Silversmithing in Andalucia, Spain

The Spanish Catholic Church and its brotherhoods have commissioned and preserved silver altars, candlesticks, lamps, statues, retables, floats, and other religious items for centuries. Thanks to their continued support, silversmithing is still an important art in and around Seville.

Book holder, frame, and altar, Monastery of the Incarnation Museum of Sacred Art, Osuna

Vase and Candle Holders on Float, La Macarena, Seville

 Vase and Candle Holders on Float, Seville

17th Century Silver Monstrance Float in the Cadiz Cathedral

A quick look at three studios will give you an idea of the talent, work, and dedication of some of these silversmiths!

Francisco (Paco) Villarreal Reina directs Ofebrería Villarreal, the largest silversmithing studio in the area, located next to Seville, in Camas. Their web page provides the company history and contact information. You may email Paco or call (in Spanish) at 954 391 079. Villarreal specializes in solid silver and plated religious pieces.

Gold plated light

After Paco's design has been approved by the client, it will be used to guide the craftsmen.

The metal is stamped, raised with hammers, or spun on a lathe to form the basic shape. Several pieces are soldered together to fabricate complicated pieces.

The forms are temporarily filled or backed with a hot red waxy liquid (that solidifies as it cools) to support the metal as it is chased. The substance is later reheated, removed, and recycled.

Chasing a cylinder

A clay wing serves as a three dimensional model. Next to the maquette is the back of a silver wing.  The complicated pelican that is waiting for its wings is composed of several parts.

Paper pattern and chased silver

Chisels are used to chase the front of the wing along pencil lines from a paper pattern.

The silver is polished, then assembled. Wood and/or metal structures support large silver pieces. 

Ramón León Peñuelas Silversmithing is run by a father - son team that share the same name and a love for silversmithing. An assistant has learned that a helping hand often works better than a vice to hold a delicate piece!

Orfebre Ramón León Peñuelas is located at 69 Calle Alfareria, Triana, 41010 Seville, Tel: 954 339 939.

The metal armature on the right will support a silver structure like the one next to it.

Ofebreria Triana is located at 66 Calle Pureza, Triana, 41010 Seville, Tel: 954 273 765.

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Web page, photographs, and text by Carol Ventura in 2005. Please look at Carol's home page to see more about crafts around the world.