Royal Palaces of Spain by Albert Frederick Calvert






Edinburgh: T. and A. Constable, Printers to His Majesty


Since despotism has been replaced by constitutional rule the divinity that doth hedge a King has shed something of its significance, but the staunchest republican will admit that there is at least a certain picturesqueness about royalty; and the interest attaching to a crowned head naturally extends to the ancestral homes of majesty. Spain is unusually rich in ‘cloud-capped towers and gorgeous palaces,’ many of which have been the scenes of stirring and momentous events in her history. On the gloomy pile of the Escorial—worthier of an Egyptian Pharaoh—Philip II. stamped conspicuously and indelibly his own sombre personality; Aranjuez and La Granja reveal to us monarchy in its lighter aspect; the Alcazar reminds us of the days when Castilian royalty aped the pomp of the Saracen and became itself half-Oriental; the Royal Palace of Madrid epitomises the greatest crisis{vi} in the nation’s history, of the expulsion of its legitimate sovereign, and of the usurpation of the eldest Buonaparte. Napoleon himself ascended its grand staircase, and looking round at the splendid home of the Spanish Bourbons, he was able to say to his brother, ‘I hold at last this Spain so much desired!’

These palaces of the haughtiest royal race in Europe are endowed with the rarest treasures of art and taste such as only a semi-despotic Power could accumulate in bygone days. It is the object of this little book to reveal these riches to the curious in such matters by means of illustrations, the accompanying text being only to be considered in the light of explanatory notes and chronological data.

Royal Palaces of Spain

If men may be known by their works, the Escorial will help us to a better understanding of Philip of Spain—of his temperament and his purpose—than can be gained by the study of any other architectural monument for which he was responsible. Philip II. was guilty of craft and duplicity; he inflicted suffering and death upon hosts of his innocent vassals; he has been depicted as a monster of cruelty and bigoted intolerance. But as a monarch inspired with unfaltering belief in the divine right of his kingship, he could not be expected to be tolerant of the stubbornness of others; and as the instrument of God, appointed to enforce religious unity not only among his own subjects, but also upon the rest of Europe, he doubtless felt he was justified in employing any means to accomplish his mission.{2}

The Emperor Charles V. had exhorted Philip to exterminate every trace of heresy from his dominions, and his son never forgot the injunction nor sought to escape the obligation that had been thrust upon him. Throughout his reign, which was inaugurated by an impressive auto-da-fé at Valladolid—in which twelve tortured creatures were sacrificed on the fiery altar of their sovereign’s religious zeal—and closed in an agony of devotion and unshaken faith, he pursued a course which he never doubted was right. A Spaniard of the Spaniards, convinced that Spain was the only centre of true religion, he allowed nothing to stand between him and the attainment of his high purpose. An intense and dangerous individualist, cursed with the religious exaltation of his house, his ecstatic asceticism enabled him to endure suffering and practise rigid mortifications with the same stoicism as that with which he afflicted others. In his zeal for God and Spain he was sincere; he never permitted failure, disaster, or catastrophe to daunt him. His most cherished schemes were frustrated; his beloved country was pauperised and desolated by his policy; he, who devoted all his energies and power to the crushing of Protestantism, lived to see the hated faith enthroned{3} in England, Scotland, Holland, North Germany, and Scandinavia; yet he died after a lingering illness of indescribable physical suffering in the great monastery he had built to the honour of God, convinced to the end of his acceptability as Vicegerent of Jehovah, and conscious that he had exercised his trust to the brighter glory of his Maker.

As the inheritor of divine rights, Philip could do no wrong, and as the greatest king of the greatest kingdom of the world, he always rose superior to personal or national calamity. His arms suffered overwhelming reverses in the Netherlands; he retaliated with massacre and extermination, and was deaf to entreaty. The defeat of his ‘invincible’ Armada was the death-blow to his hopes of converting England to the true faith, but he heard the news of this crowning catastrophe of his life without suffering his ‘marble serenity’ to be ruffled. Into his dying ears was poured the story of the dire devastation of Cadiz by the English fleet, but he only gnawed his rude crucifix and resigned himself the more devoutly to the will of God.

This was the man who in the leisure of thirty years of his life stamped his individuality upon the Royal Palace and Monastery of the Escorial,{4} and fashioned this mighty pile to be a monument to his power and a revelation of his mind—a mind diseased with that virus of morbidity which turned from the contemplation of mercy, charity, and love to ponder on the awful and retributive side of religion. The man explains the edifice, and the edifice is the picture of the man. The granite towers, resting on deep massive foundations, rise boldly into the heavens—lofty, aspiring, severe, like the prayers his stern heart sent up to God. The spacious halls and lofty corridors, all leading finally to the church and the altar, have been likened to the avenues of his mind.

In 1557, two years before Philip first showed himself to his people as champion of the purity of the faith, the meeting between the Spanish and the French arms at St. Quentin credited Spain with a decisive and sorely needed victory. The battle involved the destruction of a church dedicated to St. Lawrence, and Philip, who had spent the day invoking the aid of the martyred saint, bound himself by an oath to found a monastery to his name. He had also been bound under the will of Charles V. to provide a royal burial-place for the reception of his father’s remains, and Philip was probably actuated by a desire to fulfil{5} both these obligations in building the monastery of the Escorial. In the ‘Carta de Dotacion,’ which appears in Cabrera’s Vida de Felipe II., the king explains his reasons as follows:—

‘In acknowledgment of the many and great blessings which it has pleased God to heap on us, and continue to us daily, and, inasmuch as He has been pleased to direct and guide our deeds and acts to His holy service, and in maintenance and defence of His holy faith and religion, and of justice and peace within our realms; considering likewise what the emperor and king, my lord and father, in a codicil which he lately made, committed to our care, and charged us with, respecting his tomb, the spot and place where his body and that of the empress and queen, my lady and mother, should be placed; it being just and meet that their bodies should be most duly honoured with a befitting burial-ground, and that for their souls be said continually masses, prayers, anniversaries, and other holy records, and because we have, besides, determined that whenever it may please God to take us away to Him, our body should rest in the same place and spot near theirs … for all these reasons we found and erect the Monastery of San Lorenzo el Real, near the town of El Escorial, in the diocese and archbishopric of Toledo, the which we dedicate in the name of the Blessed St. Lawrence, on account of the special devotion which, as we have said, we pray to this glorious saint, and in memory of the favour and victories which on this day we received from God….


Although located in a desolate waste of rugged mountains and treeless plains, amid surroundings which most men would shun, the site of the Escorial was selected as the result of much careful thought and personal investigation by ‘the holy founder,’ as Philip is called by the monks. His sentimental attachment to the spot is explained by its air of unrelieved melancholy, but he was also influenced in his choice by the fact that the district contained the abundance and quality of stone suitable for his purpose. Already he had conceived the form and dimensions of his hermitage and sanctuary, the austerity and magnitude of which were to be in harmony with its natural surroundings. Before the work of clearing the land was begun he had erected upon the newly acquired site a rude temporary lodging for his own accommodation. He entrusted his ideas for the construction of the building to Juan Bautista de Toledo, whose plans, ambitious and eccentric in the first place, were severely revised by Philip. On April 23, 1563, the first stone was laid, and from that time until September 13, 1584, when the pile was completed, the king, assailed by the fear that he might die before his scheme was brought to completion, devoted every moment he could seize{7} from affairs of State to superintending the work, and urging architects, artists, and decorators to greater efforts in the accomplishment of their several tasks.

In 1567 Toledo died and was succeeded by Juan de Herrera, who enlarged the convent and added a bell-tower to the building. In 1574 the temporary Panteon, or royal burying-place, situated under the high altar of the church, was completed, and to this vault the remains of Charles V. were transferred in 1574. The solemn service with which they were received was terminated by a terrific storm which broke over the monastery and made a wreck of the gorgeous dais that had been erected for the ceremony. During another storm which visited the district, when the construction of the edifice was almost finished, a lightning stroke set fire to the fabric, destroying the fine belfry and its costly peal of bells and doing much other damage. In 1582 an epidemic, which carried off the queen, attacked the king, and for a while his life was despaired of. But Philip survived to see the completion of his initial plans, and two years later he took formal possession of his royal home which had cost the then enormous sum of £660,000. Here for fourteen years he lived, half monarch and{8} half monk, exercising alternately the powers of a tyrant and the self-sacrificing humiliations of a saint, and boasting that, from the foot of a mountain, he governed both the old and new world with two inches of paper.

In the first stages of his fatal illness in 1598, Philip desired to be removed from Madrid to his beloved Escorial. The distance is only eight leagues, but the king was so weak that six days were consumed by the journey. It was his wish to inspect every part of the huge building before he died, and during the fifty days in which his tortured body held death at bay his last desire was gratified. He died on the same day of the same month on which the Escorial was completed. Proudest among monarchs and the most devout among monks, his gift to posterity is a convent having the proportions of a palace, and a palace revealing the austerity of a convent—a structure which is at once the first and largest Spanish edifice into which the Græco-Roman element was cast. But although Philip had gratified his ambition, had built monastery, church, and palace, and had established a court and a college in this Castilian highland, had laid out gardens and planted elms brought from England, the royal burying-place at his death{9} was nothing more than a plain vault. Philip III., in accordance with his father’s wishes, commenced to enrich the chamber, and the present gorgeous sepulchre was finished in 1654 by Philip IV. ‘No monarchs of the earth,’ it has been written, ‘have a mausoleum comparable to this of the Escorial, which, to the glory of Spain, was conceived by Charles V., undertaken by Philip II., carried on by Philip III., and completed by Philip IV.’ Thus it was more than a century after the death of the emperor that his remains were laid to rest in the sepulchre which he had commanded to be built for the princes of his house.

To-day the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Octava Maravilla, which it is calculated cost from first to last some ten millions, is but a shadow of its past glory. It is no longer a royal residence, the number of its monks has become few, its revenues have been wrested from them, and the spirit of the palace-monastery has departed. A fire which broke out here in 1671 was not quenched for fifteen days, and the damage then sustained was repaired in 1676 by the queen-regent, Anne of Austria. Charles III. effected some further restorations, and his son proposed to make the place more habitable by the construc{10}tion of a bull-ring. Later, this prince, when Charles IV. and fast approaching the close of his ignoble reign, discovered at the Escorial the plot of the Queen Maria Luisa, Prince Fernando, and Godoy to betray Spain to France, and the royal monastery became a royal prison.

The French troops pillaged the monastery in 1807, and during the Carlist war its treasures were depleted by the removal of about a hundred of the choicest paintings to the greater security of Madrid. Other pictures were transferred from the Escorial to the capital after the death of Ferdinand VII., who had done what he could to repair the ravages of La Houssaye’s troopers. But the days of the Escorial’s importance as a centre of political or courtly life were already numbered, and by the summer of 1861, when the first train arrived at the Escorial station from Madrid, the palace had ceased to be a royal residence.

It must be admitted that, at first sight, the Escorial produces a feeling of disappointment; the first impression of the clean granite, the blue slates, and the leaden roofs is not wholly pleasing. But as one approaches this ‘grandest and gloomiest failure of modern times,’ the size and simplicity of the ashy-coloured pile takes posses{11}sion of the imagination, its sombreness and its austere magnificence stands out more and more clearly from its sombre and magnificent surroundings, and one begins to realise something of the spirit of the place and of the character of the man that called it into being. The edifice is a rectangular parallelogram, having a length of 744 feet from north to south, and a depth of 580 feet. It has been said that the architecture exhibits a series of solecisms which would have shocked the disciples of Vignola and Palladio, but Mr. Fergusson in his History of the Modern Styles of Architecture declares that the whole design shows more of Gothic character than the masterpieces of Wren and Michael Angelo.

One building, which turns its back on Madrid, faces the Sierra on its west or principal side and on the north side, while on the east and south the terraces overlook the hanging gardens and fish ponds. The building covers an area of 500,000 feet and is 3000 feet in circumference. It is not proposed to enter here into a detailed description of the huge structure or its contents. Indeed, a building which boasts 16 courtyards, 15 cloisters, 40 altars, 88 fountains, 86 staircases, 1200 doors, 2673 windows, 3000 feet of painted fresco, and 120 miles of corridor cannot be dealt{12} with in the space at our disposal, and an enumeration of the literary and artistic treasures that are still left to it would occupy some hundreds of pages of print. But only a tithe remains of the myriad treasures which once adorned its walls and altars. Before the French invasion its pictures were priceless, for Philip II. drained Europe of paintings and painters for the adornment of his palace, and the church teemed with priceless articles—sacred vessels of gold, a multitude of shrines and reliquaries, and a tabernacle of such exquisite workmanship that it was declared to be worthy to be one of the ornaments of the celestial altar.

The grand central portal in the western façade, which was formerly opened only to admit royalty either alive or dead, leads into the Court of the Kings, named from the statues of the Kings of Judah connected with the Temple of Jerusalem. The figures possess little artistic merit, but they share with the Court and everything connected with the Escorial the distinction of immensity. They are 17 feet high, and were each cut by Juan Bautista Monegro out of one block of granite. On the right of the Court is the Library, with its twenty thousand books and three thousand Arabic manuscripts, and on the right are the{13} Halls of Philosophy, the Seminary and the Refectories. The Relicario, from which one descends to the Panteon, is at the extreme right-hand corner of the church. Philip II. was a relicomaniac, and here in five hundred and fifteen costly shrines he kept his innumerable precious relics. La Houssaye scattered the relics to strip the precious metals from the shrines that contained them. He also stole upwards of a hundred sacred vessels of gold and silver, the gold and jewelled custodia, and the life-size silver statue of St. Lawrence, which weighed four and a half hundredweight. A procession of fourteen carts was engaged to convey the treasure to Madrid. The Court of Evangelists and the Palace Court, facing the south, are on the right and left of the church, and beyond it is the palace.

The secret of the grandeur of the Escorial Church is in the conception and proportion, but also from the point of view of architectural beauty it is the finest of the several buildings within the walls. The vaulted roof is ornamented with the frescoes of Luca Giordano, and the screen, which is 93 feet high by 43 wide, monopolised the energies of Giacomo Trezzo of Milan for seven years. The high altar and its superb retablo are flanked on either side by the oratories{14} of marble for the royal family, above which are placed bronze-gilt effigies of Charles V. and his wife, Philip II. and his fourth wife and their children, inlaid with marbles and precious stones. Here, in his epitaph, is Philip of Spain’s challenge to future kings to surpass him in greatness and power. In the Library are his devotional books, and high up on a pinnacle above the chapel is a plate of gold, placed there to show that the building of the Escorial had not left ‘the holy founder’ penniless.

Just beyond the precincts of the church, as one enters the palace, is the ‘Room of the Founder,’—the name given to the apartment occupied by Philip II. whenever he visited the monastery—a simple cell rather than a chamber befitting a king. It was in this room that he died on September 13, 1598. On the wall is a slab with the following inscription:—

‘En este estrecho recinto
murió Felipe segundo,
cuando era pequeño el mundo
al hijo de Carlos quinto.’
There still remain the bedroom he had built next to the royal oratory; the study, some of the chairs he used, and two chairs without arms on which he used to repose the leg in which he{15} had gout. The ceiling is smooth and without ornaments; the walls are whitewashed, and the floor is of brick. From this bedroom the high altar can be seen through two doors that lead to the galleries.

The palace contains a series of small rooms, the most remarkable of which are a set of four. The other apartments are covered with beautiful tapestry made from designs by Rubens, Teniers, and Goya, but the walls of these particular rooms are covered with the finest inlaid woodwork. The hinges, locks, and handles of the doors are in gilt-bronze and steel, and the ceilings are painted by Maella. The entire work is said to have cost £280,000.

The Battle Room derives its name from the battle-scenes painted on the walls; these frescoes are by the celebrated Italian artists Granelio and Fabricio. This gallery is 198 feet long by 28 wide, and 25 high to the keystone of the vault. The principal fresco, which is very large, represents the battle of Higueruela and the victory obtained over the Arabs by John II. on the Vega at Granada. The other frescoes refer to the battle gained on the day of St. Lawrence, 1557, by Duke Filiberto, commander of the Spanish army; the capture of the French general,{16} the Constable de Montmorency, and the siege and capture of San Quentin. There are also representations of two expeditions to the Azores in the time of Philip II. The vault contains a variety of figures and caprices all designed fantastically and ingeniously, with taste and consummate skill.

Of the three hundred and thirty-eight rich tapestries in the palace, one hundred and fifty-two of them were manufactured in the old Royal Factory of Madrid; one hundred and sixty-three in Flanders, from designs for the most part by David Teniers; twenty in France and five in Italy. Nearly all represent country scenes, landscapes, Spanish customs, views of Madrid, and hunting scenes.

The Casa del Principe was built in 1772 by order of Charles IV., when Prince of the Asturias. When the War of Independence broke out the treasures that adorned it were taken to Madrid and many of them disappeared. It was redecorated and embellished in 1824, and carefully restored some years later. It is entirely built of stone and is called ‘Casita de Abajo,’ to distinguish it from another called ‘Casita de Arriba,’ built by the Infante Gabriel. The curiosities and works of art in this pleasant edifice are innumer{17}able. Of the ceilings twenty are of great merit, painted by Duque, Gómez, Gerroni, Maella, Briles, Pérez, Japeti, and López. In the nineteen rooms, of which the two floors of the edifice consist, there are over two hundred oil-paintings and prints, the subjects for the most part religious, some of them of real merit. There is also a fine collection of ivory reliefs consisting of thirty-seven pictures, representing mythological and sacred and profane scenes, and a beautiful collection of two hundred and twenty-six pieces of porcelain made at the Buen Retiro factory. In the time of Ferdinand VII. the house was valued at thirty-seven million pesetas, and it is at present a veritable museum of curiosities.

The Royal School of Alfonso XII., which occupies the north-east end of the edifice, is entered from the principal façade. Among its many and notable apartments is the spacious and magnificent paraninfo, the ceiling of which is formed by a painting of extraordinary size, which is believed to have been painted by the pupils of Jordán. Two smaller paintings represent symbolical figures of different sciences, and are signed by Llamas. Near the paraninfo are the fine Physics and Natural History rooms, the lucerna or light court, and{18} the children’s dining-rooms, adorned with a collection of pictures representing incidents in the life of Alexander. These were painted for the palace of San Ildefonso by order of Philip V., and they are all signed by eminent Italian artists. Over the paraninfo is another fine room, the centre of which is occupied by a beautiful statue of St. Augustine, carved in wood, conceived and executed by the lay-friar S. Cuñado to commemorate the fifteenth centenary of the conversion of St. Augustine.

In 1878, by the direction of Alfonso XII., the studies at this Royal College were reorganised with great success. Later (in 1885) the teaching being entrusted to the Augustinians, its credit was so enhanced that now, owing to the unsurpassed position of the place, the installation of electric light, the perfection and abundance of teaching material, and still more the competence and zeal with which the learned corporation carries out its delicate task of the moral, physical, and scientific education of a large number of youths, the Royal College at the Escorial well fulfils the high aims of its royal restorer, and is one of the most important centres of instruction in Spain.{19}



George Borrow loved Spain well, but he loved not the solitude in which Philip V. found respite from the cares of State and from the dominating personality of Elizabeth Farnese. ‘So great is the solitude of La Granja,’ he writes, ‘that wild boars from the neighbouring forests, and especially from the beautiful pine-covered mountain which rises like a cone directly behind the palace, frequently find their way into the streets and squares, and whet their tusks against the pillars of the porticos.’ But at the time this was written the country was overrun with Carlists. Candido lurked in the undergrowth, Garcia and his fellow-conspirators had driven Queen Cristina from the palace, and nine-tenths of the inhabitants of the town had fled. Even in the season La Granja may be described as solitary, but it is not desolate, to quote another word that{20} Borrow employed to describe it. Situated at an altitude of nearly four thousand feet above the sea, it has been styled, with much truth, a ‘castle in the air.’ Surrounded as it is by lovely woods, which extend for leagues in every direction, by gardens, lakes, and streams, the Palace of San Ildefonso, in the month of flowers, is a paradise and a miracle combined. For the site, although not exactly hit upon at random, was selected with a royal inconsequence of the difficulty and expense involved in the labour of transforming a monkish farmhouse into a palace rivalling the glittering creations of Versailles.

The Bourbon Philip V., like his Austrian predecessor Philip II., conceived a craving for solitude, and while hunting at Valsain in 1720 he observed La Granja (the Grange, or farmhouse) of the Segovian monks of El Parral, and coveted it for a place of retirement. Philip’s nature had undergone a great change since he entered Spain, a handsome, resolute soldier, in 1701. His first wife, Marie Louise of Savoy, had been at his side during the troublous, early days of his reign, and in 1714, when Spain was at peace for the first time since he assumed the crown, his wife died. Under the stress of warlike excitement and the gentle, sustaining sympathy and influence of{21} Marie Louise, Philip had proved himself a prince of high spirit, determination, and resource, but under the domination of the ambitious, intriguing, masterful Elizabeth he lost all initiative and sunk into a moody inaction, which subsequently developed into lethargic insanity. It has been said that, personally, Philip did little good for Spain, and it must be admitted that, when it was most incumbent on him to play the man, he weakly involved the country in prolonged wars at the bidding of his wife. If the national revenue increased enormously during his reign, the expenditure was more than proportionately increased in the construction of the three palaces he left to Spain and in the extravagant collection of works of art with which he furnished them. From Versailles he had brought the love of letters which prompted him to found the Royal Spanish Academy, the National Library, the Royal Academy of History, and the School of Nobles. His training at the Court of Louis XIV. was also evident in the change in the social customs of the country. The nobles adopted French fashions in costumes and cookery, they affected French furniture and French books. The king, who had thus stamped his personal tastes upon the Court, saw his opportunity of further gratifying his{22} French sympathies by creating a ‘Spanish Versailles’ and a ‘Spanish Fontainebleau.’

It was on the rocky eminence of La Granja, overlooking Segovia’s brown towers and the distant Roman aqueduct, that Philip V. gave orders for an estate to be laid out that should be reminiscent of his beloved Versailles. The fact that no suitable level existed on the sharp mountain slope for the erection of a palace mattered nothing. The level must be made. Tens of thousands of tons of rock were blasted away; tens of thousands of tons of soil were brought up from the sunny plain below; and on the astonishing ledge thus torn out of the sides of the mountain, the Royal Palace arose in a garden of the most beautiful flowers and adorned with the choicest fountains in all Spain.

The building itself, which cannot compare with the Palace of Versailles, is a severe-looking structure of two stories, and is the antithesis of the proud, gloomy Escorial on which it turns its back. The façade facing the gardens is white and cheerful, but the multitude of windows gives it the air of a monster conservatory. The place, which is so essentially French, appears incongruous amid surroundings which are so characteristically Spanish; but the Castilian people find{23} no fault with it on that account. It is, they say, a worthy château of the King of Spain. As he is the first and loftiest of all earthly sovereigns, so his abode soars nearest to Heaven. The argument is Spanish and unanswerable!

The cost of building the palace and laying out the gardens, and of acquiring the pictures and sculptures to adorn the saloons, reached the enormous total of forty-five million pesetas, the precise sum in which Philip V. died indebted. In this luxurious retreat in the mountains of Segovia he surrendered himself to the morbid mysticism of that form of devotion which exaggerates the vanity of all earthly things. Sunk at length into a condition of religious melancholy, in January 1724, at La Granja, he swore to renounce his crown for ever and abdicate in favour of his son Louis. Seven months later the boy-king died at the age of seventeen, and Philip, reluctantly acceding to the urgent requests of his wife, who had already tired of the domestic retirement of La Granja, resumed the burden of sovereignty.

Many strange historical events have taken place in the Palace of San Ildefonso since Philip V. declared before the Baño de Diana that it had cost him three million pesetas and had amused him for three minutes. It was here, in{24} 1783, that the great king, Charles III., received the Count d’Artois when he started upon his fruitless mission to wrest Gibraltar from the English. Here, in 1796, Godoy, the notorious favourite of Charles IV. and the paramour of his wife—who in the previous year had earned the title of Prince of the Peace by negotiating the shameful surrender by which the war between Spain and France was concluded—signed the famous and fatal treaty by which Spain was dragged at the tail of France until such time as the French Emperor chose to annex it.

In 1830, when Ferdinand VII. lay ill at La Granja, and his heir and brother, Don Carlos, was holding himself in readiness to assume the responsibility of sovereignty, Queen Cristina, anxious for her three-year-old daughter’s interest, induced the king to abolish the Salic law and declare his daughter Isabel to be his successor. Three years afterwards, Ferdinand died, and three years later the king’s abrogation of the constitution was revoked by a mob of common soldiers, led by Sergeant Garcia, who compelled the queen to renounce her royal rights and proclaim the Cadiz constitution of 1812. George Borrow, who was in Madrid at the time these events were taking place, had the story of the revolution of{25} La Granja from eye-witnesses, and it is related here in his words. ‘Early one morning,’ he writes—‘it was the morning of 12th August 1836—a party of these soldiers, headed by a certain Sergeant Garcia, entered her apartment, and proposed that she should subscribe her hand to this constitution, and swear solemnly to abide by it. Cristina, however, who was a woman of considerable spirit, refused to comply with this proposal, and ordered them to withdraw. A scene of violence and tumult ensued, but the Regent still continuing firm, the soldiers at length led her down to one of the courts of the palace, where stood her well-known paramour, Muñoz, bound and blindfolded. “Swear to the constitution, you she-rogue,” shouted the swarthy sergeant. “Never!” said the spirited daughter of the Neapolitan Bourbons. “Then your cortejo (lover)—he was in reality her husband—shall die!” replied the sergeant. “Ho! ho! my lads; get ready your arms and send four bullets through the fellow’s brain.” Muñoz was forthwith led to the wall and compelled to kneel down, the soldiers levelled their muskets, and another moment would have consigned the unfortunate wight to eternity, when Cristina, forgetting everything but the feelings of her woman’s heart,{26} suddenly started forward with a shriek, exclaiming, “Hold! hold! I sign! I sign!”’

Still more recently, it will be remembered, Alfonso XIII. carried his English bride from the wedding festivities of Madrid to spend their honeymoon amid the natural beauties of the scenery of Segovia. The Royal Palace consists of a large rectangular building, in the centre of which is preserved the ancient cloister of the friars’ hospitium, now called the Patio de la Fuente. The idea for the central façade of the palace originated with the Abbé Juvara, the Italian architect who was summoned to Spain to assist Philip V. in his palace-building operations, but it was his pupil, Sachetti, who prepared the finished designs. It was carried out in 1739 at a cost of 3,360,000 reals. The general façade of the edifice at the back, overlooking the Palace Square, recalls the Roman-Spanish style created at the Escorial by Herrera. One of the best views of the palace is from the back, where the building with its slate-covered towers at the sides, and the Collegiate Church in the centre, surmounted by its elevated cupola and the simple towers accompanying it, compose an agreeable picture. The principal entrance to the edifice is in this façade facing the Palace Square, and leads{27} to the vestibule of the principal staircase. This is of simple construction, and is composed of two flights of stairs which meet at the top landing-place. The steps are of granite, as well as the pillars of the balustrade which support a small iron banister painted white and gold. The whole well of the staircase is surmounted by a semicircular vault finished by a lantern, in which are the windows. This staircase did not exist in the time of Charles IV., as may be ascertained by examining the plans of the palace made at that time, and its construction should be attributed to Ferdinand VII.

The palace is a structure of two stories. On the ground floor are the ‘Galeria baja de estatuas’ (lower gallery of statues), one of the rooms in which is the dining-room, the High Court of Halberdiers, the offices of the Lord High Steward, and other dependencies; while the upper floor consists of the ‘Galeria oficial’ (Official Gallery), used for receptions, audiences, and councils of ministers, and the private apartments of their Majesties and Royal Highnesses. The ‘Galeria de estatuas’ is open to any one provided with a permit supplied by the Administration Patrimonial when the Court is absent. The apartments are generally decorated in good style.{28} Most of the furniture is in the Empire style, especially that in the Official Gallery; but there is also some in Louis XIV., Regency, and Louis XV. style.

The collection of pictures, especially of the Flemish and Dutch schools, was very fine, for Queen Isabella Farnese acquired in Rome for this palace in 1735, through the Venetian painter G. B. Pittoni, and on the recommendation of the Abbé Juvara, a considerable number of very notable pictures of these schools. On the creation of the Royal Prado Museum in 1829, the best were taken there by order of Ferdinand VII., and there are at present in its catalogue three hundred and fifty-one pictures which came from this palace, among them three by Correggio, two by Luca Giordano, four by Il Guido, one by Paul Veronese, six by Tintoretto, one by Claudio Coello, sixteen by Murillo, two by Ribera, four by Velazquez, four by Van Dyck, fourteen by Rubens, and twenty-four by Teniers.

Among the pictures of the original collection which exist at the present time, there are none of great merit; but the large number painted by Michel Ange Houasse, of the French school, who was born in Paris in 1675, and died in Spain in 1730, being the chief painter of Philip V., are of{29} no little merit. The marble statues that enrich the Lower Gallery, some of them Greek ones of great merit, like the Castor and Pollux group, form the greater part of the sculptures of the Madrid Museum. They were acquired in Rome through the celebrated Venetian sculptor Camillo Rusconi, and came from the collection made by Queen Christina of Sweden. Their cost, 12,000 doubloons, or 36,000 dollars, was defrayed by Philip V. and Isabella Farnese equally.

The lower gallery of statues were painted al fresco by Bartolomé Ruscha, and with them were placed, under the direction of Don Domingo Sanni, and by order of the royal founders, the statues of the collection formed by Queen Christina of Sweden and acquired by them in Rome. The sculptors Fremin and Thierri, who at the time were doing work for the gardens, restored many of them and added some others by themselves, but the majority of the best statues were removed in 1829 to the sculpture room in the Madrid Museum, where they are still preserved and constitute almost its only statuary wealth. At present there are in these rooms very few marble statues, and nearly all those forming their decoration are copies in plaster of the original ones, and they have there{30}fore lost the great artistic value which the pure Greek sculpture in the collection of Queen Christina of Sweden conferred on them. Among them the most valuable pieces to be seen here are the group of Castor and Pollux; two colossal statues of Julius Cæsar and Augustus in alabaster, with heads, arms, and legs of gilded bronze; a fine urn which it is believed contained the ashes of Caius Caligula; the representations of Day and Night; a very handsome Apollo; a Daphne; a Venus coming out of the bath; a Faun leaning on the trunk of a tree; another Venus with her knee on a tortoise; many handsome busts of deities and Roman emperors; the nine Muses; two superb heads of Antinous and Alexander; the recumbent statue of Ariadne, a replica of the one in the Museum of the Vatican; a copy of the Venus de Medici; an excellent small statue representing Seneca; Leda with the swan; a head of Homer; a colossal head, in bronze, of Queen Christina of Sweden; and Ganymede attacked by the eagle. With this array of sculpture and antiquities, the Palace of Ildefonso may be said to be more like a museum than a home; and in truth, apart from the Royal Chapel which contains the tomb of Philip V. and his queen, Elizabeth Farnese, and{31} boasts some superbly embroidered vestments and mantles of the Virgin, the visitor must seek the beauties of the palace in its church and in its gardens and fountains.

In order to enhance the splendour of the worship that should be conducted in the Palace Chapel, Philip V. obtained from Pope Benedict XIII. a bull, Dum Infatigabilem, dated 20th December 1724, making it a collegiate church. Among other provisions in this bull it conceded that the new collegiate church should be the mother-church of all the churches and chapels of the town and its abbey; that it should have a chapter composed of an abbot, four officiating prebendaries, eight canons, six prebendaries, and four chaplain-acolytes; that the abbots should be a royal appointment with exclusive ecclesiastical jurisdiction throughout the district to be marked out by the Pope’s Nuncio, and at liberty to use the pontifical insignia and dress; that the abbot and canons should devote half the masses celebrated to the royal founders during their lifetime, and for their souls after their death, and that the canons should wear the choral dress of those of St. Peter’s in Rome. The same bull contained the king’s promise to endow the new collegiate church with the sum{32} of 8625 gold ducats (276,000 reals of present Spanish money), to be distributed as follows: 5764 ducats for the fabric and its dependents, and the remainder, 2861, for the abbot and prebendaries.

In the reign of Charles III. the collegiate church was renovated at the expense of the royal treasury and under the direction of Marshal Sabatini, the vaults were painted with frescoes by Bayeu and Maella, and the mouldings and reliefs were decorated by Vega. By the decree of Joseph Bonaparte, given in Madrid on May 30, 1810, the collegiate church was suppressed, and it was reduced to a simple private chapel of the Royal Palace, uniting its parish with that of the Cristo Church, and adding the territory of the abbey to the bishopric of Segovia. The church was only closed four years, and on June 24, 1814, Ferdinand VII. restored things to their original condition, this event being celebrated by four days of public rejoicing and fêtes.

The church is in the shape of a Latin cross, the ends of the four arms being occupied by the high altar, choir, and two principal doors.

The ‘platillos’ of the four vaults, surrounded by a moulding, were painted al fresco by Maella, and all the paintings on the cupola are by{33} Bayeu, brother-in-law of Goya. Some of the studies for these paintings were purchased by Queen Isabel II., and are now in the Madrid Museum.

The gardens with which Philip V. surrounded his palace cover an area of three hundred and sixty acres, and are the finest in the kingdom, while even the admirers of Versailles admit that La Granja has the more amazing fountains. From the grand walk one looks out across a panorama of the rocks and forests of New Castile, or gazes down upon the beautiful extravagancies of these literally hand-made gardens. The formal design of the ground-plan, the regularity of its well-ordered box avenues and mazes, the artificiality of its numerous fountains, its marble vases and statuary, and the baths and summer-houses that rise out of the dwarf-like vegetation, are all in striking contrast with the wild grandeur of the distant scenery. Yet, artificial as the aspect undoubtedly is, the gardens are a sheer delight, for beyond the flower-beds are masses of yellow broom and springing ferns, and the grass is a blaze of wild hyacinths, forget-me-nots, cowslips, and periwinkle. Higher up the mountain, to where the sky-line shows, 3000 feet above the palace, are woods of chest{34}nut trees, oaks, elms, and innumerable pines, in which myriad butterflies of every hue disport themselves, and scores of streams trickle down to feed the royal fountains in the gardens below. The statues representing Lucretia, Bacchus, Apollo, Daphne, America, Ceres, and Milo, and many others, are of no great artistic value; while the fountains, to the number of twenty-six, are unique. The Fama, which throws up its waters to a height of 130 feet, is the most renowned; and from another fountain, compact of sculptured flowers and fruits, forty spouts send out their two-score jets 80 feet high. The Cenador is a single vast cascade of gleaming water from the mountain snows. Then there are the Ranas (Frogs), Ocho Calles, Canastillo, Tres Gracias, and the Neptuno, at which, says M. Bourgoin, the Egotist read Virgil and quoted ‘quos ego.’ Last of all, there is the wonderful Baño de Diana, to which reference has already been made.

Here, where Art is truly French, and Nature is truly Spanish, where even Nature conceives in bleak discomfort for eight months in each year to bring forth four months of flowers and faërie, the King of Spain and his English bride retired to surroundings amid which a honey{35}moon will not be forgotten. Madrid has its magnificent royal palaces; El Pardo boasts its wondrous tapestries; Aranjuez its gardens, and Rio Frio its orchards; El Escorial is the eighth wonder of the world, and Miramar looks over the yellowest of golden sands into the bluest of blue waters; but La Granja, in the Guadarrama Mountains, is that place apart where lovers may find a bower

‘Of coolest foliage, musical with birds’;
and here one may listen to

‘The murmurs of low fountains that gush forth
I’ the midst of roses!’
The auxiliary residence to the palace of San Ildefonso, located some fourteen miles from it beyond the city of Segovia, is the royal house of Rio Frio, situated in a picturesque park which is full of game of every description. The small elegant building which stands in the centre of the park was begun by Isabel, the widow of Philip V., and was completed internally by Alfonso XII. It is a two-storied square building, the four sides of which are all exactly alike, and a large square court, paved with granite flags, occupies the centre of the building. A large portico of Tuscan pilasters sur{36}rounds the court and supports a covered gallery on the level of the first floor. From this court a noble staircase, consisting of two independent flights, which start from the vestibule in opposite directions, each subdividing into two other parallel ones, on the level of the first landing. The two independent flights end at the first floor at the opposite ends of the room which is used as a guardroom for the halberdiers. The steps are of granite, and the balustrades, which are supported by figures of children in various attitudes, are of a pretty yellow limestone. The sculpturing is also in stone, but it was unfortunately painted white, thus depriving it of its artistic merit, and giving the appearance of plaster. The whole of this work is from the chisel of Bartolomé Seximini. The entire weight of the staircase rests on four large Tuscan columns (monoliths), constructed of granite, and eight semi-columns of the same kind.

The apartments on the first floor, which with the exception of the sacristy and chapel on the ground floor are the only rooms that call for description, are decorated and furnished with a simplicity that would seem to betoken actual poverty. This is accounted for by the fact that the royal family very seldom resides in this{37} palace; and at such times whatever is required is conveyed there from the palace of San Ildefonso. On the other hand, the collection of pictures is superior in number and merit to that of San Ildefonso, for among its six hundred and fifty-eight pictures there are many originals of the great masters of the different schools. There is one each of Van Dyck, Titian, Albert Dürer, and Goya; two by Zurbaran, Navarrete, Guido de Reni, Pantoja de la Cruz, and Correggio; eight by Jordán, three by Teniers, four by Domenichino, and six by Poussin.{38}


At the royal residence of El Pardo Maria Cristina was lodged on the eve of her marriage with Alfonso XII. in 1879. Seven years later in the same palace she wept beside the deathbed of her husband, the father of the unborn king, Alfonso XIII. For a score of years El Pardo was avoided by the queen-mother, until, in 1906, Don Alfonso brought to the suburban palace the English princess who, on the 31st of May of that year, went in state to the church of San Jeronimo to be married to the King of Spain.

From the earliest days of Madrid’s claim to royal favour, over a hundred years before Charles V. transferred the Court from Valladolid to the present capital, the Kings of Spain have had a residence at El Pardo. Henry III., El Doliente, when making some additions to the old town of Madrid about 1461, built a pleasure-house on this site. The attraction of the district was{39} undoubtedly the abundance of boar and bear which found ample cover in the forests which surrounded the capital. Generations of improvident inhabitants have destroyed these woods, but the preserves within the stone wall which surrounds the royal residence are well timbered, and the plantations are full of deer and boar and all kinds of small game. Charles V. transformed the building into a winter palace and left the task of completing it to Philip II., who, one imagines, spared but scant leisure from his colossal building operations at the Escorial to superintend the furnishing of a mere shooting-box. At the beginning of the seventeenth century the original structure was destroyed by fire and the present château was built by Philip III. Charles III. altered and added to the palace in which he found refuge after the famous riots against Squillaci, and here in the reign of Charles IV. were hatched the plot and counterplot of Ferdinand and Godoy which culminated in the revolution of Aranjuez, the fall of the much-abused favourite, and the deposition of Charles and his crafty sons.

Philip II. by the prosecution of his religious policy, which was fruitful of ruinous wars, had beggared Spain in money and credit. Philip {40}III. succeeded in 1621 to the crown of a country that the Cortes officially described as ‘completely desolated.’ Agriculture and every form of manufacture was fallen into decay, the land was left desert for want of cultivators, the looms were idle, and the wealth of the Spanish-American possessions was swallowed up by the crowd of avaricious and unscrupulous office-holders and their underlings. But if Philip II. had reduced the nation to these straits by his bigoted zeal and arrogant vainglory, his son aggravated the conditions by his reckless extravagance and riotous splendour. When the country’s resources had been taxed to an extent that made further taxation an impossibility, the king, through the agency of his all-powerful favourite, the luxurious Duke of Lerma, raised funds to gratify his prodigal expenditure by the sale of knighthoods and patents of nobility. When that source failed him, he attempted to wrest from the church its silver plate and ornaments, and being terrified out of this resolve by the threats of the bishops, he made a personal appeal to the people. The king’s officers went from door to door begging in the name of the sovereign for the money required for carrying on the business of the Government.{41}

But Philip III. still claimed to be the richest potentate in Christendom; his subjects still believed themselves the richest people in the world. The king could afford to expel 500,000 of his Moslem subjects to Barbary, after robbing them of all they possessed; he could afford to plunge his country into a foolish war to gratify Spanish pride; and he could still afford to indulge his wildest and most extravagant personal whims, of which the rebuilding of El Pardo was one of the least expensive.

The palace, located in contiguity to the village, which consists of about two hundred houses whose inhabitants are employed on the Royal Patrimony, has a length of 432 feet and a depth of 192 feet. A tower commands each corner, and the entire building is surrounded by a moat, 30 feet wide, which once served the double purpose of irrigation and defence. The principal entrance to the estate is through the ancient and beautiful Puerta de Hierro (Iron Doorway), built about the year 1753 by Ferdinand VI. and distant about five miles from the town of El Pardo. From the doorway a wall of stout masonry, six feet high, runs right and left round the demesne for a distance of sixty-two miles. The property is intersected from north to south by the River{42} Manzanares. The stream enters on the Sierra side beneath a high stone bridge, the piers of which rest on the tall rocks that enclose the narrow pass of Marmota. From this bridge may be obtained a magnificent view of the country bounded and framed by the distant snow-clad Guadarrama Mountains. The rugged and broken ground is prolific in evergreen oaks, cork trees, and extensive areas of the cistus shrub. For purposes of defence the estate is divided into twenty departments, and the fifty warders who guard the royal residence are accommodated in twenty-six spacious and well-built houses.

The impression conveyed by the sombre, granite-built palace is distinctly imposing. Several stone staircases lead to the royal apartments, consisting of sixty commodious rooms, nearly all of which are covered with rich and brilliantly coloured tapestries, manufactured at Madrid from designs of Goya, Bayeu, Castillo, and Teniers. The subjects portrayed are landscapes, hunting and country scenes, and passages in the history of Don Quixote. The stucco of the ceilings of most of the saloons is the exquisite work of Roberto Michel, while the many fresco paintings were executed by Patricio Carcéo, Car{43}ducho, Bayeu, Maella, Galvez, Ribera, and Zacarias Velazquez. The fine collection of pictures that once adorned the walls was destroyed by the fire of 1604, and of the forty-seven portraits by such famous masters as Titian, A. Moro, and Coello, only a few remain. The magnificent glass chandeliers are a feature of the royal apartments, and in the Retablo of the Oratory there is a copy of Christ bearing the Cross, by Ribalta, the original of which is in Magdalen Chapel, Oxford. The Court officials are lodged in a commodious building having a complement of a hundred rooms.

To the north of the town is the Prince’s Cottage, another creation of that villa-building monarch, Charles IV. It is a delightful example of the three noble arts that vie with one another to give beauty to the villa—the old silks that cover the walls, the carvings that adorn them, and the magnificent chandeliers and rich, varied furniture, which make a valuable museum of this so-styled cottage. There are also other two palaces called La Zarzuela and the Quinta. Both are surrounded by fine gardens, and contain sumptuous oratories where Mass is celebrated on special occasions. These two buildings are surviving portions of the old edifice. In La Zarzuela{44} Don Fernando, the brother of Philip IV., was wont to organise those little vaudeville entertainments which were christened Zarzuelas. It is no longer used for that purpose, the theatrical performances at El Pardo now taking place in the small but elegant theatre in the palace which Alfonso XIII. had restored when the residence was prepared for the accommodation of Princess Victoria Ena.

To the Royal Patrimony also belongs the parish church and the Capuchin convent of Santo Cristo, situated on the left bank of the river, and hither, on St. Eugene’s day, the people of Madrid journey in crowds. On other feast days, also, the beautifully wooded slopes and shady avenues of El Pardo attract thousands of visitors from the city. It would be difficult to find anywhere in Europe, at the very doors of the capital, such beautiful rustic scenery as that enclosed in this royal estate.

We have said that Charles III. retired to El Pardo after the Squillaci riots, and it is curious to reflect that this best of Spanish kings was sadly out of touch with the character of his own people. He was a man of extraordinary ability, sound experience, and commanding personality. He had the will and the power to carry the{45} government of the State on his own broad shoulders, and to manage the domestic affairs of his subjects into the bargain. He realised the crying need for domestic reforms in his capital, but the Madrileños failed to recognise the necessity, and resented his interference. The king found the city ugly, filthy, and insanitary, and he decreed that it should be made clean and kept so. He was the apostle of order and decency, and not understanding the pride of the Spaniards, he could not comprehend that they were affronted by this imperious resolve to bring them into line with more advanced European nations. Moreover, the decree was published by Squillaci, the king’s Italian minister. Squillaci was a marked man from that day, and the clergy who had been made to recognise that the King would tolerate no clerical interference with his policy, fanned the spirit of revolt which manifested itself among the people. In 1766 Charles, having commenced his crusade by cleansing the city, now turned his attention to the national costume. As a dress-reformer he objected to the long cloaks and wide-brimmed hats affected by the citizens, and in March 1766 he issued another decree forbidding their use. Immediately Madrid was in revolt. The kin{46}g’s Walloon guards were massacred, the detested Italian, Squillaci, sought safety in flight, and for two days the city was in the hands of the murdering, destroying mob. On the third day the king abolished the Walloon guards and promised to rule without foreign ministers. The revolution was at an end, and Charles retreated to El Pardo to reflect upon the situation. The king was convinced that the priests, and particularly the clever, intriguing members of the Society of Jesus, were at the bottom of all the agitation against his policy of reform, and the result of his reflections was made known in the following year when he decreed that every Jesuit should be forthwith expelled from his dominions. The people could not believe their ears, but Charles was firm as a rock. He cleared Spain of the power which was behind the priesthood, and twelve months later he wrung from Rome the papal decree by which the Society of Jesus was temporarily suppressed. Charles III. was engrossed in business more serious than hunting when he retired from the riot of the capital to take counsel with himself in the woods of El Pardo.

Still nearer to the city of Madrid, from which it is only divided by the River Manzanares, is the{47} royal shooting-box, called Casa de Campo, the grounds of which, abounding in beautiful scenery and stocked with well-preserved game, are twelve miles in circumference. A network of channels irrigate the estate, many fountains adorn the gardens, and the great pond is full of carp and other fish. The residence was built in the middle of the sixteenth century by Philip II., who characteristically gave orders that the house was to be surrounded by a forest. To this end a royal decree was issued on January 17, 1562, authorising the acquisition of some adjoining lands, and this tract was augmented by the king’s private purchase of the ancient and noble estate of the heirs of Fadrique de Vargas. Philip, in a fine moment, declined to have their coats-of-arms removed, saying that in a king’s palace the blazonry of the families that had rendered signal service to the State were well placed. In 1582, by order of the same monarch, additional land was purchased; and though his successors have made little alterations in the original demesne, Ferdinand VI., when Prince of the Asturias, increased it by the purchase of a tract of country valued at 1,250,211 reals, and still later a smaller area was purchased by the order of Charles III. The documents relating to{48} the acquisition of these properties have been carefully preserved, and are now in the archives of the royal house. The wall around the estate was commenced in 1736 and finished twenty-two years later; it is twelve feet high and about two feet thick, and is composed entirely of brick and solid masonry.{49}


The Palace of Aranjuez became a patrimony of the Crown of Spain by virtue partly of the wise and able economic reforms instituted by Ferdinand the Catholic, and partly as a result of his characteristic greed. The husband of Isabel of Castile safeguarded his country by stripping the nobles of many of their privileges and powers, and readjusting their sources of income. He prohibited them from erecting new castles and coining money, and as the masterships of the vast estates of the military orders fell vacant, he retained the masterships and the estates in the royal family and paid the knights by fixed pensions. Aranjuez sprang into existence in the fourteenth century as the summer residence of Lorenzo Suarez de Figueroa, the master of the illustrious and wealthy Order of Santiago, who planted the land with trees and vines and olives, and erected a building that answered the double{50} purpose of castle and convent. When Ferdinand incorporated the mastership of the Order of Santiago with the Crown, Aranjuez became the summer palace of the Catholic king and his consort. In 1536 Charles V. made it a shooting villa, and Philip II. introduced English elms into the grounds, and employed Herrera, of Escorial fame, to construct additional buildings to better accommodate his growing family. The palace was partially destroyed by fire in 1650, and five years later a second fire reduced it to a ruin. In this condition it remained until 1727, when Philip V., who had tasted the pleasures of palace-building at La Granja, rebuilt the present edifice, which was successively improved by Charles III. and Ferdinand VII.

Philip V. was better advised when he decided to erect a palace on the site of the master of the Order of Santiago’s summer residence than when he wrested a foothold for La Granja from the side of the mountains of Segovia. The royal home at Aranjuez is charmingly situated in the midst of avenues of stately elms and sycamores at the confluence of the Tagus and Jarama—a verdurous oasis in the midst of treeless, waterless Castile. He constructed the palace and the public chapel from stone taken from a quarry in the district{51} of Colmenar, which he bought for the purpose. The timber he procured from the mountains of Cuenca, and the lead for the roofing from some mines that existed near Consuegra. Philip III. enriched the gardens with many of the fine bronzes and marbles that are to be seen there, and some of the splendid fountains were also added by his orders; but the Parterre department which Philip II. laid out was completed by the art-loving Philip IV., who furnished the busts of the Roman emperors, the statues, and the beautiful medallions. In 1748 the palace was again on fire, and the principal façade was restored by Ferdinand VI. in its present more elegant form.

That weak and fatuous monarch Charles IV., who added the Casas del Principe to the Escorial, and El Pardo, and the auxiliary Casa del Labrador to the palace of Aranjuez, had a particular affection for the ‘Spanish Fontainebleau.’ Here the king and queen and their favourite, Godoy, passed much of their time in the anxious days that preceded the fall of the monarchy; and here, in March 1808, the determination was arrived at by which the detested Prince of the Peace was torn from office and power, literally by the hands of the incensed mob. What a curious spectacle{52} of a family group they present to our eyes! Charles IV. and Maria Luisa, Ferdinand and Godoy, with mutual hatred in their hearts and the sound of the tumult of Madrid ringing in their ears. King, prince, and minister each believed the advancing French to be his friends; each felt confident that Spain was being trampled under foot by foreign soldiers to advance their several conflicting interests. But suddenly from the rapidly approaching host came messengers with an ultimatum from Napoleon, containing impossible conditions that would have dismembered Spain and deprived her of her independence. It was evident now that Napoleon was coming not as a saviour but as a conqueror, and now it was too late to resist him by force of arms. In the palace of Aranjuez it was resolved that the Court should retire to Seville, and from there, if the worst happened, sail for America.

Although this secret resolution was carefully guarded, a rumour of the projected flight got about, and the mob vented their anger upon Godoy, whom they believed was prepared to sell the country to the Corsican. In vain Charles addressed proclamations to ‘my dear vassals,’ and assured them that his dear ally, the Emperor{53} of the French, was only making use of Spanish soil to reach points threatened by the English enemy; in vain he denied the story of his intended flight. The greater part of the garrison in Madrid was ordered to Aranjuez, but with the soldiers went an army of country people who surrounded the king’s palace and the palace of the favourite, and closely guarded every avenue of escape. At midnight of the 17th March a bugle-call rang out, a shot responded to the summons, and in a moment the revolution was in full swing. Around the royal residence, in which Charles was lying ill with gout, the mob contented itself by howling threats and imprecations, but Godoy’s palace was carried by assault. The work of destruction was stayed for a few moments while the Princess of the Peace, a member of the royal family, and her daughter were respectfully conveyed to the royal palace. Then the ruffians got to work in terrible earnest. With murderous thoroughness they searched every room and corridor for the despised author of the national trouble, wrecking everything in their path. But Godoy had slipped from his bed, and found a refuge under a roll of matting in a neighbouring lumber-room. For thirty-six hours he remained in hiding until hunger and thirst{54} drove him from his retreat, and he was led from his ruined house to the barrack guardroom through a populace that thirsted for his life. The wretched fugitive, ill with fear and fatigue, was placed between two mounted guards, and the journey was made at a sharp trot, but he could not out-distance the vengeance of the crowd, and his guards could not protect him. Fierce blows were rained upon him by the infuriated multitude, and the man who had been master of Spain, bleeding from a score of wounds and gasping for breath, was only rescued from instant death by a miracle.

The mob still overran the streets of Aranjuez, and swarmed around the royal palace in which Charles IV. signed the decree handing the crown of Spain to Ferdinand. A few days later he withdrew his abdication privately at the instigation of General Monthion, Murat’s chief of the staff, and shortly afterwards left Aranjuez for the Escorial, from whence, on the 25th April following, he set out for Bayonne, to lay the crown at the feet of the Emperor of the French. The king died at Rome in 1819; Ferdinand, having spent six years at Valençay, where he was virtually a prisoner of the French, was restored to the throne of Spain. During the{55} nineteen years of his reign Ferdinand VII. and the coarse, ignorant vulgarians who composed the camarilla by which he surrounded himself, spent much of their time at Aranjuez. Here the vast conspiracy was hatched against the Constitution, which led to the battle between the militia and the citizens in 1822; and here the worthless monarch intrigued until his death to re-establish absolutism, and restore the old rotten order of things which the nation had shed its best blood to wipe out.

The nearness of Aranjuez to Madrid and the beauty of its situation has always made it a favourite residence of the Spanish royal family. The town itself, which has a population of some ten thousand inhabitants, is composed of wide streets and large squares, and many noble families possess villas in the neighbourhood. The interior of the palace, which reveals an incongruous jumble of modern innovations adapted to the architecture and decoration of bygone generations, is filled with a large assortment of works of art, some possessing a very high order of merit, and others very little. The celebrated staircase which faces the principal entrance is magnificent. It leads to the Saleta, a room embellished with a granite chimney-piece and{56} chandeliers of rock crystal and bronze, and containing several paintings by the famous Italian artist Luca Giordano, who is known in Spain by the name of Juan Jordán. Other pictures by Giordano, painted on white silk damask, are to be seen in an adjoining apartment. In the Oratory is a superb altar, with an agate inlaid table, and Titian’s ‘Annunciation of the Virgin.’ Next to the Oratory is the Hall of Ambassadors, a modern apartment, with a ceiling painted in 1850 by Vicente and Maximino Camarón. The walls of the queen’s study in the same suite are covered with white damask, and the room is furnished with twelve chairs and a carved mahogany table of the time of Charles IV.

The ball-room and the dining-room, even the Moorish room, in which Rafael Contreras has revived the beauties of the Alhambra, are surpassed by the music-room, which is the finest saloon in the palace. Here all the decorations are Chinese in character, worked out and enamelled with great skill; and the chandelier, which is in one piece, is an exquisite specimen of workmanship. The walls of this room are entirely covered with large porcelain plaques, representing in high relief groups of beautifully modelled Oriental figures. The looking-glasses,{57} made at La Granja, with their frames composed of fruits and flowers, enhance the effect. Joseph Gricci, who modelled and painted the music-saloon, was one of the artists brought over from Naples by Charles III. in 1759, when he established in Madrid the factory of Buen Retiro. In addition to this superb porcelain, the palace boasts a bedstead of splendidly carved lignum-vitae, and some pictures by Bosch (Jerome van Aeken), a painter of the sixteenth century, who is almost unknown outside Spain. These canvases represent fantastic subjects and allegories in the style of Breughel, and were highly praised by the critics of his time.

The Convent of San Pascual was founded by Charles III., and the theatre in the town owed its inception to the same monarch. The convent church contains only a few valuable pictures, but it is rich in marble and beautifully carved wood. The convent library possesses many ancient manuscripts, and the convent grounds are famous for their beauty, but the gardens of the royal palace are the crowning glory of Aranjuez.

That most entertaining author and indefatigable dispenser of Testaments, George Borrow, travelled in Spain at a time when royalty was battling for its very existence. He found the{58} country dangerous and desolated, and the country homes of its kings fallen into a state of neglect. When he was in La Granja, the palace of San Ildefonso was shut up, and the town which surrounds the patrimony of the Crown of Spain was practically deserted. He had no better luck in Aranjuez. He admits the beauty of the district, but he describes the place as in a state of desolation; he recalls the fact that Ferdinand VII. spent his latter days in its palace surrounded by lovely señoras and Andalusian bull-fighters, and quotes—perhaps with more sentiment than sympathy—the words of Schiller:

‘The happy days in fair Aranjuez
Are past and gone.’
‘Intriguing courtiers no longer crowd its halls,’ he reflects; ‘its spacious circus, where Manchegan bulls once roared in rage and agony, is now closed, and the light tinkling of guitars is no longer heard amidst its groves and gardens.’ One feels as one reads these passages that Borrow was not at his best as a moralist. One prefers him when he is describing in his lively, absorbing manner his personal experiences, and is glad to learn that he disposed of eighty Testaments in desolate Aranjuez, and that he ‘might{59} have sold many more of these Divine books’ if he had remained there a longer period.

But we are sorry that Borrow did not see the Palace Gardens in April or May, when the view from the Parterre is one of almost unsurpassed loveliness. The Reina, Isla, and Principe Gardens are furnished with a multitude of bridges, grottoes, fountains, and cascades, bordered and surrounded by an exuberance of plants and flowers from England, France, and the East, all bathed by the waters of the Tagus, and made musical with the notes of myriad birds. ‘The Nightingale that in the Branches sang’ returns in his thousands every spring, and we hear ‘The melodious noise of birds among the spreading branches, and the pleasing fall of water running violently.’ Here are Oriental trees, palms, and the cedars of Lebanon, and interspersed with them are the first elms introduced by Philip II. into Spain from England, which grow magnificently under the combined influence of heat and moisture. The impressionable and responsive Edmondo de Amicis writes of Aranjuez:

‘The interior of the royal building is superb, but all the riches of the palace do not compare with the view of the gardens, which seem to have been laid out for the family of a Titanic king, to whom the parks and{60} gardens of our kings must appear like terrace flower-beds or stable-yards. There are avenues as far as the eye can reach, flanked by immensely high trees, whose branches interlace as if bent by two contrary winds, which traverse in every direction a forest whose boundaries one cannot see; and through this forest the broad and rapid Tagus describes a majestic curve, forming here and there cascades and basins. A luxurious and flourishing vegetation abounds between a labyrinth of small avenues, cross roads, and openings; and on every side gleam statues, fountains, columns, and sprays of water, which fall in splashes, bows, and drops, in the midst of every kind of flower of Europe and America. To the majestic roar of the cascade of the Tagus is joined the song of innumerable nightingales, who utter their plaintive vibratory notes in the mysterious shade of the solitary paths. Beyond the palace, and all around the shrubberies, extend vineyards, olive-groves, plantations of fruit trees, and smiling meadows. It is a genuine oasis, surrounded by a desert, which Philip II. chose in a day of good humour, almost as if to temper with the gay picture the gloomy melancholy of the Escorial, and in which one still breathes the atmosphere, so to speak, of the private life of the kings of Spain.’

The Jardines de la Reina are of minor importance, but the Jardines de la Isla, comprising the four divisions which are known as Parterre, La Estatuas, Isla, and Emparrado, are filled with natural and created beauties. In the Isabel {61}II. Garden is a bronze statue of the queen, erected to commemorate the political events of 1834. It is surrounded by a handsome iron railing, and completed by eight stone seats and as many marble vases mounted on pedestals. The Jardines de Principe, a much more modern preserve, are divided into four departments, and bisected by avenues that lead to the various small squares and to the Princesa, Apollo, Blanco, and Embajadores Avenues, the last of which terminates in the little Pabellones Garden of the time of Ferdinand VI. In addition to these princely gardens there are the English Garden, remarkable for its carved rock supporting a well-modelled swan; the Chinese Garden with its banana plantations; and the Garden of the Princess, acquired in 1535, and adorned in 1616 with a mechanical clock, decorated with twelve bronze figures that play on bronze trumpets. On the banks of the swiftly flowing river are the paddocks of the Crown, where camels and llamas roam, and a stud farm, where are bred English and Spanish blood horses and the beautiful cream-coloured animals of the Aranjuez stock.

The auxiliary palace called the Casa del Labrador, or Labourer’s Cottage, built by Charles IV., is a remarkable structure, being a{62} series of boudoirs, à petit Trianon, worthy of a Pompadour. The ceilings are painted by Zacarias Velazquez, Lopez, Maella, and other artists, and the walls of the back staircase are decorated with scenes and figures of the time of Charles I. At the top of the staircase is figured a balcony, on which are leaning the handsome wife and children of the painter, Z. Velazquez. The gilded bronze balustrade of the main staircase contains gold to the value of £3000, and the marbles over the doors are very fine. On the ground-floor of the building, which is composed of three stories, are thirteen statues by Spanish sculptors. In the centre of the hall is a marble figure representing Envy, and around the apartment are twenty busts of Carrara marble. Among the treasures of the palace are many Japanese vases and bronzes of great artistic value, marble busts of Minerva and Mars, a group representing a sacrifice in honour of Venus, and an enormous, beautifully carved mahogany fountain. The decorations consist of platinum, artistically worked pavements of Buen Retiro porcelain, and the most gorgeous silk embroideries and tapestries bordered with gold; while the furniture includes priceless chandeliers, Sèvres vases, candelabra, and clocks. A chair and table in{63} malachite, a present from Prince Demidoff to the ex-Queen Isabella of Spain, is valued at about £1500. The apartment known as Retrete is adorned with a composition resembling marble in the Moorish style and Etruscan low relief, and furnished with crimson coverings bordered with gold, while all the appointments of the hall, the capricious clocks and floral stands of bronze and glass, the table of rock crystal, and the wealth of marbles, all contribute to the magnificence of this so-called Casa del Labrador.{64}


The most modern of the many royal residences in Spain is the palace which the queen-mother built for herself and her young family in the most easterly province on the northern coast of the Peninsula. Queen Maria Cristina had been Regent for three years when in 1889 she determined to make a home between the mountains and the sea in a spot far removed from the etiquette and stress of the capital and from the sad memories which were associated with the ancient palaces of Castile. Her Majesty spent her first summer holiday at Miramar, the capital of Guipuzcoa in 1894, and here, overlooking the Bay of Biscay, Alfonso XIII. was brought up among and in the heart of his own people. Here he was prepared by a rigorous course of study to assume the duties of the high destiny to which he was born, and here also he learnt to ride and shoot, to swim and handle a boat, and to excel{65} in every form of manly sport. At San Sebastian the dignity and restraint of royalty is largely relaxed, and the English visitor realises more clearly than in any other part of the country how intensely democratic is the Spaniard at heart. The King of Spain is more in touch with the masses of his people than the ruler of any other European nation. He is an anointed sovereign and the most august personage in the land; but he is a Spaniard, he belongs to his people, he is one of themselves. In Madrid court etiquette keeps the sovereign at a different altitude from his subjects, but here he rides and drives abroad, generally unattended, and sets an example of princely amiability and unaffected kindliness which distinguishes all ranks of the Spanish nobility. The line of demarkation between the nobles and the people is so clearly defined that it never has to be emphasised. In their relations there is no unbending on the one side, there is no servility on the other. A grandee of Spain does not imperil his dignity by joining the cotillon at the Casino; a duchess can drink tea at the crowded tables of a public café without taking thought of appearances.

In San Sebastian the sovereign is not the High and Mighty Señor Don Alfonso XIII. of Bourbon{66} and Austria, Catholic King of Spain, but rather is he ‘le chevalier Printemps,’ and the respect with which he is everywhere greeted is based as much in affection for his person as in deference to his exalted station. In all the festivities and social functions of the fashionable watering-place, His Majesty takes a prominent part; and although roulette is forbidden at the Casino while Royalty is at Miramar, no other restriction is imposed upon the gaiety of the town by the king’s presence. Don Alfonso is president of the Yacht Club and of the Horse Show; he distributes the athletic championship prizes, and is among the guns at every important shoot; the homely, merry festival of the Urumea would be incomplete without him; his attendance in the Avenida de la Libertad is as necessary as the sunshine to the Carnival of Flowers. The queen-mother’s handsome team of four Spanish mules is to be met with every day in the neighbouring country, and the king’s motor car is a familiar object of the landscape between San Sebastian and Biarritz. It was from San Sebastian that he motored to the bright little French town to make his formal request for the hand of Victoria Eugénie of Battenberg, and it was to Miramar that he brought his affianced bride to{67} present her to the queen-mother and the Spanish people.

If the Spanish coast had been searched from one end to the other, it would have been impossible to have found a more picturesque spot than the bay of San Sebastian, where the blue billows from the North Atlantic bring their long journey to an end on a stretch of the most golden sands in Europe. During the summer months the crested rollers, following one another with the regularity and precision of Highland regiments at the quickstep, sweep through the narrow channel between Santa Clara and Mount Orgullo, and, making the semicircle of the Concha, break their formation at the private landing-stage beneath the royal palace of Miramar, and fall out about the rocky base of Mount Igueldo. Seen from the royal yacht, the Giralda, which always lies in the bay when the royal family are in residence at Miramar, the town of San Sebastian lies in the base of a crescent, the horns of which are tipped with the old light tower at one extremity and the castle of La Mota at the other. Behind the town Mount Ulia raises its wooded height in the middle distance, and beyond it, as far as the eye can see, the white-capped sentinels of the Pyrenees complete the view. One can sip{68} one’s chocolate on the terrace of the restaurant which crowns Mount Ulia, and gaze on San Sebastian spread out like a panorama in the valley, or watch the sunlight reflected from the white cliffs of France, or try to make out the sword-cut in the coast-line by which the tide flows, as through the neck of a bottle, into the inland sea, which laps the very door-steps of Pasajes and divides it into the two sections of San Juan and San Pedro. There are seasons when the Bay of Biscay is the incarnation of elemental fury, when the inviting natural harbour of San Sebastian is a death trap for any vessel that flies to it for shelter. When the south and south-west winds are blowing at the end of September, and the hurricane is driving the raging billows of the Atlantic before it; when even whales are caught by the stampeding waters and tossed like weeds on the sandy bosom of the Concha; when the roof of the Royal Nautical Club is swept by the waves, and the breakwater at the mouth of the Urumea crumbles before the ferocity of the gale; then is this north-east coast of Spain anathema maranatha to those that go down to the sea in ships. But by the end of September, the holiday season in San Sebastian is over, and the holiday-makers are distributed{69} over every country in Europe. The Court is removed to Madrid, the Palace of Miramar and the Casino are closed, the Giralda seeks a surer anchorage, and the fishing-fleet is safely berthed in the land-locked harbours of Pasajes.

The construction of the Royal Palaces of Madrid absorbed over a quarter of a century, and a whole army of labourers were twenty years on the Escorial before it was ready for occupation by Philip II. Five hundred men built the royal residence of Miramar in four years. Two architects collaborated in its construction—Mr. Selden Wornum, who laid down the general plan, and Señor Goicoa, who was in charge of the building operations and revised the plans as the work proceeded. The materials used, with the exception of some special tiles, which had to be brought from England, are Spanish, the marble and stone having been brought from the provinces of Guipuzcoa, Valladolid, and Burgos; the iron for the different stages from the ‘Altos Hornos’ and ‘Vizcaya’ factories of Bilbao, and the metal work from Eibar.

The real Casa de Campo de Miramar is composed of three departments: the palace, the offices, and the stables and coach-houses. The palace is a three-storied building, in the style of{70} an English country house. On the ground-floor, at the entrance, is a spacious central gallery, which extends nearly the whole length of the palace, dividing it into two parts. On the right are the king’s study, the library, the oratory, the reading-room and the dining-room, which is rectangular, and boasts a magnificent balcony. On the left are the hall, the official reception rooms, and the billiard-room. Between the study and the library is a large drawing-room. On the first floor are the apartments of the king and queen and the old playroom of his Majesty, all communicating with each other by a terrace which overlooks the sea and the garden. From the king’s room a tower is reached, which is surmounted by a flag-staff. The rooms occupied by the royal servants are on the upper floor. A long gallery connects the main building with the house in which are lodged the chief officials of the palace, and the stables, which are fashioned on the most modern English pattern, form a separate building.

Over the principal entrance are three beautifully carved shields: one with the arms of Spain, another with those of the king, and the third with those of the queen. In the construction of the palace, the chief considerations have been{71} comfort and convenience. Every most modern improvements, both scientific and æsthetic, have been employed to attain this end. The furniture is elegant, and harmonises perfectly with the decoration of the rooms; the tapestries, paintings, porcelains, all the objects of art, in fact, which are found there in great profusion, are in the most exquisite taste; while the park by which Miramar is surrounded is probably the best cultivated domain in the possession of the Crown. The telegraph links up the palace with the whole world; and the telephone connects it with the royal palace and the Government Offices at Madrid. At the extremity of the grounds of the Royal residence, which have been built over the road, and continued to the water’s edge, is the private landing-stage which his Majesty always uses in going to and from the Giralda. On most days during the San Sebastian season, the king is to be seen in the Bay, and he is always one of the most interested spectators of the races during the regatta week.

In a little volume of this kind, which is intended as an album and pictorial souvenir of the palaces of which it treats rather than an illustrated handbook, little attention has been given to the cities in which these royal residences are{72} situated, or the country by which they are surrounded. But a few lines may be added here about San Sebastian, which in most respects is different from other Spanish cities, even from the capitals of the other Basque provinces. San Sebastian is kept spotlessly clean, its municipal management is perfect, and its beggars are conspicuous by their absence. The modernity of the town is due to the firing of the place after the siege of 1813, when the only part that escaped was the bit of old town, situated near the little Port des Pêcheurs, under the shadow of Mount Urgull. The broad, even, regular streets of the new town, which is bisected by the handsome Avenida de la Libertad, are flanked by splendid shops and hotels that would do credit to any European city. The whole place wears an aspect of smiling prosperity, and its life during the holiday season is one continuous round of hearty, innocent gaiety. Cricket, it must be admitted, has not yet been naturalised in Spain, and the golfer must cross the border to Biarritz to indulge in his favourite game, but every other sport that the average Englishman affects can be enjoyed here. The bathing from the beach is the best and safest in the world, and the lover of picturesque scenery has a paradise of varied{73} landscapes and sea pieces within walking distance of the town. There is lawn tennis in the new recreation grounds, and pelota matches, at one or other of the courts, are played daily; while, for those who care for bull fighting, there is a corrida every Sunday afternoon during the season.{74}



The beautiful Moorish palace of the Alcazar at Seville, unlike the more famous Alhambra of Granada, is still a royal palace, though only occasionally the residence of their Catholic Majesties. The upper floor, containing the royal apartments, is always kept ready for these illustrious tenants, and in consequence is rarely accessible by the tourist and sight-seer. The palace proper is one of a group of buildings known as the Alcazares, which is surrounded by an embattled wall, and includes several open spaces and numerous private dwellings. Immediately inside the wall are two squares called the Patio de las Banderas and Patio de la Monteria. At the far end of the former is the office of the governor of the palace, and to the right of this is an entrance whence a colonnaded passage called the Apeadero leads straight{75} through to the gardens, or, by turning to the right, to the Patio del Leon. On one side this latter square communicates with the Patio de la Monteria; on the other side is the palace of the Alcazar itself. I hope this will make the rather puzzling topography of the place a little more intelligible.

Whether or not the Roman ‘Arx’ stood on this spot, as tradition avers, I cannot pretend to say. But there is no room for doubt that a palace stood here in the days of the Abbadite amirs, and that this building was restored and remodelled by the Almohades. To outward seeming the Alcazar is as Moorish a monument as the Alhambra. In reality, few traces remain of the palace raised by the Moslem rulers of either dynasty, and the present building was mainly the work of the Castilian kings—especially of Pedro the Cruel. But though built under and for a Christian monarch, it is practically certain that the architects were Moors and good Moslems, and that their instructions and intentions were to build a Moorish palace. Historically, you may say, the Alcazar is a Christian work; artistically, Mohammedan.

The actual palace occupies only a small part of the site of the older structures, and incorporates{76} but a few fragments of their fabrics. Since Pedro the Cruel’s day, so many sovereigns have restored, remodelled, and added to the building, that it is far from being homogeneous, though we can hardly agree with Contreras that it is ‘far from being a monument of Oriental art.’

Pedro built more than one palace, or, more correctly, two or three wings of the same palace, in this enclosure. Traces of his Stucco Palace (Palacio del Yeso) remain. Pedro looms very large in the history of Seville. He plays the same part here as Harûn-al-Rashid in the story of Bagdad. He was fond of the Moors, and affected their costumes and customs. He also favoured the Jews, and was alleged by his enemies to be the changeling child of a Jewess. His treasurer and trusted adviser was an Israelite named Simuel Ben Levi. He served the king long and faithfully, till one day it was whispered that half the wealth that should fill the royal coffers had been diverted into his own. Ben Levi was seized without warning and placed on the rack, whereupon he expired, not of pain, but of sheer indignation. Under his house—so the story goes—was found a cavern in which were three piles of gold and silver, twice as high as a man. Pedro on beholding these was much{77} affected. ‘Had Simuel surrendered a third of the least of these piles,’ he exclaimed, ‘he should have gone free. Why would he rather die than speak?’

Stories innumerable are told of this king, a good many, no doubt, being pure inventions. There is no reason to question the account of his treatment of Abu Saïd, the Moorish Sultan of Granada. This prince had usurped his throne, and being solicitous of Pedro’s alliance, came to visit him at the Alcazar with a magnificent retinue. The costliest presents were offered to the Castilian king, whose heart, however, was bent on possessing the superb ruby in the regalia of his guest. Before many hours had passed, the Moors were seized in their apartments and stripped of their raiment and valuables. Abu Saïd, ridiculously tricked out, was mounted on a donkey, and with thirty-six of his courtiers, hurried to a field outside the town, where they were bound to posts. A train of horsemen appeared, Don Pedro at their head, and transfixed the helpless men with darts, the king shouting, as he hurled his missiles at his luckless guest: ‘This for the treaty you made me conclude with Aragon! This for the castle you took from me!’ The ruby which had been the{78} cause of the Moor’s death was presented by his murderer to the Black Prince, and now adorns the crown of England.

Nor did Pedro confine his fury to the sterner sex. Doña Urraca Osorio, because her son was concerned in Don Enrique’s uprising, was burned at the stake on the Alameda. Her faithful servant, Leonor Dávalos, seeing that the flames had consumed her mistress’s clothing, threw herself into the pyre to cover her nakedness, and was likewise burnt to ashes. Having conceived a passion for Doña Maria Coronel, the king caused the husband to be executed in the Torre del Oro. The widow, far from yielding to his entreaties and threats, took the veil and destroyed her beauty by means of vitriol. Pedro at once transferred his attentions to her sister, Doña Aldonza, and met with more success. If a chronicler is to be believed, he threw his brother Enrique’s young daughter naked to the lions, like some Christian virgin martyr. The generous (or possibly overfed) brutes refused the proffered prey, and the whimsical tyrant ever afterwards treated the maiden kindly. In memory of her experience, she was known as ‘Leonor de los Leones.’

Crossing the Plaza del Triunfo, which lies{79} between the Cathedral and the old Moorish walls, we enter the Patio de las Banderas, so called either because a flag was hoisted here when the royal family was in residence, or on account of the trophy, composed of the arms of Spain with crossed flags, displayed over one of the arches. Pedro was accustomed to administer justice, tempered with ferocity, after the Oriental fashion, seated on a stone bench in a corner of this square. The surrounding private houses occupy the site of the old Palace of the Almohades, and one of the halls—the Sala de Justicia—is still visible. It is entered from the Patio de la Monteria. Contreras assigns an earlier date to this room even than the advent of Almohades. It is square, and measures nine metres across. The stucco ceiling is adorned with stars and wreaths, and bordered by a painted frieze. The decorations consist chiefly of inscriptions in Cufic characters. The right-angled apertures in the walls were closed either by screens of translucent stucco or by tapestries, ‘which must,’ says Gestoso y Perez, ‘have made the hall appear a miracle of wealth and splendour.’ It was in this hall, often overlooked by visitors, that Don Pedro overheard four judges discussing the division of a bribe they had received. The question was{80} abruptly solved by the division of the disputants’ heads and bodies. Thanks to its isolation, the Sala de Justicia escaped the dreadful ‘restoration’ effected in the middle of the nineteenth century by the Duc de Montpensier. The house No. 3, Patio de las Banderas, formed part, in the opinion of Gestoso y Perez, of the Palacio del Yeso, or Stucco Palace, of Don Pedro.

Passing through the colonnaded Apeadero, built by Philip III. in 1607, and once used as an armoury, we reach the Patio del Leon, where tournaments used to be held, and stand in front of the Palace of the Alcazar. The façade is gorgeous yet elegant, of a gaudiness that in this brilliant city of golden sunshine and white walls is not obtrusive. Yet, despite the Moorish character of the decoration, the Arabic capitals and pilasters, and the square entrance ‘in the Persian style,’ the front is not that of an eastern palace; and it is without surprise that we read over the portal, in quaint Gothic characters, the legend: ‘The most high, the most noble, the most powerful, and the most victorious Don Pedro, commanded these Palaces, these Alcazares, and these entrances to be made in the year (of Cæsar) 1402’ (1364). Elsewhere on the façade are the oft-repeated Cufic inscriptions: ‘There is no con{81}queror but Allah,’ ‘Glory to our lord the Sultan’ (Don Pedro), ‘Eternal glory to Allah,’ etc., etc.

This is a very different entrance from that of the Alhambra, the building on the model of which the Alcazar was undoubtedly planned. From the entrance a passage leads from your left to one extremity of the Patio de las Doncellas, the central and principal court of the palace. How this patio came to be so named I have never been able to ascertain. There is an absurd story to the effect that here were collected the girls fabled to have been sent by way of annual tribute by Mauregato to the Khalifa. Had such a transaction taken place, the tribute would have been payable, of course, at Cordova, not at Seville. Moreover this court was among the works executed in the fourteenth century.

The Alcazar strikes us (if we have come from Granada) as being on a much smaller scale than the Alhambra. It is very much better preserved, as it should be, seeing that it is a century younger; and if it vaguely strikes one as being fitter for the abode of a court favourite than of a monarch, it impresses one as being fresher, more elegant—in a word, more artistic—than the older building.{82}

The Patio de las Doncellas is an oblong, and surrounded by an arcade of pointed and dentated arches which spring from the capitals of white marble columns placed in pairs. The middle arch on each side is higher than the others, and springs from oblong imposts resting on the twin columns and flanked by the miniature pillars characteristic of the Grenadine architecture. The spandrels are beautifully adorned with stucco work of the trellis pattern. On the frieze above runs a flowing scroll with Arabic inscriptions, among them being ‘Glory to our lord, the Sultan Don Pedro,’ and this very remarkable text: ‘There is but one God; He is eternal; He was not begotten and has never begotten, and He has no equal.’ This inscription, opposed to the tenets of Christianity, was evidently designed by a Moslem artificer, who relied (and safely relied) on the ignorance of his employers. The frieze is decorated also, at intervals, by the escutcheons of Don Pedro and of Ferdinand and Isabella, and by the well-known devices of Charles V., the Pillars of Hercules with the motto ‘Plus Oultre.’ The inside of the arcade is ornamented with a high dado of glazed tile mosaic (azulejo), brilliantly coloured, and with the highly prized metallic{83} glint. The combinations and variations of the designs are very ingenious and interesting. This decoration probably dates from Don Pedro’s time. Behind each central arch is a round-arched doorway, flanked by twin windows. These are framed in rich conventional ornamental work. Through little oblong windows above the doors light falls and illumines the ceilings of the apartments opening into the court. The ceiling of the arcade dates from the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, but was restored in 1856. A deep cornice marks the division of the lower part of the court from the upper story, the front of which, with its white marble arches, columns and balustrades, was the work of Don Luis de Vega, a sixteenth-century architect.

Three recesses in the wall to the left of the entrance are pointed out as the audience closets of King Pedro; but they are much more likely to be walled-up entrances to formerly existing corridors and chambers behind.

The door facing this wall gives access to the Hall of the Ambassadors (Salon de los Embajadores), the finest apartment in this fairy palace. The doors are magnificent examples of inlay work, and were, according to the inscription{84} on them, made by Moorish carpenters from Toledo in the year 1364. The hall is about thirty-three feet square, and exhibits a splendid combination of the various styles with the Gothic and Renaissance. The ornamentation is rich and elaborate almost beyond the possibility of description. The magnificent ‘half-orange’ ceiling of carved wood rests on a frieze decorated with the Tower and Lion. Then come Cufic inscriptions on a blue ground and ugly female heads of the sixteenth century. Then, below another band of decoration, is a row of fifty-six busts of the Kings of Spain, from Receswinto the Goth to Philip III. These date, at earliest, from the sixteenth century. The wrought-iron balconies were made by Francisco Lopez in 1592. The decoration of this splendid chamber is completed by a high dado of blue, white, and green ‘azulejos.’ It was in this hall that Abu Saïd is said to have been received by his treacherous host.

The Hall of the Ambassadors communicates on each side with the patio and adjoining halls by entrances composed of three horseshoe arches, supported by graceful pillars and enclosed in a circular arch.

Through the arch facing the entrance from the{85} patio we pass into a long narrow apartment, known as the Comedor, where the late Comtesse de Paris was born in 1848. To the north of the salon is a small square chamber, called the ‘Cuarto del Techo de Felipe Segundo,’ with a coffered ceiling dating from the time of that king. North of this room is the exquisite little Patio de las Muñecas (Court of the Dolls) purely Grenadine in treatment. The rounded arches are separated by cylindrical pillars—I call them so for want of a better word—which rest on slender columns of different colours, reminding one of the early or Cordovan style. The capitals are rich, the pillars they uphold decorated with vertical lines of Cufic inscriptions, many of which, says Contreras, are placed upside down. The walls and spandrels are tastefully adorned with stucco work of the trellis pattern, tiling and mosaic. This court, though still harmonious and beautiful, suffered rather than benefited by its restoration in 1843; but the architecture has been not unsuccessfully reproduced in the upper story.

This charming spot is by no means suggestive of deeds of blood and violence; yet, just as they point out the Salon de los Embajadores as the scene of the arrest of the Red Sultan by Don Pedro, so here do the guides place the scene of{86} the murder of Don Fadrique by the truculent monarch—a fratricide to be avenged by another fratricide at Montiel. The Master of Santiago, to give the Don his usual title, after a successful campaign in Murcia, had been graciously received by his brother the king, and presently went to pay his respects in another part of the palace to the royal favourite, Maria de Padilla. It is said that she warned him of his impending fate; perhaps by her manner, if not by words, she tried to arouse in him a sense of danger, but the soldier prince returned to the king’s presence. With a shout, Pedro gave the fatal signal. ‘Kill the Master of Santiago!’ he cried. Guards fell upon the prince. His sword was entangled in his scarf, and he was butchered without mercy. His retainers fled in all directions, pursued by Pedro’s guards. One took refuge in Maria de Padilla’s own apartment, and tried to screen himself by holding her little daughter, Doña Beatriz, before him. Pedro tore the child away, and dispatched the unfortunate man with his own hand. The murder took place on May 19, 1358.

To the west of the court is a little room, elegantly decorated, and named after the Catholic Sovereigns, by whom it was restored. Their well-known devices appear, together with the Towers{87} and Lions, among the decorations, which reveal the influence of the plateresque style. The north side of the patio is occupied by the Cuarto de los Principes, not to be confounded with a similarly named apartment on the floor above. At either end of this room is an arch, adorned with stucco work, admitting to a cabinet or alcove. That to the right has a fine artesonado ceiling, and that to the left is decorated in a species of Moorish plateresque style. An inscription states that the frieze was made in the year 1543 by Juan de Simancas, master carpenter.

East of the Patio de las Muñecas, and occupying the north side of the Patio de las Doncellas, is the long room called the Dormitorio de los Reyes Moros. All the apartments in the Alcazar are fancifully named, but the designation of none is quite so stupid and misleading as this. The columns of the twin windows on either side of the door appear to date from the time of the Khalifate. The doors themselves are richly inlaid and painted with geometrical patterns. The three horseshoe arches leading to the al hami, or alcove, also seem to belong to the early period of Spanish-Arabic art. The room is so richly decorated that scarce a handbreadth of the surface is free from ornament.{88}

On the opposite side of the central court is the sumptuous Salon de Carlos V., the ceiling of which was constructed by order of the emperor, and is adorned with classical heads. The tile and stucco work is the finest in the palace. There is a legend to the effect that St. Ferdinand died in this room—on his knees, with a cord round his neck and a taper in his hand—but it is unlikely that this part of the palace existed in his time. The guide pointed out the room to the west of this salon as the chamber of Maria de Padilla, but this again is, to put it mildly, doubtful.

The upper chambers of the Alcazar, which are not accessible to the general public, are very handsome. The floor overlooking the Patio del Leon is occupied by the Sala del Principe, with its beautiful spring windows, polychrome tiling, and columns brought from the old Moorish Palace at Valencia. Adjacent is the Oratory, built by order of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1504. The tile work is of extraordinary beauty, and shows that the Moors had not a monopoly of talent in this kind of decoration. The fine Visitation over the altar is signed by Francesco Nicoloso the Italian. On the same floor is the reputed bed-chamber of Don Pedro. Over the{89} door may be seen four death’s-heads, and over another entrance the curious figure of a man who looks back over his shoulder at a grinning skull. These gruesome designs commemorate the summary execution by the king of four judges whom he overheard discussing the division of a bribe. The royal apartments on this floor contain some precious works of art; but I abstain from mentioning the most remarkable of these, as pictures are so often transferred in Spain from one royal residence to another that such indications are often out of date before they are printed.

The gardens are really the most pleasing spot within the Alcazares. They form a delicious pleasaunce, where the orange and citron diffuse their fragrance, and magic fountains spring up suddenly beneath the passenger’s feet, sprinkling him with a cooling dew. I noticed some flower beds shaped like curiously formed crosses, which the gardener told me were the crosses of the orders of Calatrava, Santiago, Alcantara, and Montesa. You are also shown the baths of Maria de Padilla, which are approached through a gloomy arched entrance. In the favourite’s time they had no other roof than the sky, and no further protection from prying eyes than that{90} afforded by a screen of orange and lemon trees. In Mohammedan times the baths were probably used by the ladies of the harem.

The Alcazar, I think, disappoints most foreigners. The architectural and decorative work of the Spanish Moors and their descendants pleases people quite inexperienced in the arts by its mere prettiness, its brilliance, its originality, and its colour; and it delights still more those who are able to appreciate its marvellous combinations of geometrical forms, its exquisite epigraphy, and all its subtle details. But the average traveller stands between these two classes of observers. He looks for grandeur where he should expect only beauty, and his eye is wearied by the wealth of conventional ornamentation. What I think is conspicuously lacking in the Alcazar, and to a much less extent in the Alhambra, is atmosphere. Memories do not haunt you in these gilded halls. There is nothing about them to suggest that anything ever happened here. The legends tell us the contrary; but assuredly no one was ever less successful in impressing his personality on his abode than were the founders and inhabitants of the Alcazar.{91}



The Palacio Real, which towers high above the ‘most noble, loyal, imperial, crowned and heroic city’ of Madrid, dominating the bleak table-land, and reflecting in the rays of southern sunshine the gleaming whiteness of the distant, snow-capped Guadarramas, occupies a site which has been royal since the eleventh century. In 1466 an earthquake partially destroyed the Moorish Alcazar, and on the ruins Henry IV. constructed a palace of mediæval splendour, which was enlarged by Charles V., embellished by Philip II. and completed by Philip III., who added a façade—the joint work of Toledos, Herrera, Moras, Luis and Gaspar de Vega—which was acclaimed as a masterpiece of architecture. In the time of Philip II., the palace is described as having five hundred rooms. On the ground-floor was the grand reception-room, an apartment 170 feet long, in which the ten state councillors held{92} their meetings. Behind the tapestry hangings the walls were lined with marble, and guards were stationed at the outer and inner portals. There was a theatre in the building, in which some of the great comedies of Philip’s reign were first produced, and in an adjoining saloon was held, in 1622, the famous Poetic Tournament of which Lope de Vega has left us such a sprightly account. The rooms were hung with the richest Flemish tapestries, the picture gallery was filled with priceless works of art, and the treasury of the king’s, the Guarda Joyas—that store of untold gold and silver, of jewels and precious stones—was contained in a carefully guarded suite of apartments. Gil Gonzalez Davila in his Teatro de las Grandezas de Madrid tells us that included in the royal treasure were a diamond valued at 200,000 ducats, a pearl as large as a nut—which is impressive but indefinite—called La Huerfana (the Orphan), because of its unique size, and a golden lily, which was recovered from the French by Charles V., who made its return a condition in the agreement by which they obtained the deliverance of Francis I. A maze of subterranean passages was constructed beneath the old palace, some of which exist beneath the present building.{93}

On Christmas night, 1734, the Royal Palace of the Alcazar was on fire, and the building and all its treasures were utterly destroyed. This disaster afforded Philip V. the opportunity to display his powers as a master builder. He had already created the Palace of San Ildefonso at La Granja, he had rebuilt the palace at Aranjuez, he had tinkered at the Alcazar at Seville. Now he would create a marble monument that should surpass the magnitude and magnificence of Philip the Second’s Escorial and outstrip in splendour the Versailles palace of Louis XIV. Such a work was beyond the art of the followers of Churriguera: he sent to the Court of Turin for the Abbé Felipe de Juvara, the Sicilian, and confided to him the scheme of the palace that he would raise on the heights of San Bernardino. It was to be a square edifice of the composite order, having four façades, each 1700 feet long, it was to contain twenty-three courts, approached by thirty-four entrances from the exterior, and be completed with gardens, churches, public offices, and a theatre. It was to be a collection of palaces under one roof, and the colossal model of the building, which is preserved in the Galeria Topografica of the Madrid Museum, conveys some idea of the marvel of architecture which the king{94} and his designer had conceived between them. But the palace on the San Bernardino hill was never begun. The ruling ambition of the masterful Elizabeth Farnese was to advance the interests of her children, and she begrudged the expense which the colossal building would entail. She raised so many difficulties and delayed so long the adoption of the plans that Juvara died of hope deferred, and Giovanoni Battista Saccheti came from Turin to carry on the work. The queen by this time had exhausted Philip’s resistance to her will, and Sacchetti’s less pretentious design, traced among the still smouldering ruins of the ancient Alcazar, was adopted on 7th April 1737.

A year later the first stone of the present palace was laid. The foundation-stone bore a commemorative description and enclosed a leaden casket, containing gold, silver, and copper coins from the mints of Madrid, Seville, Mexico, and Peru. The work of ensuring the solidity of the foundations by moulding them into the western slope of the hill cost an enormous sum of money, entailed an immense amount of labour, and occupied a proportionately extensive period of time. In 1808 the palace had cost 75,000,000 pesetas, and the subsequent alterations, which included{95} the enclosing of the Campo del Moro with a wall and gilded railing, brought up the sum total to the enormous sum of over 100,000,000 pesetas. Philip died in 1746, long before the palace he had projected was near completion. The work went on through the thirteen years’ reign of Philip VI., and when Charles III. came to Madrid in 1759 he recognised that unless the rate of progress was accelerated he would have to occupy the building at the Buen Retiro for the rest of his life. Under his resolute authority the work was pushed on with more vigour, and it was ready for his occupation on 1st December 1764. It had taken over a quarter of a century to build, it had cost Spain three millions sterling, but it gained the place that Philip V. anticipated for it among the palaces of the world.

It has been said, and the statement is but slightly exaggerated, that our own Buckingham Palace looks shabby and insignificant beside this vast pile of shimmering, white masonry, this truly royal residence, this unique museum, which contains every variety of art treasures. The architecture selected is the unpoetical but imposing style of the late Renaissance, and the regularity of the exterior is redeemed from monotony by Ionic columns, pilasters, and balconies. The{96} massive building, 500 feet square and 100 feet in height, forms a huge quadrangle, enclosing a court, while two projecting wings form the Plaza de Armas. The base of the building, which is composed of three stories above the ground-floor, is of granite, and the upper portion is of the beautiful white stone of Colmenar, which gleams like marble. The lower portion is plain, massive, and severe, and the appearance of the third story is marred by the square port-holes of the entre-súelos. A wide cornice runs round the top, and above it a stone balustrade, on the pedestals of which stand rococo vases. In accordance with the first plans of the palace, the whole of this balustrade was surmounted by statues, but these were removed on account of their great weight, and are now scattered all over Madrid.

The principal entrance is in the south façade, but the palace is approached by five other grand entrances. The east side, which faces on to the Plaza de Oriente, is called ‘del Principe,’ from the fact that at one time it was always used by the royal family. On the eastern and southern sides the height of the edifice is more than doubled by reason of the uneven ground where it falls away to the river. The northern side faces the Guadarrama mountains, from which the{97} icy winter blasts have frozen to death many unfortunate sentries on guard at the Puerta del Diamante. The main southern entrance leads into a huge patio, some 240 feet square, surrounded by an open portico, composed of thirty-six arches, surmounted by another row of arches, forming a gallery with glass windows. In this court are four large statues of Trajan, Hadrian, Honorius, and Theodosius, the four Roman emperors who were natives of Spain. The upper vaulting is decorated with allegorical frescoes, the work of Corrado Giaquinto, representing the Spanish monarchy offering homage to religion. The famous Grand Staircase, with its three flights of black and white marble steps,—each step a single slab of marble—and its celebrated lions, lead out of this court. Napoleon Bonaparte is reported to have said to his brother Joseph as the intrusive king made his first ascent of this superb staircase, ‘Vous serez mieux logé que moi.’ During the same historic tour of the palace the emperor laid his hand on one of the silver lions in the throne-room, and remarked to his brother, ‘Je la tiens enfin, cette Espagne si désirée.’

The ground area of the palace is divided into thirty salons, magnificently furnished and adorned with a profusion of precious marbles and fresco{98} paintings by Ribera, Gonzalez, Velazquez, Maella, Mengs, Bayeu, and Lopez. It would be going outside the province of this sketch to describe each apartment in detail, but special reference must be made to the Hall of Ambassadors. This magnificent apartment, the largest and richest in the Palace, occupies the centre of the principal façade, in which it has five balconies. The whole apartment glows with rich colouring, and scintillates with a lavish display of precious metals. The rock-crystal chandeliers, colossal looking-glasses cast at San Ildefonso, the marble tables, the crimson, and the gilding compose a spectacle of royal magnificence. Here is the splendid throne of silver, made for the husband of Mary of England, and mounting guard on either side are the huge lions of the same metal. The ceiling, painted by Juan Bautista Tiépolo, represents the Spanish Monarchy, exalted by poetic beings, accompanied by the Virtues, and surrounded by its dominions in both hemispheres. On a throne, at the sides of which are Apollo and Minerva, the Monarchy is majestically seated, supported by the allegorical figures representing the science of Government, Peace and Justice and Virtue. Another group, on clouds, is formed by Abundance, Mercy, and other figures. A{99} rainbow crosses the whole ceiling, and between this and the great circle of clouds circled by angels covering is the Monarchy. In the same salon is an allegory in praise of Charles III., which is formed by Magnanimity and Glory, Affability and Counsel. Faith, enthroned on clouds, has an altar of fire, and is accompanied by Hope, Charity, Prudence, Strength, and Victory; and an angel carries a chain with a medal to reward the Noble Arts. Between the cornice Tiépolo displayed his masterly hand by delineating the provinces of the Spanish Monarchy. Roberto Michel executed in the angles four gilded medallions, representing Water and Spring, Air and Summer, Fire and Autumn, and Earth and Winter. Over the doors are two ovals, one representing Abundance, and the other Merit and Virtue. All the walls of this regal hall are covered with crimson velvet bordered with gold. On the right is the statue of Prudence, on the left that of Justice, and in the two angles traced by the steps are four gilded bronze lions. Before the superb mirrors in this apartment are costly tables, and on these marble busts and other no less beautiful objects, the whole constituting the most beautiful room in the palace, and one of the first in Europe.{100}

In these salons is the wonderful collection of French clocks which amused the unproductive leisure of Ferdinand VII., who spent his time in a profitless endeavour to make them chime simultaneously. The glorious pictures, now in the Prado, that once adorned these walls were removed by Ferdinand VII. to make room for his beloved silk hangings. At his death vaults and store-rooms were emptied of a forgotten accumulation of fine old furniture, and much portable treasure was removed from the palace. Much of this has vanished beyond recovery, but during the redecoration of the building for the reception of the king’s bride, Alfonso XIII. was successful in recovering a number of splendid bronzes, clocks, and porcelain vases, which now adorn the principal apartments.

The Guard Room, occupied by the Royal Halberdiers, is at the head of the Royal Staircase, and opens into the enormous Hall of Columns. The columns which support the corner medallions are similar to those on the staircase, and the ceiling is painted by Conrado Giaquinto. The paving is of variegated marbles; the only decorations of the apartments are its medallions, its cornices of trophies, and its four great allegorical figures. For its impressiveness the room depends solely on its architectural merits and{101} its simplicity, and forms a striking contrast to the other salons of the palace with their superb tapestries, upholstered furniture, brocades, and ornaments. The Banqueting Hall is of magnificent proportions, and the Ball Room, to the splendour of which all the arts and manufactures appear to have contributed, is the largest in Europe. The Chinese Room, the Charles III. Room, hung with blue brocade starred with silver, and the Giardini Room, which is upholstered in ivory satin, embroidered in gold and coloured flowers, and roofed with porcelain from the Buen Retiro factory, are among the many marvels of this marvellous palace.

The Royal Chapel, which was depleted in 1808 by General Belliard, who carried off the pictures painted for Philip II. by Michael Coxis, is still splendid in its profusion of rich marbles, gilt, and stucco, and its beautiful ceiling painted by Giaquinto. Many of the exquisite altar-cloths and vestments were embroidered by Queen Cristina. Here also is an immensely valuable collection of fine ecclesiastical objects; and here at Epiphany, Easter, and Corpus Christi the galleries leading from the royal chapel are hung with the magnificent and unique tapestries which belong to the crown of Spain.

The private library of his Majesty is on the{102} ground-floor of the palace. It was formed by Philip V. about 1714, and has since been increased by the acquisition of several notable collections, including those of the dean of Teruel, Counts Mansilla and Gondomar, and Judge Bruna of Seville. The manuscripts are for the most part from the extinct colleges. The king’s library, which occupies ten rooms and two passages, is composed of eighty thousand volumes in magnificent mahogany cases with beautiful glass from La Granja. Books issued prior to the sixteenth century, beautiful copies on vellum, very rare editions by Spanish printers, and rich bindings, make this library one of the most important in Europe. Among the illustrated missals is a prayer-book said to have belonged to Ferdinand and Isabella or their daughter, Juana la Loca, whose portrait it contains. The building is adorned with exquisite ornaments and the arms of Leon and Castile in enamel. The correspondence of Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador in London during the reign of James I., is also to be seen here.

The general Archive of the crown of Spain was created in virtue of a royal decree of Ferdinand VII., dated May 22, 1814. The organisation and classification of all the documents since{103} the reign of Charles I. until that of Isabella II. were based on chronology; but Alfonso XII. thought the classification of subjects more scientific, and the Keeper of the Archives has, since 1876, had the whole of the documents divided into four large sections, namely, administrative, juridical, historical, and according to their sources. This Archive also has a reference library composed of seven hundred volumes. At present the Archive of the Crown consists of thirty rooms, containing nearly ten thousand bundles of papers and two thousand volumes. The administrative documents date from 1479; the juridical ones from 1598; the historical from 1558; there being also some property deeds dating from the eleventh century relating to the celebrated monastery of El Escorial, founded by Philip II., which from the paleographic point of view, and even from the historical, are of great interest.

The Royal Pharmacy, situated in the part of the palace known as Los Arcos Nuevos (the New Arches), has an origin which is closely bound up with the history of national pharmacy. In the beginning of the pharmaceutical profession, when it became a faculty, the Royal Pharmacy was the centre of the profession in all its phases. It contains a rich collection of{104} utensils of all periods, curious examples of pharmaceutical materials used in olden times, and a well-filled library, consisting of more than two thousand five hundred volumes.

The stables of the ancient Alcazar were situated in the space now occupied by the large Armoury Court; those of the present palace were built in the reign of Charles III., in accordance with the plans and under the direction of the notable architect, Francisco Sabatini. The plan of the edifice is an irregular polygon, the longest side of which, at the Cuesta de San Vicente, is nearly 700 feet in length. The principal façade is in the Calle Bailen, and is adorned by a simple granite portal, over which are the royal arms. This door leads to a fine court surrounded by arches, and on the west side is a small chapel, dedicated to St. Anthony, Abbot.

The principal part of these buildings consists in the large and magnificent galleries, sustained by double rows of pillars, which constitute the stables. These consist of a spacious stable for the horses used by royalty. There is another stable for Spanish horses, another for foreign horses and mares, and yet another for mules. More than three hundred animals can be accommodated in the stables. There are at present one{105} hundred saddle-horses, all of which, with the exception of sixty foreign animals, come from the royal stud at Aranjuez.

The general harness-room is a large nave, consisting of three halls. Preserved in many cases are the magnificent sets of harness and saddles, the liveries of footmen and coachmen, crests, fly-traps, whips and ancient horse-cloths, bridles, and other curiosities. The Royal Riding School is built on one of the esplanades facing the Campo del Moro.

In order to form some idea of the size of the edifice, it may be mentioned that, besides the coach-houses, stables, harness-rooms, etc., there are apartments for the accommodation of the six hundred and thirty-seven people and their families who are employed in this department of the palace.

The Royal Coach-house is situated in the Campo del Moro. Its plan is a rectangular parallelogram, the longest sides of which are 278 feet in length, and the shortest 101 feet. This great coach-house was built in the time of Ferdinand VII., after the design and under the direction of the architect Custodio Moreno, who gave to the exterior a simple and severe appearance. In this department are twenty{106} splendid State carriages, which are only used on special occasions, among them being that of Juana the Mad, restored a few years since, and one hundred and twenty-one carriages of all kinds and shapes for daily use.

Kings of three dynasties have made their homes in the Royal Palace of Madrid since the nineteenth century brought in with it so much havoc and disruption to Spain. The Bourbons, Joseph Buonaparte, and Amadeo of Savoy, each ‘abode his hour or two and went his way,’ and in 1873 and 1874 the palace windows looked out upon a city which for the first time since its foundation was the capital of a republic. Nearly all the culminating incidents in the stormy history which has been enacted in Spain since the abdication of Charles IV. occurred in the Royal Palace. From this not too secure eminence Ferdinand the Desired saw his guards slaughtered by the frenzied mob. ‘Serve the fools right,’ he exclaimed; ‘at all events I am inviolable.’ But the king had a fit of terror when he found his palace was left without guards to protect it from the crowd, and Riego, the man he hated, was taken into favour, in order that he might appease the populace.

Through the terrible night of 7th October{107} 1841, when Generals Concha and Leon made their determined attempt to kidnap Queen Isabella and her little sister, the Infanta Maria Luisa, the valiant eighteen halberdiers of the guard, commanded by Colonel Dalee, held the grand staircase of the palace against an army of revolutionists until the National Militia arrived to relieve them. Truly that night the halberdiers wrote a magnificent page of fidelity in the records of the guards.

After a hopeless struggle to reduce Spanish affairs into something like order, Amadeo of Savoy issued from the Royal Palace his valedictory address to his people, and on the following day, 12th February 1873, he left Madrid, as he had entered it, a chevalier sans peur et sans reproche. In the same palace Alfonso XIII. was born and baptized, from the palace he set out to the church of San Jeronimo to be married to Victoria Eugénie of Battenberg, and here was born and baptized the Prince of the Asturias, the heir to the throne of Spain.




Plate 1
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 2
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 3
Plate 3
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 4
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 5
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 6
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 7
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 8
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 9
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 10
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 11
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 12
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 13
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 14
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 15
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 16
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 17
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 18
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 19
[Image unavailable.]


[Image unavailable.]
(From the Camarin of St. Theresa, Escorial)


Plate 21
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 22
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 23
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 24
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 25
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 26
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 27
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 28
[Image unavailable.]


[Image unavailable.]


Plate 30
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 31
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 32
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 33
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 34
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 35
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 36
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 37
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 38
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 39
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 40
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 41
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 42
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 43
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 44
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 45
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 46
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 47
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 48
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 49
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 50
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 51
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 52
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 53
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 54
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 55
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 56
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 57
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 58
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 59
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 60
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 61
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 62
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 63
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 64
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 65
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 66
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 67
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 68
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 69
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 70
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 71
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 72
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 73
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 74
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 75
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 76
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 77
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 78
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 79
[Image unavailable.]

Plate 80
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 81
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 82
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 83
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 84
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 85
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 86
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 87
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 88
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 89
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 90
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 91
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 92
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 93
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 94
[Image unavailable.]


[Image unavailable.]


Plate 96
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 97
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 98
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 99
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 100
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 101
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 102
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 103
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 104
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 105
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 106
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 107
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 108
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 109
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 110
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 111
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 112
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 113
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 114
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 115
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 116
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 117
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 118
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 119
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 120
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 121
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 122
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 123
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 124
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 125
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 126
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 127
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 128
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 129
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 130
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 131
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 132
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 133
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 134
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 135
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 136
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 137
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 138
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 139
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 140
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 141
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 142
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 143
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 144
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 145
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 146
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 147
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 148
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 149
[Image unavailable.]


Plate 150
[Image unavailable.]