Francisco Bermúdez de Sotomayor

Director from 17 January 1884 to 20 July 1886
 

Francisco Bermúdez de Sotomayor

Francisco Bermúdez de Sotomayor (Rome, 1812 – Madrid, 20 July 1886) was the first director of the National Archaeological Museum to be promoted to the post from within the ranks of the specialist staff.

In 1841 he entered the National Library as an assistant and was assigned to the Museum of Medals, where he worked together with Castellanos de Losada. He had co-authored Galería Numismática Universal o Colección de monedas, medallas y bajo relieves antiguos y modernos with Castellanos and replaced him when the latter left the National Library in 1856.

When the contents of the National Library’s Museum of Medals and Antiquities were transferred to the newly founded National Archaeological Museum, Bermúdez de Sotomayor went with them as head of the Numismatics Section and, assisted by Basilio Castellanos de Losada and Carlos Castrobeza, supervised the transfer of the collection. The team installed the Coin Cabinet on the first floor of the Casino de la Reina mansion, simultaneously carrying out important inventorying and cataloguing tasks.

New acquisitions continued to flow into the museum during Bermúdez de Sotomayor’s term, most notably thanks to the purchase of one of the museum’s most important collections: that of Manuel de Góngora y Martínez. This collector had already donated and sold various prehistoric and Arab objects to the museum, but when he passed away a special committee led by Juan de Dios de la Rada y Delgado was set up, by virtue of the Royal Decree of 26 April 1884, to advise the government on the purchase of Góngora’s complete collection, which his widow and children had put up for sale.

After a period of several months illness that keeps him away from the direction of the museum, which stays provisionally in hands of Basilio Castellanos de Losada, Francisco Bermúdez de Sotomayor died on July 20, 1886