The Queluz National Palace is a Portuguese 18th-century palace located at Queluz, a freguesia of the modern-day Sintra Municipality, in the Lisbon District. One of the last great Rococo buildings to be designed in Europe, the palace was conceived as a summer retreat for Dom Pedro of Braganza, later to become husband and then king consort to his own niece, Queen Maria I. It served as a discreet place of incarceration for Queen Maria as her descent into madness continued in the years following Dom Pedro's death in 1786. Following the destruction by fire of the Ajuda Palace in 1794, Queluz Palace became the official residence of the Portuguese prince regent, John VI, and his family and remained so until the Royal Family fled to Brazil in 1807 following the French invasion of Portugal.
Work on the palace began in 1747 under the architect Mateus Vicente de Oliveira. Despite being far smaller, the palace is often referred to as the Portuguese Versailles. From 1826, the palace slowly fell from favour with the Portuguese sovereigns. In 1908, it became the property of the state. Following a serious fire in 1934, which gutted the interior, the palace was extensively restored, and today is open to the public as a major tourist attraction.
One wing of the palace, the Pavilion of Dona Maria, built between 1785 and 1792 by the architect Manuel Caetano de Sousa, is now a guest house allocated to foreign heads of state visiting Portugal.
Architecture and history
<imagemap id="Victuallers"> Image:GianonewplanQueluz.JPG|left|300px|thumb|Simplified diagram showing layout of the palace (not to scale). This key is referred to throughout the article - Click on numbers for images and detail. circle 735 313 42 rect 526 255 606 396 rect 289 274 381 346 3.Court of the corps de logis rect 253 238 419 392 circle 330 591 59 rect 577 648 665 793 rect 111 658 190 949 rect 112 549 199 656 rect 132 330 201 546 9.Robillon wing rect 172 279 247 331 10.Colonnade rect 92 202 183 311 rect 642 423 784 566 rect 511 166 608 246 13.North wing rect 260 6 574 156 14.Topiary parterre rect 791 2 828 949 15.Road circle 721 717 34 rect 3 6 863 948 Use button to enlarge or cursor to see more
desc none </imagemap>
Queluz's architecture is representative of the final extravagant period of Portuguese culture that followed the discovery of Brazilian gold in 1690. From the beginning of the 18th century many foreign artists and architects were employed in Portugal to satisfy the needs of the newly enriched aristocracy; they brought with them classical ideas of architecture which derived from the Renaissance. In its design, Queluz is a revolt against the earlier, heavier, Italian-influenced Baroque which preceded the Rococo style throughout Europe. Thus it came into the hands of Dom Pedro, the second son of João V.
The architect, Mateus Vicente de Oliveira, had trained under Ludovice of Ratisbon and Jean Baptiste Robillon during the construction of the royal palace and convent of Mafra. The more sombre and massive classical palace at Mafra does not appear to have influenced the design for Queluz, which is in a lighter, more airy style.
By the death of Dom Pedro in 1786, all the interior work was completed. This was fortunate, as from this period his widow's mental health deteriorated, until in 1794, she and her court took up official and full-time residence at Queluz. There the now completely insane Queen could be hidden from the view of her subjects. Her eldest son, later King João VI, was appointed Regent and ruled from Lisbon and the great palace at Mafra.
In 2004, the World Monuments Fund began a program to restore the lead sculptures by British sculptor John Cheere, as well as some of the other features of the garden. The project is ongoing.
The interior of the palace received no less attention to detail and design than the exterior. French artisans were employed to decorate the rooms, many of which are small, their walls and ceilings painted to depict allegorical and historical scenes. Polished red bricks were frequently used for the floors, for a appearance as well as coolness in hot weather. The Music Room is decorated in a more neoclassical style than the other state rooms, reflecting its redesign in the period following the Baroque Rococo in the final half of the 18th century. This room was the setting for the large concerts for which the palace was famous. The room still contains the Empire grand piano decorated with gilt appliques.
The Hall of Ambassadors
The Hall of Ambassadors ("Sala dos Embaixadores"), sometimes called the throne room or the Hall of Mirrors, was designed by Robillon in 1757 and is one of the largest reception rooms in the palace.
The Queen's Boudoir
This was one of the private rooms used by Maria I during her time at Queluz. It is designed in the form of a , with a trellis pattern on the ceiling which is reflected in the design of the marquetry floor (illustrated below), giving the impression of being in a pergola rather than an interior.]] Queluz is famed for the glory of its gardens, This surreal theme continues elsewhere in the gardens where such motifs as the rape of the Sabines and the death of Abel alternate with statuary of donkeys dressed in human clothing. Deeper in the gardens is a grotto complete with a cascade. Later to be a popular feature in Portuguese gardens, the Queluz cascade was the first artificial waterfall to be constructed near Lisbon. These additions were destroyed in the fire of 1934.<ref name="IPPAR."/> To escape the forces of Napoleon I in 1807, the Portuguese royal family abandoned Queluz and fled to Brazil. The French occupational forces took control of the palace, and their commander, Marshal Junot, made several alterations to the building.<ref name="Fielding, p. 279."/> On the royal family's return from exile in 1821, the King preferred to live at Mafra, leaving his wife, the Spanish Queen Carlotta Joaquina, to occupy Queluz with her aunt Princess Maria Francisca Benedita.<ref name="IPPAR."/> The King visited Queluz infrequently. It was on one of these rare visits that João VI died in the circular domed King's Bedroom in 1826.<ref name="Fielding, p.279."/>
Carlotta Joaquina, sometimes described as sinister, is said to have been ambitious and violent. Her features were reportedly ugly, and she was short in stature. Whatever her shortcomings she lived in great style at Queluz, employing an orchestra which William Beckford described as the finest in Europe.<ref name="Lowndes, p. 181."/> The Queen also had a small private theatre in the gardens, of which nothing remains today.<ref name="Lowndes, p. 181."/> She died at the palace in 1830.<ref name="Lowndes, p. 181."/>
Following the death of Carlotta Joaquina, Queluz saw only intermittent use as a royal residence and was not again the primary residence of Portuguese royals. Carlotta Joaquina's son King Miguel used the palace during the three-year civil war which he fought against his brother King Pedro IV,<ref name="IPPAR."/> before being forced by his brother in 1834 to abdicate and go into exile. A year later, Pedro IV died of tuberculosis at the age of 35 at Queluz, the palace of his birth. Pedro I's daughter Maria II ruled until her death in 1853 and was succeeded by her son Pedro V. Following his untimely death in the cholera epidemic of 1861, the throne passed to his brother Luís. From this time the royal family lived chiefly at the rebuilt Ajuda Palace in Lisbon. On the assassination of Luís' son Carlos I in 1908, the palace passed into the ownership of the state. Portugal was in the turmoil of revolution and the monarchy fell two years later.
Queluz, National Monument
In the 21st century, the palace gardens, once an irrigated oasis in the centre of parched farmland, are bounded by the "Radial de Sintra" motorway which feeds traffic towards Lisbon and away from Sintra. However, transportation and tourism have been the saviours of the palace. Since 1940 it has been open to the public as a museum. It houses much of the former royal collection, including furniture, Arraiolos carpets, paintings, and Chinese and European ceramics and porcelain.<ref name="IPPAR"/>
In 1957, the "Dona Maria Pavilion" in the palace's east wing was transformed into a guest house for visiting heads of state.<ref name="IPPAR"/> Today the palace's principal rooms are therefore not simply museums, but the setting for official entertaining.
The town square that the palace faces, "Largo do Palácio de Queluz", remains relatively unaltered since the 18th century. The large houses, once the homes of courtiers, and the former Royal Guard quarters with its campanile are still clustered around the palace. In latter years, the town of Queluz has expanded considerably to become one of the suburbs of Lisbon. The Palace of Queluz is one of Lisbon's many tourist attractions.
- List of Baroque residences
- Pousada de Dona Maria, Queluz
- Rococo in Portugal
- Pombaline style
- Bos, J. N. W. Maria I of Portugal. Published by J.N.W. Bos. Retrieved 15 December 2007.
- Fielding, Xan (1961). "Queluz". In Great Houses of Europe. Sacheverell Sitwell (ed). London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 275–279. .
- IPPAR, General Bureau for National Buildings and Monuments (Portugal). Published by IPPAR 2001–2006. Retrieved 7 December 2007
- Lowndes, Susan (1969). "Queluz". In Great Palaces. Sacheverell Sitwell (ed). London: Hamlyn, 174–186. .
- Powell, Nicholas (1961). "Sanssouci". In Great Houses of Europe. Sacheverell Sitwell (ed). London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 95–101. .
- Rey, Jean-Dominique (1969). In Great Palaces. Sacheverell Sitwell (ed). London: Hamlyn, 42–53. .
- View a video tour of Queluz National Palace at
- Queluz City Guide