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Queluz Palace (Palácio Nacional de Queluz)

The Queluz Palace is a residence near Lisbon, Portugal. The main construction began in 1746 under the direction of the Infante Dom Pedro of Braganza (1717–1786), uncle and subsequently king-consort to Mary I.

Queluz National Palace History

It became the official royal residence from 10 November 1794 until 27 November 1807, when the Napoleonic invasion forced the royal family to depart for exile in Brazil. The building began as a hunting-lodge owned by the Marquês de Castelo Rodrigo, a diplomat and statesman to Philip II of Spain (Philip I of Portugal).

In 1654 the property was incorporated into the estate of the Portuguese royal Infante and was subsequently inherited by Dom Pedro in 1742. His scheme of enlargement was given impetus by a fire in 1751, which destroyed the Paço Corte Real in Lisbon.

The new central east wing and the chapel were designed by Mateus Vicente de Oliveira. The main façade of this wing was turned inwards to face the formal gardens, and it emphasizes the way the garden was considered to be an extension of the palace as well as an integral part of it.

The formal gardens at Queluz, the Jardim Pênsil (Garden of Neptune; and the Jardim Malta (Garden of Malta), were designed by Jean Baptiste Robillon,  who came to Portugal around 1749 from Paris, where he had probably been a student of Thomas Germain, who had supplied silverware to the Portuguese royal family.

From 1758 Robillon designed the west pavilion, which linked the upper formal garden to the park at a lower level by means of a severely Neo-classical Doric colonnade. He also designed the Stairway of the Lions (escadaria dos Leões), where he attempted to resolve the marked difference of levels by using theatrical architectural effects.

In 1777 the Throne Room and the adjoining Music Room  were being prepared for the reception of Mary I, who became queen in that year, and special care was taken with the decoration carried out in the private royal apartments in the west wing. During the third phase of construction of the Queluz palace a new east wing was added, with apartments for Mary and her attendants.

In the first decade of the 19th century a wing that is symmetrical and adjacent to this building was added to house staff and for storage. Queluz Palace thus acquired its distinctive form, its long, low horizontality broken only by the two-storey central block that is emphasized by the entablature and pediment.

The window pediments on the ceremonial façade overlooking the Jardim Pênsil are decorated with carving in an elegant and intimate Rococo style. These qualities are also emphasized on the façade facing the Jardim Malta, where the play of sculptural forms, statues and reliefs gives an attractive chiaroscuro effect.

The quality of the interior decoration of Queluz is seen in the Neo-classical Hall of the Ambassadors designed by Robillon; in the delicately painted Queen’s Dressing-room; in the private dining-room named the Sala das Merendas; and in the Sala de Don Quixote used as a bedroom by Peter III, Queen Charlotte and Peter IV. Some of the artists and craftsmen involved at Queluz came from other royal projects.

There was a brief period of splendour at Queluz Palace in the late 18th century. Following the marriage in 1760 of Dom Pedro to the future Mary I, the gardens and salons became the setting for festivities and receptions, and there were dramatic and operatic performances in the theatre, the entertainment being completed with elaborate firework displays. In the gardens there was a labyrinth, a great cascade (now partly concealed), splendid bird cages of gilded bronze, drinking-fountains of crystal, enclosures for games and a small bull-ring.

The decoration of Queluz palace was influential in providing models for the Rococo interiors of aristocratic houses. The delicate talha (gilt carved wood) in the single-aisled chapel inspired the decoration of other Lisbon churches, such as the basilica of the Sacred Heart (Estrêla), begun in 1779, and the chapel of Bemposta of about 1794.

In 1834 the Palácio Nacional de Queluz was incorporated into the Royal Estate, and in 1908 it became part of the Portuguese National Heritage by decree of Manuel II, the last king of Portugal. The palace is open to the public and is noted for the attractive rose-pink shades of its façades and the close relationship between the salons and the gardens within a single elegant building of harmonious proportions.


Queluz National Palace Map&Location

Address: Palácio Nacional de Queluz, 2745-191, Queluz, Portugal. Get help with directions using this map:

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Queluz Palace Photos

Photos © Sandra Rosa
Queluz National Palace and courtyard
Queluz National Palace lateral
Queluz National Palace stairs
Queluz National Palace interior
Interior of Queluz Palace
Photos © starrynight
Queluz Palace garden
Queluz Palace outside decoration
Queluz Palace courtyard