Palace of the Countess of Lebrija
The Lebrija Palace or el Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija can be found in one of Seville city centre’s busiest streets, Calle Cuna, parallel to the Calle Sierpes. Dating from the 16th century, it is considered[by whom?] one of the best residences in Seville. The palace is characterised by its collection of Roman mosaics, which paved almost the entire ground floor and lead the palace to be considered[by whom?] the ‘best paved house-palace in Europe’. There is also a great collection of well paraphets, amphoras, columns and sculptures of huge artist value. Its walls are a palette of architectural styles with elements such as Arabic-style arches, Plateresque decoration, tiles retrieved from ruined convent, a coffered ceiling from a 16th palace and a renaissance frieze, while its façade and layout remain true to typical Andalusian style.
Construction of the palace as a noble house began in the 15th Century and its façade in the 16th Century in typical Sevillian style. The palace then went on to be remodelled and extended between the 18th and 20th Centuries. When built it belonged to the Paiba family, the palace was then owned by various noblemen and women over the years including the Count of Corbos and the Counts of Miraflores. In 1901 it was bought by Regla Manjón Mergelina (Countess of Lebrija), who restored and reconstructed the palace to house her valuable collection of antiquities. She had a passion for archaeology and decided to adorn the palace with artefacts found during her excavations, as well as those bought from other archaeologists, friends of the Countess. The palace is 2500m², over two floors – the ground floor used during the summer and the upper floor during winter.
Some of the most significant pieces in the collection include the opus sectile paving made up of multi-coloured marbles, which paves the entrance hall, and the mosaic depicting God Pan, which can be found in the palace’s central courtyard and was previously displayed in another of the Countess’ properties in Olivar de los Palacios. The mosaic’s central medallion represents Pan, who is in love with Galatea and serenading her on his flute, while the other medallions show the love stories of Zeus and in the corners are representations of the fours seasons. The ground floor also is filled with Greco-Roman busts, mythological depictions in various forms, not forgetting pieces from the Arabic era, China and Persia, found in display cabinets and on the palace’s walls. Amongst other artworks, those of particular importance include original paintings by Van Dyke, Brueghel the Elder, the Murillo school. On the upper floor there is also a magnificent library containing over 6000 books and essays.
The Palace Museum
In 1999, descendants of the Countess and current owners decided to open the house to the public as a museum, in order to allow them to appreciate the great work of the Countess of Lebrija. Therefore, the public can visit the ground floor and view the Countess’ great archaeological collection and discover the passion of a true collector. There are also guided visits of the upper floor throughout the day, where you can view the Countess’ beautifully decorated former residences, as the family lived in them – sitting rooms, a private chapel, dining room and library, all of which contain a multitude of ornaments and pieces of art.
The museum’s opening times are…
Monday-Friday: 10:30-19:30 (uninterrupted), Saturdays: 10:00-14:00 and 16;00-18:00, Sundays: 10:00-14:00 (Exception: In the months of July and August- Monday-Friday: 09:00-15:00, Saturdays: 10:00-14:00, Sundays: Closed)
Events: In addition, the palace can be hired for events, using its patios and rooms for presentations, lunches, gala dinners, conferences, concerts etc.