28 January 2022
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Ground Floor

During the early reign of King Luís a new layout and decoration of the Palace rooms, entrusted to architect Joaquim Possidónio Narciso da Silva, followed the then recent standards of comfort, privacy and hygiene, typical of the 19th century bourgeois mentality. There was a demand for more intimate and sheltered spaces. The Ground Floor opens with a sequence of four rooms whiere, due to the official and private functions they were intended for, a significant amount of glamour was displayed, enhanced by the tapestries and allegorical paintings on the ceilings, remnants of the early 19th century decoration. From the Music Room onwards and running alongside the western facade, the Ground Floor was reserved for the private quarters. New chambers were introduced: a living room - the Blue Room -, the Dining Room for the family daily meals and leisure areas such as the Marble Room and the Billiards Rooms; and finally the bathrooms fitted with running water, hot and cold.

Content List

  • With its official atmosphere, this was where Luís I dealt with affairs of state. Reception day was Thursday.
    At Christmas and Carnaval, the atmosphere became rather more relaxed, with Maria Pia organising parties here for Prince Carlos, Prince Afonso and their guests.
    Ceiling: Aurora bringing General Happiness and Abundance; Truth and Justice are at the chevets; Cirilo Wolkmar Machado; c. 1815.
  • Music Room

    In a period when music played by amateurs reached its peak, a music room was indispensable. The Royal Family and their friends held frequent musical evenings here. Luís I was a baritone, who also played and composed music for the ‘cello, whilst Maria Pia played piano.
    Ceiling: The earlier painting by José da Cunha Taborda and Arcângelo Foschini (?) was covered by the current decoration, conceived and supervised by the architect, Possidónio da Silva between 1863-1865. The arms of the Portuguese monarchs, the Dukes of Braganza and the crosses of the three main Portuguese Military Orders – Christ, Avis and Santiago – figure in the eight medallions.
  • Blue Room

    The decorative canons in fashion in the second half of the 19th century made it essential to have a family living room in the palace, which had not previously existed. From 1863 to 1865, this room was completely refurbished, to the Queen’s taste, by the Royal architect, Possidónio Narciso da Silva. The opening of the glass window, with unusual dimensions for the time, meant it was possible to see from one room into another, creating the illusion of a long expanse of space.
  • Photo Henrique Ruas IMC/PNA

    Controlling Nature and bringing it inside the house became fashionable in the 19th century, leading to the creation of winter gardens within palatial interiors. In a highly original manner, this room’s walls and ceiling were lined with alabaster, the gift of the Viceroy of Egypt, used by Possidónio da Silva to carry out the works at the time of the royal marriage in 1862. A place for leisure and relaxation, birthday parties for the princes and royal family, dinners were frequently held here, served on a table set around the Carrara marble fountain.
  • An essentially private space, in which the Queen also took care of official and charitable matters; like the King, she would ‘receive’ on Thursdays. The room had a special significance for the Queen: Prince Carlos was born here, when Maria Pia was only 16 years old.
  • In 1861, Luís I ordered silks and furniture bought in Paris expressly to furnish this room. His choices were influenced by Napoleon III style, very fashionable in Europe at the time. The furniture was arranged in the room with the bed against the centre of the main wall raised on a platform and covered by a canopy. Very little has changed since then.
    The decoration of the walls and hangings is in blue damask silk and silver thread, in different patterns. Ceiling: The Glory of the Princes; Cirilo Wolkmar Machado (?); pre-1816.
  • In the original 1802 palace design, there was no specific area marked out for the dining room. The decoration of this room, carried out in the 1880s, followed the style then in vogue: Neo-renaissance. All the chestnut ornamentation is by Leandro Braga, who incorporated fragments of 16th and 17th century carving, a characteristic practice of 19th century eclecticism.
    This family room was used on a daily basis. At the State Table sat the King, the Queen, Prince Afonso, the dignitaries in service and, at times, an invited guest. The arrangement of the table, inspired by the Arte de Servir à Mesa (The Art of Serving at Table) written by the famous cook, João da Mata (1870), follows the canons of the time.
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