The state apartments, National Palace of Queluz

The interior of the palace received no less attention to detail and design than the exterior. French artisans were employed to decorate the rooms, many of which are small, their walls and ceilings painted to depict allegorical and historical scenes. Polished red bricks were frequently used for the floors, for a rustic appearance as well as coolness in hot weather. The many tall pavilions which link the various lower wings of the palace allow for a series of long low rooms broken by higher and lighter rooms. A predominant feature of the interiors is the tiles: polychrome glazed tiles, often in a chinoiserie style with tones of blues and yellows contrasting with muted reds. Materials for use on the interior included stone imported from Genoa and woods from Brazil, Denmark and Sweden, while coloured marbles were imported from Italy.

Throne Room
The Hall of Ambassadors (“Sala dos Embaixadores”), sometimes called the throne room or the Hall of Mirrors, was designed by Robillon in 1757 and is one of the largest reception rooms in the palace. This long low room has a ceiling painted by Francisco de Melo which depicts the Portuguese royal family attending a concert during the reign of Queen Maria I. The room is extremely wide and light, spanning the full width of the palace, with tall windows on both sides. Between each window is a semi-circular gilt console table above which are pier glasses adorned with crystal sconces. The throne dais, set in an apse, is flanked by gilded and mirrored columns, and the floor is a chequer board pattern of black and white marble tiles.

The Throne Room, also called the Great House, is the largest of the three apparatus rooms of the Queluz Palace. Its construction began in 1768, when the marriage of D. Pedro with his niece, future queen D. Maria I, justified the creation of a large space for official audiences.

The construction of this new room, under the responsibility of the second architect of Queluz, the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Robillion, was completed in 1774. It was conceived to the regency-rococo taste, being the carved work by the sculptor-carver Silvestre de Faria. Lobo, who coordinated a team of prestigious carvers. The allegorical paintings of the ceiling were executed under the guidance of the painter João de Freitas Leitão.

In the summer months, when D. Pedro and D. Maria lived here, this room was used for D. Pedro’s large parties and receptions. Here the rare official hearings that were held in the Palace were granted, for which the first canopy throne of which it has reference was armed.

The Throne Room also served as a church body in connection with the Music Room, which was set up in the chancel, where most of the children of D. João VI and D. Carlota Joaquina were baptized. Still as a makeshift chapel nave, and with the walls, floor and windows covered with black cloth, it served as a burning chamber for the young Crown Prince D. António Pio, D. Pedro IV and their mother, Queen D. Carlota Joaquina.

Currently the Throne Room is a banquet scene hosted by the Presidency of the Republic, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and other public and private entities, as well as numerous concerts.

Music Room
The Music Room which follows the “Sala dos Embaixadores” is decorated with gilded and painted wood and was redesigned in 1768. The ceiling inset with painted cartouches is notable for the intricate ribbed scheme of its design, similar to that of the vestibule at Caserta. The Music Room is decorated in a more neoclassical style than the other state rooms, reflecting its redesign in the period following the Baroque Rococo in the final half of the 18th century. This room was the setting for the large concerts for which the palace was famous. The room still contains the Empire grand piano decorated with gilt appliques. Above the piano hangs a Image:Sala de Música.jpg. Like many other rooms of the palace, the Music Room is lit by huge crystal chandeliers.

The Music Room, also known as the Serenade Room, was often set up at the opera house and the scene of numerous musical evenings.

Designed by architect Mateus Vicente de Oliveira, it was completed in 1759, being one of the oldest rooms of the Palace. Its decoration is in gilded wood in the regency-rococo style, by Silvestre Faria Lobo, using motifs alluding to the music.

Already in the nineties of the eighteenth century, the then Princess of Brazil – D. Carlota Joaquina – chose this room for her Audience Room and Hummingbird.

Royal Chapel
During the occupancy of the palace by Dom Pedro and Maria I, the chapel was central to the daily routine of their court. It was no coincidence that the chapel was the first part of the palace to be completed and was consecrated as early as 1752. Religion was one of Dom Pedro’s favourite interests. During the reign of his wife he attended to matters spiritual and she to matters temporal. The Queen’s interest in religion was, however, no less fevered than that of her husband—the couple attended mass several times a day. Following Dom Pedro’s death, the Queen abandoned all festivities at the palace, and state receptions assumed the air of religious ceremonies. Finally the Queen’s instability and religious mania degenerated into complete insanity. Queluz and its chapel then became her permanent retreat from the world until she was forced to flee from the advancing French in 1807 to Brazil. She died there in Rio de Janeiro in 1816.

The chapel beneath its large onion dome is dark and cavernous and decorated with carved giltwood, the detailing highlighted in red, green, blue and pink, by the Portuguese sculptor Silvestre Faria Lobo. The upper level has galleries for the use of royal personages who would sit apart from the congregation. One of these galleries contains a small Rococo pipe organ. A feature of the chapel is the ornate portable font, its marble basin resting in an elaborate Rococo frame surmounted by a carved wood cover.

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The Chapel was one of the first spaces built by Mateus Vicente de Oliveira, Queluz’s first architect. It comprises a single nave, having differentiated the spaces of the chancel, of octave plan and choir. Access to the chapel and the upper gallery was via a staircase from the Lantern Room. Here, behind a lattice, the Royal Family could attend the religious offices without being seen.

The Rococo-inspired gilded work, carried out under the direction of Silvestre de Faria Lobo, was completed as early as 1752. It is influenced by the Chapel of St. John the Baptist of the Church of São Roque, also becoming a reference for the Religious buildings of the Lisbon region. The altarpiece of the chancel representing Our Lady of the Conception, patron saint of Queluz, by André Gonçalves (1687-1762), was completed in 1752. The side altar panel representing the prison of St. Peter and St. Paul is also of his own, having what represents São Francisco de Paula was painted by Pedro Alexandrino de Carvalho (1730-1810). From 1752 also dates the painting of the ceiling with an evocative theme of the Virgin.

In the carved and gilded choir, David Peres, Scarlatti and João Cordeiro da Silva ruled, where many Italian artists also sang in the golden age of the Palace. Already in 1802, Marcos Portugal would compose two psalms for the Royal Chapel of Queluz.

Lantern Room
This room communicates with the Royal Chapel, the Music Room and the Throne Room. In the past, a staircase gave access to the upper side tribune of the high altar, where, behind a lattice, the Royal Family could attend the religious offices without being seen.

The Lantern Room was known as the Dark Room, and the opening in the ceiling today was opened by order of the French general Junot at the time of the first French invasion.

Infanta Regente D. Isabel Maria, administrator of the Casa do Infantado on behalf of Brother D. Miguel, had this room restored during the period of the infant’s exile in Vienna (Austria), with the purpose of housing her after her return in 1828.

D. Miguel never inhabited this space, but his imposing portrait, the largest in the Palace, still dominates the room.

The Sala das Mangas
The Sala das Mangas (the only room in the state apartments to fully survive the 1934 fire) is a long gallery lined with tiled wall panels. The gallery leads to the enfilade of state rooms, all of which have been fully restored. The formal rooms of the palace consist of three large halls: The Hall of Ambassadors, The Music Room and the Ball Room. Other smaller rooms include the Gun Room (where hunting parties would assemble), which is a frescoed salon painted with trees and foliage by Pillement.

National Palace of Queluz
Located between Lisbon and Sintra, the National Palace of Queluz is one of the leading examples of the rococo and neoclassical architectural styles from the second half of the eighteenth century in Portugal.

Commissioned in 1747 by the future King Pedro III, married to Queen Maria I, the residence was initially designed as a summer house and thus a favoured place for the royal family’s leisure and entertainment but which became their permanent home from 1794 through to their departure for Brazil in 1807, following the country’s invasion by Napoleon’s armies.

Grandiose meeting rooms, places for worship and private rooms follow on from each other in an intimate interconnection with the gardens as a fundamental part of these pleasure-inducing surroundings. Along the spectacular Lions Staircase, by the french artist Jean-Baptiste Robillion, we arrive at the monumental Tiled Canal with its great panels depicting seaports and courtly scenes. The garden pathways are enlivened by the italian and british sculptures, in their main with mythological themes, and highlighting the set of lead sculptures by the London-based artist John Cheere alongside the numerous lakes and other water features.

The evolution of the Court taste throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, strongly influenced by French and Italian as well as English taste, is particularly presented in the Palace interiors, historical Gardens and collections.

The National Palace of Queluz is now managed by the public company Parques de Sintra-Monte da Lua (PSML), established in 2000 following the recognition by UNESCO, in 1995, of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra as a World Heritage Site.