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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

La Magia del Barroco en Apaseo

You will see, this is a very special book. How to acquire it? You have to know someone who knows someone who is close to the person in charge at the Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer, Mexico City, Mexico. I happen to know such a person and that is how I became the grateful owner of this very fine book on design, decorative painting, history and baroque architecture.

A grand baroque building built in the 18th century in a small town of Apaseo el Grande, south of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

I own many wonderful books. Each and everyone of them chuck full of design inspirations. But this book is special.

All photographs within this book are of one grand house, namely the "Casa Grande de Apaseo" , also known as the "Casa Herrera".

It is a long story. I was looking for several hand carved stone surrounds for our 200 year old Doors from Argentina. I found stone carvers in Mexico who carved the surrounds, not as fabulous as the one above, but one of mine does have the Lion of Venice carved into the entablature.

Hand painted and hand sculpted wall treatments.

Mostly, I am showing you photographs of one of the many kitchens of this grand house.

I like the innovative use of blue and white tiles. They are Portuguese in design but could have been painted in Mexico. Talavera, Azulejos, Maiolica, Delft tiles all have one thing in common. They are painted in the "Maiolica" style using tin glazes.

By innovative, I mean the way images are separated and divided by plain white spaces. So much more effective than covering the entire space with patterned tiles.

Here are some of the tiles I painted a few years ago. See the flower basket tiles above? They are similar to those I have painted. And so is the bird and vase mural that you see in the picture below.

To really appreciate this book you should see the photographs of the interior rooms and courtyards. Never, have I seen such splendid interiors and made more so by the exquisite flower arrangements. All photographs from this book are by Jose Ignacio Gonzales Manterola.

You might be able to place an order on the Amazon.com wish list. An English version (ISBN 9685205000) is supposed to exist. The Spanish version (ISBN 9686258728) might be more easily acquired.



  1. Hello Gina!

    I'm in Salamanca, near to Apaseo, about 60 kms. I know the Casa de los Perros or Palacio de Herrera, is closed to the public. They use to have open doors on Sundays, but, (allways is a bad BUT!)one of those Sundays a guy makes a graffiti on one of the old pieces of art, so they got mad and colse doors for visitors.

    I know the palce belogs to a welthy family from Monterrey, Mexico. They come sometimes during the year, they host visitors who are either politicians or TV celebrities.

    I know a guy (a simple one) how lives there, probably he will let me know to hom to talk to get permission for visit. I'll let you know.

    Hey, ¿do you belive in casualites? Well, yesterday I found a book form the 50s where a picture inside Casa de los Perros is... definite... a marvel!

    Talk to you soon!



    If you are coming to the area and you are into tails and so...¿have you ever heard about a town sout of San Miguel name Nautla?

  2. This house looks amazing and I would love to have a look at these books. I visited SMA years ago and totally fell in love with that area. Thanks for visiting me today!

  3. Dear Benjamin, how very nice of you to reply to my questions. For a long time I have wondered if the Casa Herrera is open to the public. The wealthy family, who now owns this magnificant structure, is to be commended on the beautiful job that they have done in restoring this palace. And I am so happy to hear that it is being used, even if only once in a while. splendor.

    I am curious about the older book which you mentioned and the one you found just the other day. Did it feature the Casa Herrera and in addition, were other homes mentioned? Is the publication in Spanish?

    I am not familiar with the town of Nautla. Could have driven past it without knowing it. Did you mention it because it has a lot of colonial architecture?

    I will be stopping by your posts, they are wonderfully researched and your great photographs add a lot to the information which you provide.


  4. Hi Ally, thanks for coming over. I loved your post on Gypsy wagons. My friends have called me a gypsy on occasion. I love mixing colors. Too much is not enough for me.
    When Basel, the horse, and husband and I traveled by Gypsy wagon through Wales, we stopped into every antiques store and bought more fabrics to hang inside the wagon. Those fabrics and buckets full of daffodils was all we needed.

  5. Gina, this is truly magnificent! I most loved seeing the similarities to your beautiful tiles. I like yours more! Thank you for your visit and sweet comment. I can't wait to see your lilacs in bloom – ours are almost finished here. – g (p. s. I left a note about the lilac heart in the comments section)

  6. Dear Georgianna, Oh, I am so delighted that you like my tiles. You are so nice to stop by. It means a lot.
    I was blown away by your blogpost of this morning. Only you would think of backing up your beautiful photography with antique botanical prints....a brilliant idea.

  7. Lovely book, lovely pictures!! What an amazaing house!

  8. Hi Gina...

    Ohhh my...the Casa Grande de Apaseo is fabulous! I'm an amateur student of architecture...I would love to visit this grand home!!! Thank you for sharing that photos. I really do love a good design book. I actually have a couple of the books that you shared in this post. I also loved the beautiful tiles that you created...simply gorgeous, my friend!

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely post with us for the Sunday Favorites repost party this week...it was such a treat!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  9. Hi Martha, I would one day love to visit this house. Thank you for leaving a comment...it is so appreciated

  10. Hi Shari, Me too, I would love the opportunity to see this home. What a wealth of ideas...not just in architecture but what about all the painted details? I found another copy of this book on ebay, of all places. Maybe another will surface.