A window into a long-lost world, these colorful tiles advertise a long-defunct range of purgative teas, harmless smokables, and diarrhea cures.
A window into a long-lost world, Farmacia Juanse in Madrid’s Malasaña neighborhood is covered in colorful tiles advertising a long-defunct range of purgative teas, harmless smokables, and diarrhea cures. The pharmacy’s tiles were created by Enrique Guijo, a master artisan interested in reviving traditional arts. After studying ceramic making in Talavera de la Reina, he created beautiful tiles throughout Madrid.
While much of his art has been lost, Guijo’s work can still be seen on the platforms of Chamberí Ghost Station, the garden of the Sorolla Museum, and a 1920s advert for soap recently uncovered in Sevilla metro that features a sassy Spanish flapper. Along with other commercial ceramic masterpieces of the time, the tiles for Farmacia Juanse were almost lost when they were covered with plaster during the dictatorship to avoid taxes on external advertising. They were later restored and are now considered a part of Madrid’s heritage.
More of Guijo’s work can be found at the Antigua Huevería, located just around the corner from the pharmacy. Incidentally, hueverías are farm shops that sell free-range organic eggs. Once common in Madrid, you can still find a few in business on the outskirts of the city.
Know Before You Go
If you’d like to see what Farmacia Juanse once looked like, check out the interior of Farmacia Cardona on nearby Plaza de la Luna which retains its original late 19th-century dark wood interior.
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