Euskal Itsas Museoa

Juan de Alcega. Universal tailor


The exhibition lasts until October 13, 2019 (From April 3 to September 29, 2019)

The Basque Maritime Museum recovers the figure of Juan de Alcega, an illustrious figure from Gipuzkoa that memory has forgotten. He is the author of the first tailoring treaty published in Europe that under the title "Libro de geometria, pratica y traça, el qual trata de lo tocante al officio de sastre" ("Book of geometry, practice and traça, which deals with the subject of the tailor's office"), saw the light for the first time in Madrid in the year 1580 and it was reissued in 1589.

The work is a real manual for the elaboration of the garments of the time, which includes tips to avoid fabric losses and obtain the best performance. Alcega is a worthy representative of the entrepreneurial spirit of the Basque Country that faces the scarcity of resources with knowledge and work, and that sees in other lands and borders spaces of opportunity. Our protagonist also puts in value the textile industry of the time and its trade, which kept the ports of the Basque Country connected by sea routes with Europe and America.

We must emphasize that the main tailors and Basque couture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are closely related to our maritime history. On the one hand, the great tailors like Juan de Alcega are the maximum representatives of the entrepreneurial spirit and of the logics under which the economic activities, characteristics of the society of that time, were organized. On the other, we hypothesized that the close connections between the Basque maritime economy and textile industry and trade were factors of great weight for the emergence in our territory of tailors of the stature of Alcega.

Juan de Alcega project

The exhibition shows a recreation of a 16th century Basque whaler whose clothes have been made by the English association The Tudor Tailor.

In the context of the construction of the exact replica of the whaler San Juan, sunk in 1565 in Red Bay, Albaola Elkartea and the association The Tudor Tailor are carrying out the initiative called "Juan de Alcega Project".

The Tudor Tailor association is a specialist in the manufacture of facsimile reproductions of 16th century costumes. They have many years of experience and one of their main sources of information is the book by Juan de Alcega.

The objective of the project jointly initiated by both associations is to investigate around the garments used by the Basque sailors of the San Juan whaling boat to make faithful replicas of them. These clothes will be used by the sailors who will sail in the replica of the whaler San Juan.




Juan de Alcega. Sastre universal

Museo Marítimo Vasco, Donostia-San Sebastián, 2019, 71 p., il.

2,00 €



Tuesday to Saturday:
10:00 - 14:00 and 16:00 - 19:00

Sundays and public holidays:
11:00 - 14:00
16.00 - 19.00 (from 15th of june to 15th of september)

December 24 and 31:
10:00 - 14:00

Closed on Mondays. Closed January 1, 6 and 20, and December 25.

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