Created as part of the 18th century reform, it was in the early 20th century when its main feature was added; the plant architecture of the cypress trees that frame the nymph in its central fountain. Unlike the Courtyard of the Bars, it was designed to be visible from the inside, particularly from the Admiral’s Bedroom.
The history of this courtyard goes back to the Baroque reforms carried out by the eleventh owners of the palace: the 6th Marquise of Villaseca, Ana Rafaela Fernández de Mesa, and her husband, Fernando Cabrera Gómez de Cárdenas, Count of Villanueva de Cárdenas. They made significant changes to the palace, including creating the Courtyards of the Madama and the Archive, both from the 18th century.
This courtyard is once again an intimate courtyard and it is interesting to note how the styles and functions of the courtyards alternate. The Reception Courtyard, designed to impress and be visible from outside; the Courtyard of the Orange Trees, internal and closed; that of the Bars, also designed to demonstrate power; that of the Madama, to be enjoyed from the inside, and specifically from what is known as the Admiral’s Bedroom, with the nymph in the fountain looking toward these doors. The Madama is neoclassical in style, and seems a historical and stylistic prelude to what awaits the visitor in the adjacent area, the 19th century French-inspired garden.
Settle under the crown of the rough cypress wet and green.
Stay, liquid embers, between my arms, chest of the waters,
before fleeing, free, fugitive, my marble bowl pours clean,
in blind burbling, your quick silver on the pillar
of the unsleeping and Cyclops eye.
Clear sweet maiden, the canopy of vegetation covers you darkly.
I ask for your help in the chronic gallant of the garden.
Creepers rising up with ivy and kisses to the room of the Admirals
where the shadows play chess. Flowing thirsty nymph, the screen the botanical joy,
around our ribbons of green.
You know the secret, of the wandering bare foot of time through the house,
the shawl abandoned on the common box hedge in the path of the mandarin trees (…)
Pablo García Baena Viana, courtyards of poetry (1995) (patios de poesía)
Flowering calendar for the main plants