Riano and Baron de la Vega de Hoz extract from Cean Bermudez a copious list of silversmiths who worked in Spain all through the Middle Ages. This long array of isolated names and dates is neither interesting nor informative. Newer and more attractive notices have been discovered subsequently. Thus, in the National Library at Madrid, Don Manuel G. Simancas has disinterred quite recently the copy made by a Jesuit of a series of thirteenth-century accounts relating to various craftsmen of the reign of Sancho the Fourth ("the Brave"). Two of them are concerning early orfebreros: -
1 Ulloa, Memorias Sevillanas, vol. i. p. 199.
"Juan Yanez. By letters of the king and queen to Johan Yanez, goldsmith, brother of Ferran Garcia, scrivener to the king; for three chalices received from him by the king, cccclxxviii maravedis."
The second entry says: -
"Bartolome Rinalt. And he paid Bartolome Rinalt for jewels which the queen bought from him to present to Dona Marina Suarez, nurse of the Infante Don Pedro, mcccl maravedis." 1
Among Spain's gold and silver craftsmen of the fifteenth century we find the names of Juan de Castelnou, together with his son Jaime, who worked at Valencia; of Lope Rodriguez de Villareal, Ruby, and Juan Gonzalez, all three of whom worked at Toledo; and of Juan de Segovia, a friar of Guadelupe. Papers concerning Juan Gonzalez, and dated 1425, 1427, and 1431, are published among the Documentos Ineditos of Zarco del Valle. One of Segovia's masterpieces was a silver salt-cellar in the form of a lion tearing open a pomegranate - clearly allusive to the conquest of Granada from the Moors. Upon their visiting the monastery, Ferdinand and Isabella saw and, as was natural, conceived a fancy for this salt-cellar; and so, whether from inclination or necessity, the brotherhood induced them to accept it.
1 Libro de diferentes Cucntas y gasto de la Casa Real en el Reynado de Don Sancho IV. Sacado de un tomo original en folio que se guarda en la Libreria de la Santa Iglesia de Toledo. Arms de 1293-1294. Por el P. Andres Marcos Burriel dc la Compa de Jesus.
Sixteenth-century plateros of renown were Juan Donante, Mateo and Nicolas (whose surnames are unknown) - all three of whom worked at Seville; and Duarte Rodriguez and Fernando Ballesteros, natives of that city. In or about the year 1524 were working at Toledo the silversmiths Pedro Herreros and Hernando de Valles, together with Diego Vazquez, Andres Ordonez, Hernando de Carrion, Diego de Valdivieso, Juan Domingo de Villanueva, Diego Abedo de Villan-drando, Juan Tello de Morata, Francisco de Reinalte, Hans Belta, and Francisco Merino. Several of these men were natives of Toledo.
Among the silversmiths of sixteenth - century Cordova were Diego de Alfaro and his son Fran-cisco, Francisco de Baena, Alonso Casas, Alonso del Castillo, Luis de Cordoba, Sebastian de Cordoba, Cristobal de Escalante, Juan Gonzalez, Diego Fernandez, Diego Hernandez Rubio (son of Sebastian de Cordoba), Rodrigo de Leon, Gomez Luque, Gines Martinez, Melchor de los Reyes (silversmith and enameller), Andres de Roa, Pedro de Roa, Alonso Sanchez, Jeronimo Sanchez de la Cruz, Martin Sanchez de la Cruz (Jeronimo's son), Pedro Sanchez de Luque, Alonso de Sevilla, Juan Urbano, and Lucas de Valdes.
Not much is told us of the lives and labours of these artists. The best reputed of them as a craftsman was Rodrigo de Leon, who stood next after Juan Ruiz, el Sandolino. Ramirez de Arellano, from whom I have collected these data, publishes a number of Leon's agreements or contracts, which from their length and dryness I do not here repeat. In 1603 we find him official silversmith to the cathedral, under the title of "platero de martillo ("silversmith of hammered work") de la obra de la catedral desta ciudad."
Francisco de Alfaro, although a Cordovese by birth, resided commonly at Seville. In 1578 he received 446, 163 maravedis for making four silver candlesticks for use in celebrating divine service. These candlesticks are still in the cathedral.
Sebastian de Cordoba was one of the foremost artists of his age. He died in 1587, leaving, together with other children, a son, Diego, who also won some reputation as a silversmith. Ramirez de Arellano publishes a full relation of the property which Sebastian de Cordoba bequeathed at his decease, as well as of the money which was owing to him. Among the former, or the "movable effects," we read of "Isabel, a Morisco woman, native of the kingdom of Granada; her age thirty-four years, a little less or more." The same inventory includes a curious and complete account of all the tools and apparatus in Sebastian's workshop.
But the quaintest notice of them all, though it does not apprise us of his merit as a silversmith, is that concerning Cristobal de Escalante. Cristobal suffered, we are told, from "certain sores produced by humours in his left leg; wherefore the said leg undergoes a change and swells." He therefore makes a contract with one Juan Jimenez, "servant in the Royal Stables of His Majesty the King," and duly examined as a herbalist ("licensed," in the actual phrase, "to remedy this kind of ailments"), who is to heal his leg "by means of the divine will of the cure." As soon as Cristobal shall be thoroughly well, "in so much that his ailing leg shall be the other's equal in the fatness and the form thereof," he is to pay Jimenez five-and-fifty reales, "having already given him ten reales on account."
Probably, as Senor Ramirez de Arellano facetiously supposes, Crist6bal, after such a course of treatment, would be lame for all his life. At any rate, he died in 1605, though whether from the gentle handling of the stableman and herbalist is not recorded in these entries.