Tag Archives: Comillas

Gaudi, Mozart and a Starling

Whilst looking through my pictures for my previous post about El Capricho I came across the picture of the bird on a piano keyboard…

It reminded me of the story of Mozart’s Starling and I wondered if Gaudi  also knew about the unlikely tale.

Read The Full Story Here…

El Caprichio – Antoni Gaudi in Cantabria

“(El Capricho) stands out for the Mudejar influence, for the alternation between the orientalist influence and medievalism and for the early appearance of elements corresponding to Gaudi’s later work” – The official guidebook.

In my previous post I told you about a Gaudi tribute house, today it is the real thing.

The entire town of Comillas is a declared historic/artistic site that in the nineteenth century was once popular with the Spanish monarchy and nobility who built many fine buildings and mansions there and is picturesque enough to get it hovering near to any top ten list of best small towns in Spain.

We drove into the old town where there were some fascinating buildings but none better than a rare example of the work of Antoni Gaudi, a mansion called El Capricho complete with a signature tile clad tower in the style of a minaret, playful ceramic sunflowers and whimsical stained glass images of animals playing instruments. From the outside it resembles a model made of lego building bricks.

It couldn’t happen could it? Well, maybe it could…

Gaudi rarely worked outside of Barcelona in Catalonia, he had enough work there after all to keep him busy and El Capricho is one of only three, the other two are The Episcopal Palace of Astorga and the Casa Botines in León in Castilla y León which is about the furthest that he ever got from Barcelona.

It was built in 1883 for a nobleman with the magnificent name of Máximo Díaz de Quijano who wanted an exotic villa in an oriental style and the really significant fact is that this was Gaudi’s very first commission.

There was a €7 admission charge which was a bit of a shock but having walked all the way through the town to find the place we went through with the transaction and made the visit to the house and the gardens and we were glad that we did. Kim may have got tired of towers, castles and cathedrals but she remains comfortable with palaces and Gaudi it seems.

Sadly Máximo Díaz de Quijano died before the work was completed.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

Travels in Spain, El Capricho in Comillas

IMG_0007

Discovering the works of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona reminded me of a visit to the town of Comillas in Cantabria in 2013 where there is a rare example of the work of  the architect outside of Catalonia, a mansion called El Capricho complete with a signature tile clad tower, playful ceramic sunflowers and whimsical images of animals playing instruments.

It was built in 1883 for a nobleman who wanted an exotic villa in an oriental style and the really significant fact is that this was Gaudi’s very first commission.  There was a €7 admission charge which was a bit of a shock but having walked all the way through the town to find the place we went through with the transaction and made the visit to the house and the gardens and we were glad that we did.  Kim may have got tired of towers, castles and cathedrals but she remains comfortable with palaces and Gaudi it seems.

001002003.jpgAntoni Gaudi and me

Northern Spain – Cantabrian Coast, Comillas and Gaudi

Cantabria Spain

Although the forecast was poor the weather by contrast was better than expected and there was a clear blue sky with just a few wispy clouds and from the museum car park it was possible to see the sea only a few hundred metres away. 

We drove out of the village on a road that climbed quickly and at the top we were overawed by a sight that we were not prepared for.  At a distance of about fifty kilometres we could see the two thousand five hundred metre high peaks of the Picos de Europa which remained snow capped and glistening white in the mid morning sun.

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Cantabria, Picos de Europa and Comillas

Picos de Europa

Of course it wasn’t like that at all and after we woke in the morning to find Bobby Ewing in the shower with Pammy and went downstairs the genial host was there to greet us and direct us towards our breakfast table.  We were the only guests though and we had no explanation for the ghostly footsteps.  We felt curiously in the way so we hastily finished breakfast and left the San Telmo for a drive along the coast.

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