From our friend in Barcelona: perfume and shoes
In her final report from Barcelona Kavel Rafferty visits two little museums.
You could walk past the Museu del Perfum hundreds of times without noticing it, which since 1961 has been situated in the back room of the Perfumery Regina on the busy Passeig de Gracia in central Barcelona.
Entrance is through the shop, via a short corridor leads to the exhibition room which is large and understated, a large room filled with hessian backed glass cabinets. Cabinets are packed with every type of perfume and scent bottle imaginable. There are fine examples of both antiquarian perfume vessels and hundreds of bottles charting the development of brand identities of major designers and perfume producers.
The collection consists of over 5,000 individual bottles, from large scale advertising props, 'on tap' perfume dispensers used in old perfume boutiques and tiny sample bottles.
And then there’s the decoration: gilded fonts, candy colours, pattern, jewels, ribbon, bows, packaging and printed papers. All delightful in their own way.
A few of my favourites were the more kitsch novelty bottles: a vintage green telephone; fancy frocked ladies in all their finery; silver birds and strangely gruesome glass heads.
There is a five euro entry fee, which is well worth it for the sheer volume of examples. The staff leave you alone to wander around without pressure in a gallery or museum. You can easily lose an hour or more examining all the different bottles.
Museu del Perfum, Passeig de Gràcia, 39
Monday to Friday:
10.30am-8pm; Saturday: 11am-2pm
The gentleman on the door of
Museu del Calçat, a
museum, must be well into his eighties, but he’s very sprightly and friendly. He
offers a selection of small scribbled notes with various dates for each cabinet,
which don’t always make things much clearer. I sneaked a few photos although
photography is not strictly allowed – he gently told me off, but I
don't mind as he called me señorita, that hasn't happened in a long while.
The collection contains many originals
dating as far back as the 17th century as well as reproductions of earlier
footwear. The collection includes tools, patterns, leather samples,
illustrations, all kinds of shoes large and small from around the world. It's
no V&A, but has some lovely exhibits and while slightly shabby is utterly
charming. The tiniest 'shoes' in the collection are a pair carved from two
olive stones, the biggest (with the accompanying last) made especially to fit
the Columbus statue in Barcelona Harbour. Other unusual footwear includes black
bridal shoes, peculiar to Cataluña, jewel-encrusted heels for dance shoes and
intricately embroidered white leather children's shoes.
del Calçat, Plaça
Sant Felip Neri 5
You can see Kavel's illustration work on her website.
And for more Barcelona, don't forget to pick up our map.
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