Arratia, Mateo de

Active 1561-1594

Previous Next
Person Born Died Gender Person ID
Mateo de Arratia 1540/ca M P0254

Instrument(s) Professional group Social status Social sphere Why is the person listed?
guitarra tiorba citara vihuela Violero Artisan Urban Maker Maker (violero) Violero (inst maker)

Years active Place active Century Region
1561-1594 Toledo 16cent/3/late Castilla
Biographical information

This summary is from Romanillos and Harris (romanillos2002, 23) distilled from Reynaud’s material (reynaudPT).
• 1560 the violero Mateo de Arratia was living opposite Toledo Cathedral.
• 1561 He was one of four violeros listed in the “Relación de los vecinos… de Toledo” i.e. 1561 census (reynaudPT, 400).
• 1573.08.10 fourteen year old Yuste de Aguilera was apprenticed to Mateo de Arratía for four years. (AHPT 1559, f. 449, cited in reynaudPT, 405)
• 1574 Mateo de Arratía declared he owed the merchant, Juan de Carrasco from Toledo, 178 reales in Spanish silver for 6 arrobas and 15 libras of ebony (seys arrobas e quince libras de hebano neto que de vos compre e recibi) [=approx 75kg]. He agreed to pay the money in two instalments. Probably Castillian ebony, i.e. from “Indias”. The price of 6072 mrs shows it to have been expensive. reynaudPT 409 1574.03.17 [AHPT 1997, f 146v]
• Mateo de Arratía was married to María de Tofino who had been previously married to the violero Juan de Portillo.
• 1575.06.20 Arratia’s wife María de Tofiño dictates her will. It tells us that Mateo was a member of the confraternity of the Santa Vera Cruz of the parish church of Santa Justa. She left her estate to the sons of her first marriage, Diego and Francisco Portillo, probably from husband violero Juan de Portillo. (AHPT 1564, f 546) [reynaudPT, 417]
• 1575 (1575.06.30) Following the death of María de Tofiño, his brother-in-law, the violero Pedro de Tofiño made an inventory in order to assess the value of Mateo de Arratía’s workshop, giving details of tools, instruments and wood. [see Appendix No. 13 in romanillosD]. Includes details of manufacturing techniques and processes and of the value of instruments: vihuelas, guitarras, cítaras, guitarrones (Reynaud interprets these as theorbos!). [AHPT 1564, fol 930 - see reynaudPT, 407.
• 1575 It seems that Arratia subcontracted some of the decoration of his instruments (ataraceas) to Yuste de Aguilera. In 1575 he owed him 272 mrs for this work. (reynaudPT, 409)
• 1575-1576. On 1575.06.30 Arratia sells 22 libras of ebony to one of his colleagues for 1122 mrs. On 1576.02.07 Arratia is taxed (alcabala) on the amount of wood he bought 1496 mrs. (reynaudPT, 410)
• 1583 (1583.01.20) Arratia takes on another apprentice AHPT 1586, f 613, (reynaudPT, 405)
• 1584 (1584.03.12) Arratia buys 9 arrobas and 15 libras of high-quality ebano de Portugal--probably from Brazil-- for the exorbitant price of 17986 mrs, paid in four installements. (reynaudPT, 409)
• 1584 (1584.03 28). María de los Ángeles, Arratia’s second wife dictates her will. Her estate totalled 40000 mrs. [AHPT 1587, f 1481].
• 1587 Arratia paid 22,125 maravedies for a black slave aged about twenty-six years. The slave was branded on both cheeks and was considered a drunkard and a thief. (reynaudPT, 416) [AHPT 1598, f 965] 1587.05.09.
• 1589 he made a contract of ten months with the violero from Sevilla, Pablo de Herrera, to provide him with board, lodging and a salary of 782 maravedies per month in return for his work as a journeyman. Mateo de Arratía took over the debt of 3,740 maravedies that Pablo de Herrera had outstanding for the purchase of 4.75 yards of material. In an inventory prepared by Juan de Herrera of the items he was taking into his marriage there were included two guitars valued at 66 reales, one made by a famous Sevillian maker and the other one made by Arratía with a carved and fretted ebony rose (dos guitarras la una de Arratía de laço mordido de hebano y la otra ni mas ni menos de un maestro afamado de Sevilla, sesenta y seys reales).
• 1590 (day and month illegible) Mateo de Arratia takes on an apprentice. AHPT 1604, f. 1627 (reynaudPT, 405)
• 1590.05.28 A guitar by Mateo de Arriata with ebony ribs is listed in an inventory (AHPT leg 2059, fol 811 cited in reynaudPT, 392)
• 1594 Mateo de Arratía lived in the called del Hombre de Palo. Details of the contents of his house - very modest [reynaudPT, 415]
Instruments by Mateo de Arratia were owned by: Juan de Herrera (guitar), María Ortiz (guitar).[see their respective entries]
• reynaudPT 410. Arratia bought 16 packets of vihuela strings made in Germany. He appears to have machinery for making strings of various dimensions. [reynaudPT 415, 416] details of financial dealings - loans

Related persons
Yuste de Aguilera was his apprentice
Pedro de Tofiño was his brother-in-law
Juan de Herrera was his client
María Ortiz was his client
Juan de Portillo was his colleague
Pedro de Arratia was his family (unspecified)

Source documents
Date Document
1584.01.05 Inventory of María Ortiz.
1590.05.28 Inventory of Juan de Herrera before his marriage.
1561 Toledo, 1561 census.
1573.08.10 Mateo de Arratia takes Yuste de Aguilera as an apprentice.
1583.01.20 Mateo de Arratia, apprenticeship contract.
1590 Mateo de Arratia, aprrenticeship contract.
1575.06.30 Mateo de Arratia, inventory of workshop
1587.05.09 Mateo de Arratia buys a slave.
1575.06.20 María de Tofiño, will.
1584.03.28 María de los Ángeles, will.

Ref Author Item Pages
reynaudPT Reynaud, François. La Polyphonie tolédane et son milieu des premiers témoignages aux environs de 1600. Paris: CNRS, 1996. 392,400, 405,407,409,410,415,416
romanillos2002 Romanillos, José Luis and Marian Harris Winspear. The Vihuela de mano and the Spanish Guitar: A Dictionary of the Makers of Plucked and Bowed Musical Instruments of Spain (1200-2002). Guijosa (Guadalajara): Sanguino Press, 2002. 23