Just outside the city of Málaga is La Concepción, the former seat of the Marquis de Casa Loring, now the Jardín Botánico-Historico. The symbol of the gardens is the Mirador, an open belvedere (built by later owners) with views across the city, but tucked in the shade of the magnificent collection of plants is the Museo Loringiano, a Doric temple which once housed the family’s collection of antiquities.
Jorge Loring Oyarzábal and his wife, Amelia Heredia Livermore, came from wealthy families, and were the darlings of bourgeois society in Málaga in the middle of the 19th century. He was a civil engineer, railway pioneer and entrepreneur and was created the Marquis of Casa Loring in 1856 for he and his wife’s generous financial support during a cholera epidemic. The Lorings bought parcels of land to create the La Concepción estate and built a new villa on the hillside, surrounding it with exotic and native planting.
The Museo Loringiano was created in 1859 to house one of their earliest purchases: a mosaic panel featuring the labours of Hercules, which had been discovered in a house in nearby Cartama. The Lorings bought the work and recruited a master craftsman to reassemble it in their garden. To protect it they asked the German architect Johann Heinrich Strack, a pupil of Schinkel, to build the temple which is decorated inside with frescoes in imitation of the antique. The collection soon grew and the museum was filled with their purchases, whilst larger pieces were displayed outside.
The Lorings sold the estate in 1911 and a part of their collection went to local museums. The new owners, the Echeverria-Echeverieta family (builders of the Mirador) became custodians of the works which remained, moving the mosaic panel to their family mausoleum in the north of Spain. By the middle of the 20th century the estate was slowly deteriorating, and there was concern for the future of the botanical and archaeological collections. In 1990 the city council bought the estate and after a period of renovation it was opened to the public in 1994 as the Jardín Botánico-Historico de Málaga. The Museo Loringiano, which is beautifully maintained, now contains a facsimile of the mosaic panel.
The remaining antiquities had by this date been transferred to the city’s museum service. In December 2016 a new Museo de Málaga, was opened in the former Palacio de la Aduana (Customs House), an imposing building close by the equally impressive cathedral. This vast new home enables the city to show its fine art and archaeological collections under one roof. The collection formerly housed in the Museo Loringiano is now shown in a beautifully curated display, with a background of atmospheric paintings of the grounds of La Concepción*.
So that’s what The Folly Flâneuse did on her holidays. Gracias por su atención.
Jardin Botanico-Historico http://laconcepcion.malaga.eu/en/
Museo de Malaga http://www.museosdeandalucia.es/web/museodemalaga
There’s also a delightful summerhouse full of Barbies and Kens, but that’s another story https://thegardenstrust.blog/2019/03/02/barbie-at-the-botanics/
*The Folly Flâneuse would love to credit the artist but couldn’t find a name.