Arm Chair Travel – Lisbon

The Pomp of Portugal – II

João V
Domenico Duprà – 1717
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

Unfortunately I could not find any record of the order of the procession for D. Rodgrio’s formal entry into Rome on July 8th, 1716. Nor could I find any details on the two lost triumph carriages or the ten accompanying vehicles. We can be sure that the attendants, postilions, coachmen and footmen would have been elaborately attired. Though of course the Ambassador, his family, retinue, and lesser mission officials would have outshone everyone in displaying the sophistication, magnificence and royal power of a king who at the time ruled over a vast empire.

As well as celebrating Lisbon the next carriage again was a reminder to everyone at the Holy See, and by extension in Europe, that Portugal was a principle defender of the faith.

The Coronation of Lisbon Carriage

All of the carriages were in the open-bodied Roman style with wood and iron body works. The trappings are leather, bronze, silk brocade, silk velvet, gold and silver threads, gold galloon, and rye straw. The allegorical woodwork sculptures in baroque style show traces of gilt highlights which suggest that perhaps like the Ocean Carriage it was gilded.

The velvet elevated coachman’s seat (no doubt stuffed with rye straw) oversees a cherub or guiding spirit who seems to be urging the horses on. The coachman is flanked by the allegory figures of Heroism and Immortality who are being garlanded by two cherubs.

I am guessing that the laurel crowned figure on the left is Heroism while the figure on the right wearing a crown much like what is given saints of the period is Immortality. I did search for attributes of these figures in baroque iconography but could find nothing concrete – or even gilt plaster!!!!

The body of the carriage is adorned with red silk velvet inlay with the embroidery on the door panel worked in brass and gold thread. The interior is upholstered in red silk with floral motifs in gold and silver thread.

On the drop-head of the rear wheel set, is the image of Lisbon crowned by Fame and Abundance. At Lisbon’s feet lay the symbols of the defeated Ottoman foe, and the conquered continents of Africa and Asia.

Given that the entire procession was meant as a glorification of João the question may arise why Lisbon is a woman? Simple explanation: in Portuguese Lisboa is a feminine noun. Abundance holds a cornucopia of fruit and flowers indicating the natural wealth of the country. As well as a coronet Fame bears the trumpet that will announce the glory of Lisbon to the Papal court and the watching world. And no Baroque carving would omit cherubs to wreath the scene with garlands.

The imperious Lisbon points her sceptre at a crescent moon being devoured by the winged dragon of the House of Braganza. And at her feet grovel the source of much of her wealth – Africa and Asia.

As splendid as this carriage was – and it does attest to the skill of the Italian wood carvers – there was one even more resplendent yet to come: the Ocean Carriage.

The word for January 15th is:
Galloon/ɡəˈlo͞on/: [noun]
A narrow ornamental strip of fabric, typically a silk braid or piece of lace, used to trim clothing or finish upholstery.
Early 17th century: from French galon, from galonner ‘to trim with braid’, of unknown ultimate origin.

Author: Willym

A senior with the heart of a young'un

5 thoughts on “Arm Chair Travel – Lisbon”

  1. Will This just popped up on my in box. But I saw this before – no? A few weeks ago? Cathy

    Sent from my iPad


    1. No this is the second of three – I believe the first one was the Ambassador’s coach this is the Coronation of Lisbon.

  2. It is always nice to have the ones you have vanquished grovel at your feet.

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