Palaces of Madrid: Palacete Don Guillermo de Osma, headquarters of the Valencia Institute of Don Juan - The blog of the night watchman of Madrid (2023)

The Palacete Don Guillermo de Osma, headquarters of the Valencia Institute of Don Juan

Madridtreasures a vastartistic historical heritageThere are many buildings in our city that hide secrets and that contain great beauty inside; It is a pity that many of them are not open to visits because they are institutional buildings and a balance has not been found between their institutional function and that of disseminating heritage.

A few weeks ago, thanks to the guided tour program'Welcome to the Palace'of the General Directorate of Historical Heritage of the Community of Madrid, visited thePalace Don Guillermo de Osmacurrent headquarters ofValencia Institute of Don Juan.

The Don Guillermo de Osma Palace is located at 41 Fortuny Street, in the stately neighborhood ofchamberi, a neighborhood in which, at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the Madrid aristocracy settled and palatial residences were built that mostly followed the historicist trend prevailing at the time.

The Palacete Don Guillermo de Osma, was conceived asliving placefor the marriage ofDon Guillermo de Osma y Scull(political and diplomatic) andMrs. Adelaida Croke y Guzmán, Countess of Valencia de Don Juan. The couple, who had no children, put all their efforts into gathering a large collection of works of art and creating an authentic chamber of wonders with artistic objects of all kinds: painting, sculpture, numismatics, ceramics, furniture, chasubles, Hispanic dishes. Arabs, Manises earthenware, tapestries, etc.

Pedro de Repide,chronicler of the Villa, in his book'The streets of Madrid'refers to the palace in this way:“It is an aristocratic street, populated almost entirely with hotels, surrounded by leafy gardens, standing out among its buildings the palace, in the old Spanish style, which the Marquise del Bermejillo has built, on the corner of Paseo del Cisne, and fronteras, the Arab house of Don Guillermo de Osma, where its owner gathered a curious collection of antiquities, and the most modern one built with reminiscences of the late Gothic period and in which the Institute of the widowed count of Valencia de Don Juan is installed, a true archaeological and artistic treasure ”

– The Palace Don Guillermo de Osma

This palace was built byEnrique Fort Guyenetebetween 1889 and 1893 commissioned by the father of Don Guillermo de Osma y Scull on the occasion of his marriage to Doña Adelaida Crooke y Guzmán. Conceived as aurban mansion with interior gardenand following the neo-Mudejar trend, its architect being inspired by the Giralda in Seville and the stepped battlements of Islamic architecture, it also introduced a British discordant notebow windowof three floors.

All the memory and plans of the facade of this building dated September 18, 1889 are preserved, in which the architect details the characteristics of the property:

"This hotel will consist of basements for cellars, coal bunkers and heating in a part of the general floor, ground floor that includes the portal, kitchen and its dependencies, main and second floor for reception and living rooms and third floor or attic for rooms of servants”

In the year1912, its owners entrusted Mosteiro with a smallremodeling, but it will be in 1916, the year in which the palace becomes a foundation and a museum, when it undergoes an important reform by García Cabrera who will condition the interior and will carry out an extension on the garden consisting of a pavilion of Neo-Mudejar characteristics with a Neo-Gothic doorway facing Fortuny street. For this cover, the architect will be inspired by the cover of theLatina Hospitalwhich is now in the gardens of theMadrid School of Architecture.

During theCivil war, governmentBritish at the express wish of its founders was commissioned to take care of the collection. In 1946 it underwent a reform once again by the hand of the architect López Otero who added the west wing that faces Eduardo Dato street, extending the Neo-Mudejar drawing by García Cabrera.

In 1981, it was declaredAsset of Cultural Interestl and currently access to this Institution is restricted, and only researchers can access it.

– The collection of the Valencia Institute of Don Juan

Don Guillermo de Osma y ScullHe was a Spanish diplomat, archaeologist and politician who became Minister of Finance during the reign of Alfonso XIII. Together with his wife, he treasured a large collection of decorative and luxury arts from both the legacy of his ancestors and his collecting zeal that led them to buy new pieces.

Thecollectionof the Valencia de Don Juan Institute is an authentic"Cabinet of Wonders"and surprise everyone. His benefactors were able to put together a splendid and interesting collection with representation of all the arts. In the rooms of the Valencia de Don Juan Institute there are Hispano-Islamic fabrics, ceramics, paintings, stelae, glass, jet, astrolabes, chests, goldsmiths, Iberian ex-votos, weapons, and coins among other pieces.

It preserves the Valencia of Don Juan in a first room whose architecture is reminiscent of the Islamic world, a collection ofHispano-Islamic fabricsthat range from the 10th century with the Caliphate of Córdoba to the 15th century with the Nasrid period. It should be noted that the fabrics began to be listed on the art market in the 19th and 20th centuries, when the first public collections began simultaneously. Fragments ofHispano-Islamic fabricsthat could be used as pieces that the Muslims gave to the Christian ambassadors or as war booty.

Other of the fragments that are preserved were used aslinings for manholesof the relics so popular in the Middle Ages and it seems others were acquired in the Andalusian markets and in the markets of Christian Spain.

Also noteworthy in this Institute is the collection ofAndalusian ceramic artthat covers a chronology that goes from the 13th to the 15th century, highlighting above all the ceramics of cuerda seca and the tiles from Granada. There is also space forManises pottery(of golden reflection), oftalavera of the Queenand ofCatalonia.

The pieces that most attract attention in this room are thefortuny tile(made during the reign of Yusuf III (1408-1417) and collected by the artist) and an impressivenasrid vasefrom the Alhambra.

Another of the curiosities that this institution houses is a large collection offancy horse harnesswhich are currently in the documentation phase.

The Valencia Institute of Don Juan also has a wide pictorial collection, it has somepantoja de la cruz, someWas There Hammer, someGoyaand even aGrecounique, the canvas titled'Allegory of the Order of the Camaldolese'.

It also preserves on its ground floor an extensive collection ofceramicsfrom the Royal Factories.

-The Library of the Valencia Institute of Don Juan

Its library and archive stand out, as it has numerouscopiesdedicated to theHistory of art. In this small library there are 710 medieval documents on parchment dated between the years 875 and 1500, 248 bound manuscripts among which the book of theGolden Fryand aBook of hoursof Doña Mencía de Mendoza, from flamenco workshops of the 16th century. This file covers a chronological period from the Catholic Monarchs to the s. XIX, among which those of the reign of Felipe II stand out.

– The Palace of Don Guillermo de Osma, nowadays

As I mentioned earlier, this small museum has therestricted accessand only if you are ainvestigatorYou will be able to access its interior and its collection.

Yes, it's a shame that oneso valuable collectionand interestingly, it is reserved for a few, but the truth is that its founder made it very clear that the function of his collection had to be that, it was never considered that it was a museum open to the public. From here I defend the position that it is necessary to evolve and that the old structures of the past are useless today, I defend the investigation and dissemination of heritage in all its areas and I do not believe that opening the Valencia de Don Juan Institute to visits makes it difficult the investigation.

Let's face it, are there lines to be expected? And if so, wouldn't Don Guillermo de Osma be proud to see his palace full of life and people interested in his collection?


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