Oporto: Palácio dos Carrancas

Construction on the Palácio dos Carrancas started in 1795. The walls of the living rooms were covered in majestic frescoes by Italian artists, while the dining room and were in the style of Robert Adams.

When completed the second storey accommodated the Moraes e Castro family, while the premises of the Fábrica de Tirador de Ouro e Prata, of which they were proprietors, occupied the ground floor.

Palácio dos Carrancas
During the second Napoleonic invasion, it was the official residence of General Soult and after the flight of the French in 1809, it served as the head-quarters of the Duke of Wellington. For the first 4 months of the Siege of Porto (1832-1833) D. Pedro IV stayed here and his son D. Pedro V acquired the mansion as a Royal Palace.

After many decades of neglect, the building was adapted to house the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis in 1941 and from 1992 underwent a second programme of expansion, being concluded in 2001 to coincide with Porto, European Capital of Culture.

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Arriving in Oporto to select a port wine for his college, Englishman Horace Grimpil soon finds himself embroiled in the conflicting interests of the British and Portuguese communities, where he is an ignorant outsider.

This Portuguese city - a turbulent place of ambition and defiance fought over by the French and British during the Napoleonic wars - is emerging from political turmoil that left the city and its people with their wealth and society destroyed.

Mr Grimpil, however, is about to experience personal turmoil of his own. Little does he know how the passions aroused during his journey of discovery will affect his own character, or how his presence will bring to a conclusion the relentless pursuit of a political revenge spanning generations.

Read more about the book here

Grimpil's Retrogress © 2010

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