The San Gabriel de Barrera Ex Hacienda is down river from Guanajuato in the town of Marfil. At one time the area was shoulder to shoulder haciendas along the river processing the various metals extracted from the hills above.
Like many haciendas it was in ruin after the 1910 Revolution. It was bought in 1947 by a wealthy family (the distributor of typewriters for Mexico) who restored the buildings and established the gardens and installed perfect pieces of period furniture and tapestries. In 1972 the State took it over and now it is a museum of applied arts from the fifteenth century. On the grounds are workshops dedicated to the restoration of period artworks for the Guanajuato World Heritage Association.
The house is set among huge gardens which were once the silver production facilities.
Below- The entry area is quite unimposing but it leads to the ground level stables kitchens and the priests house.
The furniture sitting casually around the patio appears to be fifteenth or sixteenth century !
The Priests house.
Below this part was used as the office.
Below– The Priests dining room and below that the bedroom.
Below– The private chapel with a screen from the Jaen in Spain from the 1500’s
The staircase to the upper main level.
One comes out of the stairwell to this grand terrace and entry.
Below– The way they got drinking water was to filter it through sand.
The Gene Byron House was also a hacienda saved from ruin by the Canadian artist and turned into a home studio and now a gallery and work space for visiting artists. Byron began studying Mexican muralists in 1941. She and her husband settled in Guanajuato in 1958, and took over this ex-hacienda in 1962.
There is a nice atmosphere here close to the rushing river that runs just over the walls.
Below one of her paintings.
On the way out we were lucky enough to meet her surviving husband of some ninety plus years Virgilidad. He graciously gave us more than the time of day telling us stories of their life here and his fighting in the Spanish Civil War and his escape from Europe to Mexico.