There are many important museums and galleries vying for attention in central Malaga, but for a dazzling reflection of artistry from different historical eras the Museum of Glass & Crystal is something special.
Cabinets of colourful glass artefacts that shimmer, shine and sparkle are positioned in rooms exquisitely furnished in period style with antique furnishings, rugs, mirrors and paintings.
These elegant salons, with three delightful patios, are on two levels inside a restored 18th century grand house, or palacio, originally built for an Italian family the private collection of over 3000 pieces belongs to Cambridge educated Gonzalo Fernandez-Prieto who moved to Malaga from Madrid having become smitten with the city, and a third are permanently on display with others rotated.
On the ground floor there are English, Pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows, notably ‘Suffer Little Children to Come Unto Me’ designed by the artist Edward Burne-Jones and made by William Morris Co. Other sections are dedicated to Egyptian, Phoenician, Greco-Roman, Byzantine and Islamic displays.
From the 16th and 17th centuries, Catalan, Venetian, Dutch and Bohemian lead glass feature, moving into the 18th with that from La Granja, English cameo glass by Thomas Webb from the 19th and that of Lalique and Whitefriars representing the 20th century.
It’s a privilege to enjoy such a beautiful and unusual museum, for the price of a small entrance fee. All visits are guided, with Spanish, English, French and Italian spoken, and the tour takes about an hour.
Long before singer Chris de Burgh had penned perhaps his best known hit, another ‘lady in red’ was inspiring the accomplished French painter Henry Gervex (1852-1929) in a work he titled El Vestido Rojo (the red dress), which hangs in this museum of decorative arts.
Open from 11am to 7pm, Tuesday to Sunday (closed throughout August), the Museum of Glass & Crystal is opposite San Felipe Neri Church at Plazuela Santisimo Cristo de la Sangre 2.