previous next

[221] princes gradually enlarged it,. . . . it remained little more than a fine country-house, until Charles IV.1—who seems to have had a sense for the beauties of nature, though he certainly had it for little else—made it his favorite residence, and added the Casa del Labrador and its immense gardens.

The Palace is an ordinary building, but full of pictures. Such Murillos, Velasquez, and Riberas I had never seen, except a few in the Palace and Academy at Madrid; and I was delighted to find that the Marquis de Sta. Cruz had marked them all with his ‘M.’ for the new Royal Gallery, where they will be, for the first time, in a situation in which their merit will be known and felt.

What there is curious and interesting in architecture, here, is the Casa del Labrador, or, as we should translate it, ‘the Farm-house,’ —a little plaything of Charles IV.,—standing in the midst of a fine wood, about half a mile from the Palace. It is the merest little jewel. There is but one suite of apartments in it, and only two large saloons; all the rest being divided into small rooms, cabinets, etc., each ornamented with beautiful embroidered tapestry; the roofs painted in miniature frescos, and the floors paved in mosaic. Everything, in short, has a neatness and perfection in its finish, and the whole has an air of comfort, and a preservation of unity in its style, such as I have seldom met; while in the richness of its ornaments, which are often of gold and sometimes of platina, it is absolutely unrivalled.

The Sitio of Aranjuez, however, is not to be so much considered in relation to its architecture and ornaments, as in relation to its natural situation and the beauty of its scenery. It stands in a valley formed by the Tagus, which winds gracefully through it, and forms one large island in front of the Palace,—where is the principal garden,—and two waterfalls, that have been managed by art so as to produce a considerable effect. This is to be regarded as merely the central point of the establishment, while on all sides, where the valley opens, fine groves have been formed, picturesque alleys and walks cut, and rural ornaments distributed for many miles round; so that as a park, or, in fact, as a fine country establishment, there are few, I suspect, in Europe, to compare with it. . . . .

Aranjuez, like the Escorial and St. Ildefonso, marks its Fasti with several famous events, of which the most remarkable is the last. I mean the Revolution, which finally broke out here, on the 17th-18th

1 Charles V., Emperor of Germany, was Charles I. of Spain. Charles IV. reigned from 1788 to 1808.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Madrid (Spain) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Velasquez (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1808 AD (1)
1788 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: