Carrera y Carrera and inspiration in nature: the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid

September 30, 2014 Press

Carrera y Carrera & the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid

Carrera y Carrera has always looked to nature for inspiration: animals, floral motifs, or the sun have been recurring themes in the collections of the firm.  One of the places that on many occasions has served as inspiration to the firm’s designers is Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid which this month celebrates its 258th anniversary.  Carrera y Carrera commemorates the occasion with a series of photographs taken in this natural setting.

On October 17, 1755, Ferdinand VI ordered the creation of the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid, which was installed in the Orchard of Migas Calientes near what is today called the Puerta de Hierro, on the banks of the Manzanares River.  The garden contained more than 2000 plants, collected by botanist and surgeon José Quer on his many trips throughout the Iberian Peninsula or through exchange with other European botanists.

Detail of the Gardenias ring from Carrera y Carrera on one of the benches of the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid.

In 1774, Charles III gives instructions to transfer the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid from the Orchard of Migas Calientes to its current location on the Paseo del Prado, where it is inaugurated in 1781.  The architects in charge of the project were Sabatini, the King’s architect, and Juan de Villanueva, creator of the Prado Museum and the Astronomical Observatory.

Located in the heart of Madrid, this garden serves as a respite in the middle of the city.  It is common to see butterflies fluttering around the flowers in the garden.  Just as the Baile de Mariposas pendant from Carrera y Carrera in white gold, blue topaz, and diamonds sits on this flower.

Since its creation, the Royal Botanical Garden has developed the teaching of Botany, sponsored expeditions to America and the Pacific, commissioned drawings for large collections of plant prints, and gathered important herbaria that provided the basis for describing new species for Science. 

Botanical print from the 18th century belonging to the Royal Botanical Expedition of the New Kingdom of Granada, led by José Celestino Mutis for 34 years.

Today, October 17, 2014, the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid celebrates its 258th anniversary.  Since its inauguration in 1755, it has become one of the most important botanical gardens in Europe and a popular place for Madrid locals.  Carrera y Carrera wishes to congratulate the Royal Botanical Garden with this photograph taken at its facilities where the Garzas ring, part of the Seda Imperial collection, shines with all its splendor.

By the beginning of the 19th century, the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid had become one of the most important botanical gardens of Europe, mainly due to the scientific collections it housed and the work of its director, Antonio José Cavanilles, one of the most important botanists in the history of Spanish science.  Cavanilles would reorganize the Garden, the herbarium, and the nurseries, and give the center an international relevance.  Along with its scientific use, the Garden was frequented often during spring and summer by the upper class and provided medicinal plants free to the public.

Tiger Ring by Carrera y Carrera in a natural setting in the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid.

The dahlia flower is the emblem of the Society of Friends of the Royal Botanical Garden.  Dahlias originated in Mexico.  The first species of the genus Dahlia first bloomed in Europe in the Royal Botanical Garden.  The flower was collected in Mexico during the Spanish Botanical Expedition led by Martin Sessé and later described by Antonio José Cavanilles in 1789 as Dahlia pinnata, dedicated to a student of Linnaeus, Andreas Dahl.

Pictured here, the Elephant pendant from Carrera y Carrera sits atop dahlia in the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid.

The unmistakable symbol of fall is leaves dropping from the trees to the ground, creating a totally autumnal vision.  During this time, the paths of the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid are covered by leaves with different shades of brown.  In this picture, the Baile de Mariposas ring from Carrera y Carrera in white gold, blue topaz, and diamonds is completely integrated with this autumnal perspective.

The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid is located in a privileged setting: the Paseo del Prado.  It is the oldest historic garden in Madrid, listed on the Spanish Cultural Heritage register, and one of the most important boulevards of the city.  It is also one of the primary cultural centers of Spain as the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums are located on it, with the Reina Sofía Art Museum in close proximity.  This garden is a favorite strolling spot for Madrid locals.  In this picture we see the Sol y Sombra pendant from Carrera y Carrera on one of the numerous granite benches that can be found across the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid.

The Royal Botanical Expedition to the New Kingdom of Granada (1783-1817) was a project financed by the Spanish Crown when Colombia had not yet gained its independence.  During the 34 years of the expedition led by the Spaniard José Celestino Mutis, many botanical drawings were completed illustrating the flora of Colombia.  The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid retains more than 7,100 drawings from this expedition that are true works of art.  As are the jewels of Carrera y Carrera, such as the Emperatriz ring in yellow and white gold with blue sapphire and diamonds.

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