madrid, 1787.

Ramírez de Arellano, Rafael. Ciudad Real Artística. Ciudad Real, 1894.

Riaño, Juan Facundo. The Industrial Arts in Spain (South Kensington Museum Art Handbooks). London, 1879.

Ricord, Tomás. Noticia de las varias y diferentes Producciones del Reyno de Valencia, etc.: segun el estado que tenían en el año 1791. Valencia, 1793.

Rodríguez Villa, Antonio (edited by). La Corte y Monarquía de España en los años de 1636 y 1637. Madrid, 1886.

Sanpere y Miquel. La Plateria catalana en los siglos XVI y XV (article published in the Revista de Ciencias Históricas; Vol. I.).

Las Costumbres Catalanas en tiempo de Juan I. Gerona, 1878.

Sempere. Historia del lujo en España. Madrid, 1788.


Simonet, Francisco Javier. Descripción del Reino de Granada, sacada de los autores arábigos. Granada, 1872.

Stirling, William. Annals of the Artists of Spain. London, 1848.

Strabo. Geography.

Street. Some Account of Gothic Architecture in Spain. London, 1865.

Swinburne, Henry. Travels through Spain. London, 1779.

Townsend, Joseph. Journey through Spain. 3 vols.; London, 1792.

Valladar, F. de Paula. Guía de Granada. Granada, 1890 and 1906.

Van de Put. Hispano-Moresque Ware of the Fifteenth Century. London, 1904.

Vargas y Ponce. Correspondencia epistolar en materias de Arte. Collected by Cesáreo Fernández Duro. Madrid, 1900.

Villa-amil y Castro. Antigüedades prehistóricas y célticas de Galicia. Lugo, 1873.

Arqueología Sagrada. Lugo, 1867.

Viñaza, Count of La. Adiciones al Diccionario de Cean Bermudez.


Viollet-le-Duc. Dictionnaire raisonné du mobilier français de l'époque Carlovingienne à la Renaissance.

Wallis, Henry. The Oriental Influence on the Ceramic Art of the Italian Renaissance. London, 1900.

Young, Arthur. Tour in Catalonia. Dublin, 1793.

Zarco del Valle. Documentos inéditos para la Historia de las Bellas Artes en España. Madrid, 1870.









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