Initially conceived as a summer residence, Queluz became the royal family’s preferred place for their leisure and entertainment. They lived there permanently from 1794 until their departure for Brazil in 1807, at the time of the French invasions.
The different green spaces form a unified whole with the building itself, whose façades face the upper “French-style” gardens (the Hanging Garden and the Malta Garden) and are then prolonged through the delicate parterres de broderie delineated by box-tree hedges. The statues are inspired by themes from classical mythology and they decorate and mark out the main axes of these ornamental gardens.
A complex geometrical grid
The remarkable group of stone and lead sculptures were brought from Italy and England, the latter being the work of the London-based artist John Cheere. These gardens are separated from the adjacent gardens, as well as from the surrounding farming land and wooded areas, by stone balustrades with flower pots and statues. A series of avenues irradiate from the portico, and these in turn are linked to others, forming a complex geometrical grid that has lakes and fountains with water features placed at its intersections. Particularly impressive among the various highlights is the Medallions Lake, designed in 1764 by the French architect Jean-Baptiste Robillion, which has the shape of an octagonal star.
Inside the palace, the state rooms, spaces used for religious worship and private apartments follow on from one another, all of them enjoying close links to the gardens outside, which were formerly used for festivities, dances, theatrical performances, concerts, games, and equestrian and firework displays. The gilded woodcarvings and papier maché work, the walls lined with mirrors or paintings and the sparkling and highly decorative chandeliers, as well as the various art works and other treasures on display (most of them originating from royal collections), all reflect the sophisticated atmosphere of the Palace’s golden age.