Jose de la Guerra: Don and Godfather
The Santa Barbara Historical Museum recently held a gala celebration for the opening of its renovated galleries. The museum's curator, David Bisol, had put together an extraordinarily complete and unusual exhibit of Santa Barbara's history incorporating rare artifacts, photographs, paintings and furnishings. I was literally transported back in time as I walked through the oak-shaded courtyard next to Casa Covarrubias, the 1817 adobe, and down the aisles of the gallery. Then I came upon a portrait of Jose Antonio Julian de la Guerra y Noriega, painted in 1850 by Leonardo Barbieri. Don Jose, sporting a dark camorra (head scarf), peered down at me with soft olive-green eyes and a bemused expression as if to say, "You don't know very much. You've got a lot to learn."