The unique history of the Spanish maritime toy is shown until January 20 in the House of Columbus, in the exhibition The sea of toys!, which gathers a valuable selection of 170 pieces belonging to the private collection of José Antonio Quiroga Y María Covadonga Monte.
The sample reflects, through more than a hundred pieces, the evolution of toys related to the sea made in Spain from the late nineteenth century to the twenty-first century. An important private repertoire of toys of national manufacture, whose funds have participated in more than eighty exhibitions in different Spanish cities for all types of entities and institutions. In this case, the House of Columbus and the Government of the Canary Islands make it possible that this curious collection can be seen in Gran Canaria.
The evolution of the toy store reflects the social, political, cultural and technological changes. In The sea of toys, articulated around the thematic sections Full sail !, Steamboats, The underwater world, To the beach! To the beach !, Pleasure boats, Ocean liners, Cardboard theater and It's war!, the public will be able to admire from the wooden classics the tin toys that began to be manufactured in Spain at the end of the 19th century, until they reached the plastic toy production, which started in 1949.
For Elena Acosta, director of the House of Columbus, "since we were aware of the existence of this exhibition, we are interested in bringing it and having been able to do it around Christmas, it has been a double fate, it is not just an exhibition for children, although these will have their special role in it, but we trust that adult visitors, through these toys sailors, revive the illusions and memories of their childhood, while the children of today discover how was the playful world of their elders.
As responsible for the exhibition, José Antonio Quiroga, is very satisfied to bring her to a place like the Canary Islands, in which the link between the game and the sea is more than evident: 'our pieces cover the years 1870 and 1970, and we believe that there will be many visitors to this show that they will have in their memory been entertained with the same or similar toys, and that emotional bond with the pieces gives them a special charm ".
Toy ships, sailboats, pirate ships, steam merchants, ocean liners, recreational craft or warships abound in the exhibition. From the most desired, driven by clockwise springs or other more or less sophisticated propulsion systems (electric motor, steam, elastic rubber, string spring or even reaction by chemical substance), to other more modest models, but not less evocative, such as sailboats powered by the wind or manual drag boats.
Some master pieces that could be called "toy marina" are presented for the first time in the Canary Islands, among them, the warship of Jorge Rais, the Vapor San Luis, of manufacturing Roca Farriols, or the merchant ship, of Enrique Rais, manufactured respectively in the decades between 1890 and 1920 by the tinsmiths of the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona.
These large toys, decorated by hand with natural pigments and assembled with the characteristic tin solder, are of exceptional quality. Reliable reproductions at scale, such as seaplane Plus Ultra, released on the market in 1928, emulating the aircraft Dornier Wal that reached its celebrity when taking off from Palos de la Frontera and landing in Buenos Aires -with the first stop in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria-, achieving one of the greatest feats of air navigation when crossing the South Atlantic for the first time in history.
The dolls Mariquita Pérez And his brother Juanín (1940s); the doll Mari Pepa Mendoza (1942); the two sloops (1965 and 1966) of Toys Giner and Cayto, respectively; the insurmountable Madelman (1968-1975), by Madel and the well-known doll Nancy (1972) Famosa, are other attractions of the exhibition.
These toys – many of them unique in Spanish collecting – were the best means to express the imagination, skill and creativity of many children's generations, as well as the most effective models to approach the behaviors and values of adults, since Yesterday, just like today, learning to play is learning to live.