Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs

Duquesa de Fernán Núñez

[Disdéri included this portrait of the Duchess in his 'Espagnols' collage of Spanish luminaries who had visited his studio.]

When the Prince of Wales and his brother Prince Arthur visited Spain in May 1876, they were entertained by the Duchess of Fernàn Nùñez at her palace in Madrid. 'The Duchess of Fernan Nunez has asked over 900 guests to meet their Royal Highnesses, and nothing can be imagined more tasteful than the decoration and fitting up of the palace. When the Princes arrived dancing began with a quadrille, in which the Prince of Wales danced with the Duchess of Fernan Nunez, and Prince Arthur with her daughter. The ball was very brilliant and not crowded to excess. The pleasantest surprise of the evening was in the supper-room. The guests were taken through galleries hung with splendid tapestry to a supper-room, which had been arranged like a conservatory or a fairy garden, where palm trees, exotic plants, and splendid azaleas were scattered about. Bands played a little apart, and real Spanish arias and jotas were sung with the guitar as an accompaniment. The principal table was laid out for the Fernan Nunez, with the Princes, the Dukes of Alcanices, De la Torre, the Marquises of Punonroztro, Miravalles, Armijo, and Canovas del Castillo. Ten other tables were soon occupied by the rest of the principal guests, English and Spanish. The Diplomatic Corps joined the Prince's suite among the first who secured seats in the supper-room, and others succeeded as fast as the tables were cleared. It was half-past three when the Princes retired from the ball, and dancing was carried on much later, even until the first rays of dawn obliged the most intrepid to give up the cotillon (London Evening Standard, 2 May 1876). 



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