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Antoni Amatller Costa came from a family of agricultures from Molins de Rei that can be traced back to the 16th century. At the time of the French Revolution, his grandfather Gabriel Amatller i Mas (1768-1830), the youngest of the eight children of a wealthy farmer from Molins de Rei, went to look for work in Barcelona, a city that was still surrounded by walls. On the 5th of June 1794, now a citizen of the capital and a successful chocolatier, he married Antònia, the daughter of fellow chocolatier, Domingo Ràfols. Soon after, he opened his own studio in a rented house, in which he also lived, in Carrer Manresa, very close to Santa Maria del Mar. Despite difficult periods during the Napoleonic Wars, business prospered and soon enough he was able to become the owner of his own home.

When Gabriel died in 1830, the business passed to his two sons, Antoni (1812-1878) and Domingo (1814-1877) Amatller Ràfols. Together they continued to expand the business in a Barcelona that was still suffocated by the walls that surrounded it, but that was starting to show the first signs of the Industrial Revolution (the Barcelona-Mataró train line, 1848 / chimneys in Poble Sec). They also participated in the very process that was transforming the city by building their first factory and providing work for some fifty workers. They could therefore be considered co-protagonists of the movement that accomplished the approbation of the decree for the demolition of the walls (27th of June 1843) and the subsequent implementation of Cerdà’s plan for Barcelona’s Eixample district.

Rosend Nobas:
portrait of Antoni Amatller Ràfols


decree dated the 27th of June 1843

decree dated the 8th of July 1843

Ildefons Cerdà: reform plan and Barcelona’s Eixample

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