Map BCN 1714: The Catalan political class. The palaces of the Austriacists
Barcelona Cultura
Map BCN 1714: The Catalan political class. The palaces of the Austriacists

Palau Dalmases (Carrer Montcada)

This palace is where the Acadèmia dels Desconfiats (1700-1703) was founded and met. This “Academy of the Distrustful” was a group of erudite nobles and clergymen whose aim was to promote knowledge of Catalan history, language and poetry. Most members supported Archduke Charles. Some of these academics, such as the founder, Pau Ignasi de Dalmases i Ros, and his brother-in-law, Josep Faust de Potau, Marquis of Vallcabra, were imprisoned in 1704, accused of conspiring against Philip V, whilst another academic, Antoni de Peguera i d’Aimeric, was able to flee to Genoa. Years later, the pretender of the House of Austria rewarded Pau de Dalmases for his loyalty by bestowing the title of Marquis of Vilallonga on him (1709). The palace contained an exceptional library, the property of Pau de Dalmases, who was appointed as ambassador of the Three Commons to London in 1713, after the English had signed the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), withdrawing from the conflict.

 

 

 

 

Palau de Vilana-Perlas (Carrer Regomir)

In 1707, the notary Ramon de Vilana-Perlas was appointed as secretary to the Universal Office of Charles III. Three years later, he was ennobled and given the title of Marquis of Rialp. In 1711 and 1712, Vilana-Perlas reformed his residence in order to demonstrate his new political and social status, installing reliefs alluding to his surname (“perlas” are “pearls” in Spanish) on the façade. After Barcelona had fallen into Bourbon hands, the palace was occupied José Patiño, intendant of Catalonia since 1713. President of the Board of Justice and of the Government of the Principality (1714), Patiño was the instigator of fiscal reform through the introduction of the Cadastre (1715) and the new political model based on the Decree of Nova Planta (1716).

Palau Dalmau [no longer standing] (Carrer Ample, facing Plaça Medinaceli)

Sebastià de Dalmau loaned vast amounts of money to Archduke Charles to pay his military costs. As the war went on, his personal contribution to financing the Austrian cause increased. During the siege, moreover, he paid several Catalan military units to fight against the Bourbon troops to the bitter end.

La Llotja (Pla de Palau, between Passeig d’Isabel II and Carrer del Consolat de Mar)

The meeting place of the Consulate of the Sea, where the union between royal power and the Catalan merchant bourgeoisie was represented through the celebration of Archduke Charles’s wedding banquet (1708). The building was also adapted as the venue for the first opera performances in the city. On 2 July 1708, Antonio Caldara’s opera Il più bel nome received its first performance in this “Exchange” building, and other works by the same composer were also staged there over the following months. After the Bourbon siege of 1713-1714, the building was converted into military barracks. In 1727, the activities of the Consulate of the Sea were transferred to the Palau del Virrei, also known as the Palau Reial, which stood on the other side of the square. The palace was reformed in neo-classical style towards the end of the 18th century, but the Gothic Sala de les Contractacions room was conserved in the interior.