Posada El Castillo; Edward James’ home in Xilitla

Before heading up into the jungle of Las Pozas, we stayed for one night in El Castillo.  Set high up in the Sierra Madre mountains, in the town of Xilitla (he-lit-la) the building is a curious blend of Mexican, English and Moorish styles with blurred lines between inside and outside, architecture and vegetation. It’s a stunning place to stay!

El Castillo  was designed and built by Plutarco Gastelum, and was also the former home of the artist and eccentric English millionaire, Edward James. Plutarco would later become Edward’s construction foreman at Las Pozas.

It’s now a guest house and beautiful colours, objects, shapes and shadows are everywhere.

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There are clues about the buildings and constructions we are to see later in Las Pozas; cast concrete shapes in repeating modular groups…

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Some of the wooden formworks used to create the constructions at Las Pozas. We spent some time drawing these, seeing if we could figure out what shapes they would create. Unfortunately I started to run a fever at this point, which started to skew my imagination!

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Edward James was a great supporter of the Surrealist movement, and befriended and supported dozens of Surrealist artists. There are examples of their work in the house; the photographs I took of Leonora Carrington’s murals at El Castillo didn’t come out, so here is one of her painting it at the time…

Leonora-Carrington-pintado-en-la-casona-de-Eward-James-en-XilitlaPhoto from Las mil notas y una nota

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It wasn’t all sunshine – Xilitla is in the most humid area of Mexico – here’s an example of a dramatic rainstorm!

 

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