For those who travel to Toledo, these historical photographs may surprise you by their stark landscapes in contrast to the tourist torrent that we know Toledo to be today. For those of you who adventured with me on the Art Lovers Trip 2018 to Toledo, these photos will be of greater interest.

In 1906, the 43 years old Sorolla was at the height of his career. He had just sold most of his 500 works, oils and drawings, at a spring exhibition in the Gallery of Georges Petit in Paris. He celebrated by spending a few weeks in the flashy tourist resort of Biarritz, of course painting landscapes, so different from those of the Mediterranean. At the end of this summer, he was heading back to his residence in Madrid but decided to jaunt over to the once grand old city of Toledo, then neglected as the capital due to the rise of Madrid city.

This decision came from his close relationship with friend and associate Aureliano de Beruete with whom he shared a fondness, even a love for Toledo .

Several letters between the two of them suggested that Sollora could come to Toledo to assist his friend with the much needed actions being taken to recognise the works of El Greco and the inauguration of the El Greco house-museum.

Sorolla arrived in Toledo on October 21, at first alone, and days later joined by his wife Clotilde and their children.

Their hotel of choice was the extraordinary first class hotel Gran Hotel Castilla, now the General Treasury of Social Security. This was the hotel to rub shoulders with illustrious and wealthy visitors, bourgeois, dealers in search of artistic heritage, and nobles such as Beruete himself.

During his stay in Toledo, he produced twelve canvases. The family returned to their home in Madrid on November 4.

* Report by Arts Historian and Educator , Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A. (
* Copyright Karla Darocas 2018* (no part of this text may be replicated)

This is such a tranquil photo of Sorolla and his wife, son and daughter lounging up against the a tower of the Castle of San Servando. However, for the Spain Lifestyle Arts Lovers gang know this tower as part of the Castle hostel were we stayed for 3 night. It looks so different now, but this was back in 1906 while Sorolla and his contemporary artist collective were determined to capture an essence of Spain that had nothing to do with the deplorable state of Spanish politics

Here we see Sorolla busy actually painting the Castle of San Servando and to his left arm is the Alcántara  bridge, which we walked over and back every day of our Toledo trip. We also see the stylish suit being worn by Sorolla's wife, Clotilde Garcia del Castillo, whom he had first met in 1879, while working in her father's studio. In a pretty hat and dress on the right is Elena and beside her is their son Joaquin. There was another child in the Sorolla family, Maria, who would would have been 16 years of age and maybe is the photographer of this picture.

Looking into the rushing water of the Tagus river are three family Sorolla, Maria, Clotilde and Elena, who looks to have a rock to plunge over the edge. And of course, looming up on the hill opposite sits the Castle of San Servando.

Young son Joaquin walks the plateau around the Castle of San Servando looking like a Shepard with his walking staff. The castle looks so isolated and barren without the big trees that surround it today. 

This final photo shows our hero Sorolla and his lovely wife posing by the scenic 14th-century pedestrian San Martin's Bridge offering a small view of the Tagus River with the absolutely royal and fabulous Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes elevated in the background.

Photos: copyright (c) The Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports