Basilio Sebastián Castellanos de Losada Serrano y Castro

Director from 20 July 1886 to 6 June 1891

 

Basilio Sebastián Castellanos de Losada

Castellanos de Losada (Madrid, 14 June 1807 – 6 June 1891) became interested in archaeology as a result of several trips to Italy. A teacher of Elementary Education, French and Italian, he was one of the founding fathers of the study of archaeology in Spain and the first person to teach the subject at cultural centres such as the Ateneo, Liceo Artístico and Instituto Español.

He was appointed to his post at the Royal Library by virtue of the Royal Order of 2 December 1833 and obtained the title of Antiquarian Curator of the Cabinet of Antiquities and Museum of Medals of the National Library by virtue of the Royal Order of 20 December 1851. He remained at the Library until 1856, when he was appointed director of the Escuela Normal de Instrucción Primaria teacher-training establishment. His Apuntes para un catálogo de los objetos que comprende la Colección del Museo de Antigüedades de la Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid (1847) were a crucial reference for the inventorying and cataloguing of the collections of the future National Archaeological Museum.

In 1837 he and Francisco Bermúdez de Sotomayor founded the Madrid Numismatic Society, renamed the Príncipe Alfonso Royal Academy of Archaeology and Geography in 1863. In October 1868, following several extensions of the academy’s aims, the institution was dissolved by Ruiz Zorrilla and its collections were absorbed by the National Archaeological Museum. Castellanos de Losada entered the Archivists and Librarians Corps in 1867 and was assigned to the newly created National Archaeological Museum.

On 12 November 1885 he was placed provisionally in charge of the museum after the then director, Bermúdez de Sotomayor, fell ill, and was confirmed as the new director on 20 July 1886 following the latter’s death. He supervised the interminable adaptation of the building and carried out a count of all the objects in the collections, but primarily concentrated his efforts on new acquisitions, most notably that of Joaquín Rodríguez Caro’s collection of prehistoric, Iberian and Graeco-Roman antiquities.