The Story of Santa Barbara - The De la Guerra Family

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

De la Guerra Family Coffee and Tea Service, 1814
Sterling silver, Gerardus Boyce, New York, N.Y. maker
Coffee urn, two teapots, sugar and creamer
Gift of Alfred Dibblee Poett
1987.23.1 - 5

De la Guerra Dinnerware, c. 1804
Two plates from a set of twenty-four gifted to José de la Guerra on his marriage in Mexico City.
Pure silver, Mexican
Inscribed José de la Guerra y Noriega Noveles, 1779-España
Frederica Dibblee Poett Bequest
8.71.73.2 and 1999.98.12

De la Guerra Platter, c. 1804
Pure silver, Mexican
Inscribed José de la Guerra y Noriega Noveles, 1779-España
Frederica Dibblee Poett Bequest
1999.98.6

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

"After supper, the waltzing began . . . Don Juan with a sister of the bride . . . no one else taking the floor. They were repeatedly and loudly applauded, the old men and women jumping out of their seats in admiration and the young waving their hats and handkerchiefs."

- Richard Henry Dana, 1836, Two Years Before The Mast Describing the wedding reception of Ana María de la Guerra and Alfred Robinson

Moonlight, c. 1924
[Casa de la Guerra in Spanish Times]
Alexander F. Harmer (American, 1856-1925)
Oil on canvas
24 x 36 inches
Museum Acquisition Fund
Through the generosity of the Susan Trenwith Estate
1990.142

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Ownership of silver provided a sense of aristocracy and guaranteed financial stability during the colonization of California. Under Spanish law, silversmithing was illegal, except in urban centers like Mexico City where the purity in finished pieces could be assured. This produced heavier objects of a higher luster unlike any silver in the world.p>

Desk Set of José de la Guerra, c. 1791-1818
Pure silver, Mexican, Neoclassical Style
The urns are inkwells and sand shakers.
Gift of Virginia Dibblee 12.81.82.1

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Spanish native Don José de la Guerra y Noriega (1779-1858) was the founding patriarch of the family in this country. De la Guerra wielded tremendous influence and held several positions of responsibility during the Spanish and Mexican eras, including comandante of the Santa Barbara presidio. Affectionately known as El Gran Capitán, he successfully defended Santa Barbara against the privateer Hipólito Bouchard. Don José de la Guerra was considered Santa Barbara's "first citizen", and the entire community looked to him for protection and assistance. Upon his death, he was interred beneath the altar of Mission Santa Barbara.

José de la Guerra y Noriega, 1850
Leonardo Barbieri (Italian, 1810-c1873)
Oil on canvas
35 x 28 inches
Frederica Dibblee Poett Bequest
1999.98.02

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

A Welcome to the Casa, 1932
W. H. D. Koerner (American, 1878-1938)
Oil on canvas
36 x 30 in.
Gift of Ruth Koerner Oliver
11.82.76.1

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

This exquisite figure was owned by Jose De la Guerra and graced Casa De la Guerra for many years. Look closely and you will see that Madonna's gold crown is accented with Baroque pearls, rubies, and a 2¼ carat diamond.

Madonna and Christ
Maker unknown, Peruvian, c. 1820
Alabaster, jewels, and polychrome
17 ¾ x 6 ½ inches
Gift of Delfina Russell Mott
2004.103

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