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Photographer: Inigo Bassarate

El Guadalperal

Gazetteer No. G0607

Date 1915-28

Address Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha Spain


The designs for the palace were completed in 1917 and preliminary works began in 1918. Elaborate site works and out-buildings were started including stables, dairy, engine room and workshops. A sunken garden was laid out complete with elaborate watering system. According to notes, ‘The Unfinished Palacio’, by the supervisor of the project, found among the late Christopher Hussey’s papers, ‘in 1930 a start was made on the Palace itself, foundations were dug and the quarrying of granite commenced’. In October 1932 the Civil War forced the work to stop. All that remains is a one-storey farmhouse arranged around a courtyard, in the centre of which is a free-standing pigeon house. (Amery et al, 1981, Cat no.184)

Lutyens produced three projects for palaces in Spain. Each is organised around a courtyard and relies heavily on the local vernacular for its external appearance. The commission for El Guadalperal came in 1915. Although the design was complete in 1917 a further year elapsed before work began. The Duke of Penaranda insisted that the site works and outbuildings were started first, involving the laying of fourteen miles of new road to the hitherto inaccessible site, as well as the terracing of the gardens. A small temporary home was built on the site for the Duke but following his murder during the Spanish Civil War work on the then incomplete house was abandoned.

A scheme exists, in the RIBA Drawings Collection, for a smaller palace omitting the four wings which accommodated the Duke, the chapel court, the kitchen court, and the King when he visited. This scheme has different elevations. Simultaneously Lutyens reconstructed a large farmhouse at Ventosilla for the Duke’s brother-in-law, which underlines the bucolic nature of El Guadalperal. Lutyens described the farmhouse as ‘a Lambay in a sea of Spain’. (Inskip, 1986, p.83)


Amery, C., Richardson, M. and Stamp, G., (1981) Lutyens, the Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944): Hayward Gallery London, 18 November 1981 – 31 January 1982. London: Arts Council of Great Britain.

Inskip, P. (1986) Edwin Lutyens: Architectural Monographs 6. 2nd edn. London: Academy Editions.

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Duke of Penaranda