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Spain—The South, the Plains and the Sea

Playful Roman statuary at the home of the Duchess of Medinaceli in Seville.

The Trust’s Study Trip Abroad to Spain last fall was a chronological trip starting in sunny Seville with the Romans, touching briefly on the Visigoths, to the Moors in the 8th century with their wonderful architectural treasures in Granada and Cordoba, until 1492 when Ferdinand and Isabella won the battle expelling them and immediately sending Christopher Columbus to discover America! After 1492 we flew north to the cosmopolitan city of Madrid where museums like the Prado, the Thyssen Bornemisza, the Decorative Arts Museum and the wonderfully interesting Royal Tapestry Factory gave us access to some of the most important works of art in the world. We were hosted at various times by the Ambassador Luis Sagrera, the Marques de Campo Real, and the Viscount of La Nava del Rey, enjoyed their hospitality, their collections of paintings, tapestries, furniture, ceramics and metals, as well as their stories of family generations living in Madrid. Taking the enjoyable fast train to the delightful port city of Barcelona, we turned our attention to the 20th century with the continuing work on the Gaudi Church, Sagrada Familia, the simple elegance of the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion at the International Exhibition of 1929, as well as the Miro and Picasso Museums. It seems Spain attracted everyone and inspired them—our Study Trip group included.

Standing in front of the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion of the International Exhibition of 1929 held in Barcelona, are the Study Trip Abroad participants from 2012. From left to right in the back row: John Hellman, Hunting Valley, OH; Dave Dvorak, Carpinteria, CA; Chuck Akre, Hume, VA; Melissa Dvorak, Carpinteria, CA; Marilyn Field, Coronado, CA; Bill Field, Coronado, CA; Douglas Thomas, Loveland, OH; Terrence Sheridan, North Bloomfield, OH; Helen Scott Reed, Manakin Sabot, VA; Fairman Thompson, Philadelphia, PA; Penny Hunt, Philadelphia, PA; Kelly Schrimsher, Huntsville, AL, and Randy Schrimsher, Huntsville, AL. In the from row from left to right: Susie Orso, Florence, IT; Mary Hale McLean, Houston, TX; Rossie Fisher, Manakin Sabot, VA; Sara Thompson, Philadelphia, PA; Chris Mumm, Washington, DC; Marcia Grace, New York, NY; Dea Akre, Hume, VA; Ellen Ilkanic, Hunting Valley, OH; Catherine Sheridan, Loveland, OH; Judith Sheridan, North Bloomfield, OH; Mary Ann Conn-Brody, Shaker Heights, OH; Pamela Thompson, Philadelphia, PA, and Peter Dessauer, Harpers Ferry, WV. Missing from this shot are Kate and Preston Smart, Truckee, CA, and John Frazier Hunt, Philadelphia, PA.
Trust members were privileged to visit Mesa Dona’s home in Gaudi's iconic apartment building, La Predrera. We were pleased to see her Gaudi furniture including this settee that John Hunt, Philadelphia, is admiring.

Kelly and Randy Schrimsher, Huntsville, AL, with the Viscountess of La Nava del Rey, in her art studio, located on their hunting estate where Trust members enjoyed a special venison lunch.

In Cordoba, an important Roman town, the most interesting building is the Mezquita. Appropriated by the Moors from the Visigoths, it was continually enlarged until 990. It was converted to Christian use in the 16th century. There are 850 columns gathered from Classical buildings around the Mediterranean.

Beautiful and distinctive Moorish columns and carving at the Alhambra.

The Royal Tapestry Factory was a high point for Trust members. We saw the complex weaving of tapestry, the restoration of tapestries and the “pool cleaning” of old tapestries.

Later, in Madrid, we saw several private collections where very old tapestries were on the walls and our host told us the family history surrounding them.

The Sagrada Familia or, as many people know it, the Antonio Gaudi church in Barcelona, was started in 1882 by Francesco de P. Villar but the project was taken over in 1883 by Gaudi. Work continues today and it is predicted that the church will be finished in 2030.

Fountains, their sounds or their stillness, were an important part of The Alhambra, which dates mainly from the 14th century.

Trust members at the Alhambra wearing Bluetooth earphones could distinctly hear our guide across the room.

Helen Scott Reed in the gardens of the Alcazar,
the palace of the Spanish Kings.

John Hellman of the Cleveland Circle, Penny Hunt, Trust Director, John Hunt, past president, and Chuck Akre, Hume, VA, in the Madrid hotel lobby with Roman statue replica.

When we arrived, the famous Court of Lions in the Alhambra had just re-opened after extensive restoration.

Trimming the exacting hedge walls of the
Generalife Garden requires small clippers!

Lunch in the garden in Seville. (L–R) Sara Thompson, Philadelphia, PA, Preston and Kate Smart, Truckee, CA, and Susie Orso, Florence, Italy.

The Director of the Decorative Arts Museum in Madrid
kindly opened many doors for us, including these!

The Gothic Cathedral in Seville, built in the 15th century on the site of a mosque, is the largest in Spain. Its Giralda tower (tallest in this picture), originally the minaret of the mosque, was built in the 12th century and later converted to the bell tower for the cathedral. Columbus is buried there!

While in Madrid, Trust members
witnessed a huge evening demonstration, mostly of parents and children, marching against cuts in education—certainly a sign of the times.

View of Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors in Spain, from the Generalife Gardens.