The Captains house is in a lovely location at El Calvario, San Miguel. The Town has become well known for its grand architecture, as it stands out from the vast desert landscape in the south. This house gives a good insight into the daily lives of the Spanish settlers of Tenerife in the 19th century. D. Miguel Alfonso, the highest ranked serviceman in the military, owned this house and him and his family were very wealthy. The architecture is what I envisioned for a military family. Crisp clean lines, industrial feel but with some decorative features to show success, such as the castle-like entrance and the canarian rose coloured window shutters.
The layout of the house was perfect for socialising as there is an outdoor courtyard in the middle and more outdoor space in the back. In the middle of the house was a very large fertility god statue linking to the pagan history of the island. As you travel around Tenerife you can find many smaller statues like these as it was typical in Guanche art. Unfortunately, the house suffered a fire in the 1970s, so a lot of the original contents were destroyed. However, the council have now turned the house into a museum and filled it with local antiques, manual agricultural equipment and handmade items typical for the era, to keep the traditional skills alive.
Pottery is the main theme in this house as there is an exhibition room full of pottery and the museum runs pottery demonstrations each week. When I visited there was a lady looking after the house proudly cleaning and showing us around. In the outdoor space are some pieces of equipment to make food. Along the walls of the courtyard are traditional farming equipment. It was amazing to see the variety of pottery that was made and on display. There was an interactive display giving information about the functions of each piece. There was another exhibition in the cellar that displayed rattan pieces and miscellaneous items.
There was also a traditional wine press in their wine cellar. The press was like the one I saw in casa de los Balcones (see blog), this was interesting as I was surprised to see a grand house in such a rural area of the island. Although the house is a mix of original items and new reproductions, it was still an interesting visit to compare mansions in the north and the south of Tenerife.
Written by Charlotte Taylor