Hotel 1898

PROMOTERS: THE LÓPEZ COUPLE, MARQUISES OF COMILLAS

Antonio López López

Years later, Antonio became first Marquis of Comillas and Grandee of Spain.

(Comillas, 1817- Barcelona, ​​1883). From 1878, first Marquis of Comillas.

Antonio López was born to a humble family in Comillas in 1817. His father died when he was two and his mother had a difficult time making ends meet, raising three children by selling fish and vegetables from her garden in Cardosa (where years later Antonio López would have the Comillas Seminary built).

He went to live with relatives in Andalusia before he was ten. In 1831 he emigrated as a teenager to Cuba, where he worked at menial jobs for ten years until he started his own business on the island with another Spanish immigrant friend. These were his entrepreneurial beginnings, when he began networking with other fellow countrymen who had made their fortune on the island, especially Catalans. One of these was Andreu Bru, the father of Lluïsa Bru, who Antonio López married.

His businesses and his marriage to Lluïsa made him one of the most influential men in Spain in the late 19th century. He set up over 200 businesses, featuring Banco Hispano Colonial, the Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas (General Tobacco Company of the Philippines) and the shipowning Compañía Trasatlántica (founded in Cuba in 1850 as the Compañía de Vapores Correos A. López).

In 1853, as a result of several earthquakes and outbreaks of cholera on the island, the López Bru family decided to return to Spain, where they took up residence in Barcelona. From then on they travelled frequently to Comillas, where they spent their summers and invited King Alfonso XII to stay with them in 1881.

By that time, Antonio López was a respected returned emigrant who had close ties with the monarch, lending him economic and logistical support with his ships to counter the uprisings in Africa and Cuba. As a token of his gratitude, years later the King gave him the noble title of first Marquis of Comillas and Grandee of Spain.

In Barcelona, the family first lived in the large building on the Rambla dels Estudis, which they shared with the headquarters of their companies, and later moved across the street to the Palau Moja, a stately, neoclassical home on the corner of Portaferrissa street.

They bought that mansion in 1870 and five years later took up residence after making extensive renovations and decorating it to reflect their wealth.

The López-Bru family was an outstanding example of the wealthy bourgeoisie in Barcelona with noble titles; the Catalan leading poet and writer Fr Jacint Verdaguer was their family chaplain and confident for many years, and to him Antonio López was a benefactor and donor.

As a wealthy returned emigrant, he was also respected in Comillas, where he invested part of his profits to promote and finance the building of the Sobrellano Palace, the chapel-mausoleum and the Pontifical University Seminary, among others, as well as for introducing the Catalan Modernist artistic movement, led by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, who completed and decorated the interior of the Seminary.

Claudio López Bru

Antonio López and Lluïsa Bru had four children; three were born in Cuba (M. Lluïsa, Isabel and Antonio) and the fourth, (Claudio) in Barcelona.

(Barcelona, ​​1853 - Madrid, 1925). From 1883, second Marquis of Comillas).

Antonio López and Lluïsa Bru had four children; three were born in Cuba (M. Lluïsa, Isabel and Antonio) and the fourth, (Claudio) in Barcelona.

Claudio López Bru was born on 15 May 1853. His older brother’s premature death made him the heir to his father’s empire and title of Marquis of Comillas. His degree in civil and canon law reflected his own duality: his spiritual dimension as a devout Catholic and his human dimension as an accomplished businessman.

He married María Gayón when she was 17. They had no children, for it is said that he took a vow of chastity due to his religious upbringing. A further example of his Catholic vocation is his 1894 appointment as Vice-president of the Core Committee of Catholic Action, a position he held for 30 years. He also created Catholic, agricultural and labour unions while also promoting several social activities all over the country.

But the allegations of slave trade as well as of the transport of goods related to wars in the Spanish colonies surrounding the businesses he inherited from his father have forever put a damper on the process in favour of his beatification.

He died on 18 April 1925 in Madrid, at the age of 72.