Palacio de las Dueñas

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Bougainvillea facade of the Palace

Palacio de las Dueñas (more properly, Palace of the Dukes of Alba; occasionally, Casa Palacio de las Dueñas)[1] is a palace in Seville, Spain, currently belonging to the House of Alba. It was built in the late 15th century in the Renaissance style with Gothic and Moorish influences. The palace is one of the major historic homes in the city of great architectural and artistic heritage. The poet Antonio Machado was born here, as were Carlos Falcó, Marqués de Griñón and Marqués de Castelmoncayo. On October 5, 2011 Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba married here. It became a national monument, now a "Bien de Interés Cultural", on June 3, 1931. [2]

The promoter of his opening to the tourist visits (2016) is the current Duke of Alba, D. Carlos Fitz-James Stuart and Martinez de Irujo. Today is one of the most visited monuments in Seville.


The palace was constructed in the late 15th century, a time associated with a robust economy in the area, which included the construction of the Alcazar Real and the Casa de Pilatos.[3] It was built by the Pineda family, Lords of Casabermeja.[4] In 1496, Pedro Pineda, Mayor of the city council and his wife, Doña Maria de Monsalve, sold their home to Doña Catalina de Ribera, widow of Governor Don Pedro Enriquez, to raise ransom money to retrieve Don Juan de Pineda, taken prisoner by the Moors.[5] Thereafter, a series of expansions occurred, later forming a Renaissance palace under the auspices of Fernando Enrique de Ribera y Quinones and especially his widow Doña Inés Portocarrero y Cardenas (great-great-grandmother of Ana de Velasco y Girón).[4]


The building became the property of the House of Alba after the marriage of the 5th Marchioness of Villanueva del Río with the 4th Duke of Alba. For a time, it was the residence of Lord Holland, an ardent admirer of Spanish literature, and the author (1805) of a memoir on Lope de Vega and Guillen de Castro.[1] Machado lived in the palace during his early childhood, his father serving as the Duke of Alba's caretaker.[6] The palace name derives from the monastery of Santa María de las Dueñas, which in 1248 was known to house nuns and servants of Saint Ferdinand and Alfonso X the Wise. The monastery was in the palace's periphery and was destroyed in 1868. The palace underwent significant renovation in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Gypsy sculpture (Benlluire)




The palace consists of a series of courtyards and buildings. The style ranges from Gothic art-Moorish to the Renaissance, with local influences in the bricks, shingles, tiles, whitewashed walls and pottery. Its mixed style resembles that of Casa de Pilatos and Casa de los Pinelo.[1]

The Main Courtyard

The palace is fitted with long passageways.[6] As in the Casa de Pilatos, the staircase of this palace was built beneath a vaulted roof.[1] At the top floor of the palace, there is a room whose ceiling is of an octagonal shape and is decorated with alfarje gold.


Antonio Machado plaque, his birthplace.

The entry door is of Mudéjar style.[7] The palace was fitted with eleven patios, nine fountains, and over 100 marble columns. Of these, one patio remains, and it is surrounded by a gallery with columns.[1] The Andalusian patio, like a similar one at Casa de Pilatos, dominates the exterior of the property. At the entrance to the palace, in the main archway, there is the shield of the Duchy of Alba in tiles, made by Triana of Seville in the 17th or 18th century. The gardens also have very important unique species (one of the oldest cycas revoluta in the world, Cassine Orientalis and a long etcetera). Its fabulous bougainvillea facade is very spectacular and an icon of the Palace

Grounds and chapel[edit]

Chapel of Las Dueñas

The courtyard garden, divided into four parts in keeping with its traditional Islamic style, includes tiled paths and a centralized raised fountain.[8] The palace garden's lemon trees and fountain are recurring symbols in Machado's poetry.[9] Behind the garden is a courtyard surrounded by arches with columns of white marble. The arch situated west of the courtyard in the lower galleries gives access to the building that was used as the chapel palace. The 15th-century chapel has fared badly during restorations.[1] The chapel's altar contains several tiles with metallic reflections, typical of 16th-century Seville ceramics.

It is also said that Amerigo Vespucci married María Cerezo in this chapel at the beginning of the 16th century.


One of the best tapestries in the world, Willem Pannemaker

One of its main attractions is a large, decorative art collection which contains 1,425 artefacts. According to the newspaper El País these items are protected under Andalusian law, prohibiting their sale and safeguarding their place in the palace. There is a large collection of Spanish paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries including Jacopo Bassano (Los cacharreros), Sofonisba Anguissola, Annibale Carracci, Francesco Furini (La creación de Eva), Luca Giordano, Giovanni Paolo Pannini, José de Ribera (Cristo coronado de espinas), Francisco Antolínez, Joaquín Inza and Neri di Bicci. There is also a watercolor by Jackie Kennedy, painted during her visit in 1960 when she stayed in the bedroom once used by France's Empress Eugénie de Montijo.[10] The paintings represent only a small part of the family's artworks, most of which are in Madrid's Palace of Liria. The Palacio de las Dueñas also has a significant collection of antique furniture, ceramics and other artefacts. Decorative arts, sculpture of Ancient Rome and contemporary (Mariano Benlluire), Flemish tapestries of the sixteenth and seventeenth (Willem de Pannemaker), mosaics, and many other pieces of art.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Calvert, Albert Frederick; Hartley, Catherine Gasquoine (1907). Seville: an historical and descriptive account of "the pearl of Andalusia" (Now in the public domain. ed.). John Lane. pp. 95–. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  2. ^ Lowe, Alfonso; Seymour-Davies, Hugh (2000). The companion guide to the south of Spain. Companion Guides. pp. 95–. ISBN 978-1-900639-33-0. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  3. ^ O'Flanagan, Patrick (2008). Port cities of Atlantic Iberia, c. 1500-1900. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 66–. ISBN 978-0-7546-6109-2. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  4. ^ a b España Región Militar; II Capitanía General Cátedra General Castaños (2003). Milicia y sociedad ilustrada en España y América, 1750-1800: actas (in Spanish). Madrid: Editorial Deimos. p. 439. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Palacio de las Dueñas". Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  6. ^ a b Machado, Antonio; Bly, Robert (1 July 1983). Times alone: selected poems of Antonio Machado. Wesleyan University Press. pp. 6–. ISBN 978-0-8195-6081-0. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  7. ^ Williams, Leonard (1907). The Arts and Crafts of Older Spain: Furniture. Ivories. Pottery. Glass (Now in the public domain. ed.). T.N. Foulis. pp. 40–. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  8. ^ Latymer, Hugo; Grassi, Niccolò (5 April 2001). The Mediterranean gardener. Frances Lincoln Ltd. pp. 13–. ISBN 978-0-7112-1828-4. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  9. ^ Machado, Antonio; Trueblood, Alan S. (15 March 1988). Antonio Machado: Selected Poems. Harvard University Press. pp. 272–. ISBN 978-0-674-04066-3. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  10. ^ Time. Time Inc. April 1966. p. 102. Retrieved 8 October 2011.


  • FALCÓN MÁRQUEZ, Teodoro (2003). El Palacio de las Dueñas y las casas-palacios sevillanas del siglo XVI. Sevilla. Editorial: Fundación Aparejadores. ISBN 84-95278-47-2

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