Banqueting Hall

The Ducal Palace was ordered built during the first half of the 15th century. However, information regarding that century on the interior design is not completely reliable.

From the 1930’s to the 1950’s, the Ducal Palace was rebuilt based on the remains of the building that was, at that time, in ruins. However, it was important to think about how it had been structured.

After the re-construction work of the Palace was completed, the Commission whose aim was to ‘furnish’ the building, decided to decorate this Hall as if it had been a Banqueting Hall. This went in line with the fact that the building was also designated as one of the official Residences of the Portuguese President so, on several occasions, important Receptions took place here.

When the Visitor arrives in the Hall, their attention is immediately captured by the distinguished size of the room; first of all due to the roof, whose shape is similar to an upturned boat, then by the enormous set of tables, as well as by the Pastrana Tapestry that displays the Assault on Asilah.

Also in the Hall, there is a set of tableware that is, in general terms, related to table and to objects which are used to decorate the area where the dining table was set. The room is not intended to be a representation of a Hall, dating from the 1400’s but rather the recreation of an eating area in which there are sets of objects that were made between the 17th and 18th centuries.

On the table, there are several examples of tableware made of pewter such as jars, large plates, pitchers and candlesticks that were used for illumination. One may also see in the Hall a table, a sideboard and an ark (next to the Pastrana Tapestry), and also two tureens, one is Portuguese and the another is Chinese, both common pieces used for serving food, as well as a set of Portuguese pottery among which we can also find four Spanish plates.

There are also several pieces of furniture from Portugal (17th and 18th centuries) – tables, cabinets, chests and stools.

Finally, it is also important to highlight the third Pastrana Tapestry that portrays the ‘Assault on Asilah’. The ‘Pastrana Tapestries’ are known as so for they are unique copies of the ones from the last quarter of the 15th century which are in display at the Pastrana Collegiate (Spain). These Tapestries feature important moments of the conquest of the North Africa, in 1471, namely the conquest of Asilah as well as the taking of Tangier, during the reign of Afonso V. It is, probably, the result of a Royal commission to one of the Manufacturing centres in Flanders (perhaps Tournai, Belgium), during the third quarter of the 15th century and, according to Maria Antónia Quina, it was previously believed 'that the Tapestries would take between three to five years to make on four looms operating simultaneously with sixteen to twenty Tapestry makers’. These Tapestries are unique works that portray, with historical accuracy, the events occurring during the mentioned war and such accuracy is attested by several documents.

NOTE: For conservation reasons, the tin objects are removed during Winter and return on Spring.