Spain Portfolio

Fishing nets at Palamos, Costa Brava – 1955

David Moore and Jenny Flintoff were married in London in October 1955 and honeymooned in France and Spain. Their destination in Spain was S’Agaro on the Costa Brava as guests of Senor don Jose Ensesa. Senor Ensesa, a fiercely nationalistic Catalonian, had commissioned David to produce a photographic essay on the unique enterprise he had created at S’Agaro. Jenny as a journalist provided a written account of the experience. The results were published in a stylish magazine owned by Ensesa given to promoting Catalonian culture.

Some of the pictures shown here illustrate how austerely beautiful was the built environment created by Ensesa. Villas, gardens, a winding promenade, an elegant stone parapet, a foaming rocky shoreline and one or two secluded and pretty beaches amounted to an exclusive enclave, an oasis of serenity standing in vivid contrast to the picturesque fishing villages which bordered it at either end.

S’Agaro occupied a stretch of coastline owned and developed under strict guidelines by Senor Ensesa, a Gerona-born millionaire. His father having donated the first block, Ensesa’s villa was complete in 1923 but incongruous in its desolate setting. He then started buying up the surrounding land which he sold on to friends and others on the condition they agreed to build to his prescription, that is, villas incorporating the sweeping, arched lines of old-style Catalonia. It was the making of S’Agaro (near the village of San Feliu), of its flow and harmony; and it was the first time, in Spain at least, that a seaside residential group had conformed to one man’s architectural vision.

Later Ensesa would turn his mind to attracting tourists. People came from all over the world, the cream of ‘tourisme’. They included Lord Astor, Selwyn Lloyd, Cole Porter and Orson Welles, whose grandiose Confidental Report was partly filmed there and featured the graceful neo-Grecian logia which looped its way across the bottom of Ensesa’s garden.

A highlight of the Moores’ stay was being taken by Ensesa to meet Salvador Dali at Port Lligat. They guessed he was waxing his moustache when he took so long to appear from inside his fisherman’s cottage. Asked about the same background in several of his pictures, he exclaimed: ‘Ah, the bay has the silver grey of the olive leaf, which I love; and the hills? They remind me of the rotten carcass of an ass’.

David and Jenny would return to S’Agaro the following year for a further series of pictures of the immediate region. The earlier photographs of Minorca in the Balearic Islands were taken to closely illustrate an article William Sansom wrote on the lure of Spain for The Geographical Magazine in 1954. Some of this archive would be used by Sydney Carter for a piece on ‘the charm of Minorca’ in a 1956 issue of the Tatler which he called ‘Admiral Lord Nelson Slept Here’. It was lucky perhaps that David had had the foresight to photograph Nelson’s house at San Antonio, an imposing residence which looks out over the waters of Mahon Harbour.

For enquiries about these photographs please email Lisa Moore, or Josef Lebovic (Josef Lebovic Gallery).

Villa Carlo, Mahon, capital of Minorca – 1954Donkey, Minorca – 1954 Fiesta decorations, Mahon, Minorca – 1954Boy and bicycle in Spanish port – 1954Spanish fishermen, Minorca – 1954 Church near Mahon, Minorca – 1954Spanish boys at rest in the afternoon, Minorca – 1954View from the Town Hall, Mahon, Minorca, Spain – 1954Sheltering from the sun, Minorca – 1954 Sheltering from the sun, 2, Minorca – 1954 Spanish fisherman rowing, Minorca – 1954A unit of the Spanish army going to firing practice on the island of Minorca – 1954Spanish house and boy – c.1955S'Agaro coastline – 1955S'Agaro coastline, 2 – c.1955Spanish fisherman, San Feliu – 1955S’Agaro, Costa Brava, Spain – 1955 Garden at Hostal de la Gavina, S'Agaro – 1955Neo-Grecian logia in the garden of the Hostal de la Gavina, S'Agaro – 1955Detail, garden of the Hostal de la Gavina, S'Agaro – 1955Fireworks at a ball in the garden of the Hostal de la Gavina, S'Agaro – 1955Costa Brava to the north of Tossa, S’Agaro – c.1955Wrought iron balcony, S'Agaro – c.1955Salvidore Dali, Port Lligat – 1955Jenny Moore, Salvidore Dali and Senor Enseasa at Port Lligat – 1955Bullfighter, Barcelona, Spain – 1955Fishing nets at Palamos, Costa Brava – 1955From the church bell tower at Sitges, Spain –1955 Silhouette on Spanish coast – c.1955 Cat on fishing boat, Costa Brava – 1955Old Spanish fisherman, Costa Brava – c.1955Spanish girls playing underneath tower, Costa Brava – 1955 Sitges beach, Costa Brava – 1955 Spanish port, Costa Brava – c.1956