A Set of Two Large Framed Architectural Gilt and Polychromed Moulded Relief Plaster Model Based on Alhambra Palace, attributed to Rafael Contreras, Granada-Spain, Circa 1880s.

Identification Number: 596


Our fine and rare set of two framed architectural gilt and Polychromed Painted with red, blue and black moulded relief plaster or Stucco models are also based on Alhambra Place in Granada-Spain, the glued printed label at the back of both models suggest that they were made by the most well-known restorer of Alhambra Palace Mr. Rafael Contreras.

During the late 19th. century a fine collection of models was made by the restorer of Alhambra palace Don Rafael Contreras and his brother.

The two models are very important for they are considered to be a great surviving example which were made with great precision, passion and care by the family of the artist who were involved for protecting and maintaining the Alhambra Palace, also the majority of these models were sadly lost or damaged and only few have had survived and currently are among the world-renowned great collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.

The backside of both models has an old glued printed paper label with a text in Spanish translating the following:

  • An arch and doorway from the Alhambra Palace and mosque, the inscriptions found on the two parts of the model is been copied from the Original

– Blessings.

– The Nasrid emblem which was been translated as Only Gog is Victorious.

-Eternity and Happiness is being Fulfilled or the fulfilments of Hopes and wishes.

Collection of copy models of the Alhambra, Originals by D. Rafael Contreras, Restores of the Alhambra Palace, Granada-Spain.

(Reproduction is prohibited).

  • the second stamped label is been damages and some parts of the

Spanish script is been removed; the following is the translation of some of the remaining text:

Serial number of 30/58 written in pencil; the title translates to VIEWPOINT OF THE LINDARAXA of the ALHAMBRA

delo-R—— N to one-eight of the original.

Gifts to the most noble of all centuries.

——signals of the extirpation of the ancestry.

——–in an eye full of joy. And the pupil is truly our Lord vision or dream?

—collection of me

-Mlhambra (Alhambra) Originals by D. Ra— (Rafael Contreras)

—-or his son D. Mariano



Both wooden frames have the same dimensions and been coloured with Gold, Red & Gray.
The hight is 74 cm.
The width is 46cm.
The depth of the first model is 8cm and the second model is 5cm.


both models are in a very good condition but there are some small crakes which probably had been deliberately made by the artist to mimic the original damages which were found on the original architectural structures, and to support this theory is all the colours used (Gold, Red, Blue and black) are exactly similar to the residual of colours which are used elsewhere in the models, also this could potentially be Rafael Contreras indication to where the original damages were and that they had been later restored later by him.
Both frames still have the original steel hanging rings and cotton robes.
Probably the first model’s original black and white photo which is usually fitted behind the window is being replaced with a glass mirror.


The Western Art Market


The model was based on a combination of Facades from the Alhambra Palace, for the original please see the following:

For model no.1
1-The Alhambra in Detail, by Aurelio Cio Acedo, ISBN: 84-87282-01-6,
Please see the related details shown on the photos illustrated on pages 13, 14, 16, for related muqarnas details please see the arches illustrated on pages 63, 64, 65, for the identical arch including the eight-pointed star inscribed decoration please see the photo illustrated on page 69.

2- For related Alhambra Palace model made by Don Rafael Contreras, please see the Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection, Accession number : 86.15.2.

For model no.2

1-Moorish Architecture in Andalusia, by Marianne Barrucand Achim Bednorz, ISBN: 3-8228-9632-2, Taschen, please see the façade of the related photos in the Architecture of the Nasrids, Alhambra: Dome of the Sala de las Herma, illustrated on pages, 193 & 194, for almost identical Arch, please the Mihrab façade in the Madrasa of Yusuf I in Granada, the photo is illustrated on page212-213.

2- Arts And Cultures of Al-Andalus, the power of the Alhambra, exhibition held in the Alhambra Palace of Charles V, December 2013-March 2014, for other related phots, please see the Partal Oratory with the Mihrab illustrated on page 130-131& the Mirador of the Lindaraja illustrated on pages 256-257.

3- For an identical Alhambra Palace model made by Don Rafael Contreras, please see the Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection, Accession number: 85.13.1

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