Spanish Royal Geographies in Early Modern Europe and America: Re-thinking the Royal Sites / Geographies of Habsburg Politics and Religion

Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (CREMS), University of York,
in collaboration with
the University of Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid (URJC),
and IULCE (the University Institute ‘La Corte en Europa’) of the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM).

4-5 May 2017

This event is generously sponsored by:

Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Secretaría de Estado de Cultura and La herencia de los Reales Sitios: Madrid, de corte a capital (historia, patrimonio y turismo)” (CAM (S2015/HUM-3415);

“Del Patrimonio Dinástico al Patrimonio Nacional: los Sitios Reales” (MINECO-FEDER HAR2015-68946-C3-3-P);

as well as the Grupo de excelencia “La configuración de la Monarquía Hispana a través del sistema cortesano (siglos XIII-XIX): organización política e institucional, lengua y cultura”, de la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, GE2014-20.

Conference sponsors = logos

Banner image: Francesco Battaglioli, Fernando VI y Bárbara de Braganza en los jardines de Aranjuez (1756)
Panel 1


Spanish Royal Geographies in Early Modern Europe and America: Re-thinking the Royal Sites / Geographies of Habsburg Politics and Religion

Spanish royal sites were a diverse and global network in early modern World making royal power visible and effectual. They expanded to other territory intermittently under Spanish rule beyond the Iberian Peninsula such as the Duchy of Milan, the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, the ten southernmost provinces of the Netherlands and the viceroyalties in America. They consisted of royal palaces and their affiliated landscapes such as forests, gardens, rural and urban centres, farms and factories. They were not only centres of administration, but also centres of innovation in culture, taste and technology. In this way, they were points for the transfer of knowledge, people and goods affording expansion and growth of the market place.

This symposium will investigate these centres as international geographies. The term ‘geography’ manifests our interest in the way the physicality of spaces and landscapes was acted upon and produced through cultural practices. This interlacing of physical and human agency is naturally wide-ranking and encompasses image-making, architectural, agricultural and administrative processes. Moreover, the religious geographies in Habsburg territories were particularly complex given that courtly forms of piety were coloured by local customs and traditions.

How were these royal geographies imagined and described? In what way do they activate histories and memories thus constructing loci of myth? How do they challenge existing interpretations of the boundaries between confessional identities and political solidarities? How do they help us to re-think the divisions between centres and peripheries of Habsburg power as kinetic and embodied spaces? For example, royal geographies beyond the kingdom of Castille within the Iberian Peninsula were ever more tightly interlinked with Madrid under Philip III and Philip IV when their respective favourites, the First Duke of Lerma and the Count-Duke of Olivares, were appointed as governors of the royal palaces in Castille and Andalusia and assumed authority over the Junta de Obras y Bosques, a committee set up by Philip II to manage the construction program of royal residences and palaces.

This workshop aims to reunite experts in this field, all from different disciplines (History of Art, History, History of Architecture, and Political Thought), with the objective of developing a comparative perspective on the complexities of royal geographies in a trans-national context.

This symposium is a collaboration of the History of Art Department and CREMS (Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies) at the University of York, the University of Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid (URJC), and the University Institute ‘La Corte en Europa’ (IULCE ) of the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM).


Banner image: Library of El Escorial, Madrid, Spain
Panel 2


Spanish Royal Geographies in Early Modern Europe and America: Re-thinking the Royal Sites / Geographies of Habsburg Politics and Religion

Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (CREMS), University of York,
in collaboration with
The University of Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid (URJC)
IULCE (the University Institute ‘La Corte en Europa’) of the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM)

4-5 May 2017

DAY 1 (Thursday 4 May)

15:00–16:15, Berrick Saul Lecture Theatre

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Helen Hills (History of Art Department, University of York), Title TBC

16:15–17:00 – Afternoon Coffee

17:00–18:30 –  Session 1: Castille
Chair: Simon Ditchfield
(Department of History, University of York)

1) José Eloy Hortal Muñoz (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos),
The Political, Social and Cultural Role of Royal Sites at Europe at the Seventeenth Century: The Case of the Spanish Monarchy

2) José Martínez Millán (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid),
Spirituality at the Royal Alcázar of Madrid: The Triumph of Rome

19:30, The Assembly Rooms, ASK Restaurant, Blake Street – Dinner

DAY 2 (Friday 5 May)

10:00–11:15, Berrick Saul Lecture Theatre – Session 2: Catalonia and Portugal
Chair: Mia Rodriguez

3) Ignasi Fernández Terricabras (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona),
Religion and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Catalan Royal Residences and Chapels

4) José Pedro Paiva (Universidade da Coimbra),
Religious Traces of the Presence of an Absent King: Philip II as King of Portugal (1581-98)

11:15–11:45 – Morning Coffee

11:45–13:00 – Session 3: The Habsburg Netherlands

Chair: Cordula van Wyhe (Department of History of Art, University of York)

5) Henar Pizarro Llorente (Universidad Pontificia de Comillas),
The Relevance of Rome at the Shape of the Spirituality at the Royal Convents in the Habsburg Netherlands: Juan Bautista Vives, Ambassador of Isabel Clara Eugenia and Promoter of Propaganda Fide

6) Dagmar Germonprez (University of Antwerp),
Royal Residences and Catholic Restoration in the Habsburg Netherlands: The Archdukes at Mariemont

13:00–14:15 – Lunch

14:15–15:30 – Session 4: Italian Peninsula

Chair: Toby Osborne (Durham University)

7) Giovanni Muto (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II),
Piety and Spirituality at the Sicilian Royal Residencies of the Seventeenth Century

15:30–16:00 – Afternoon Tea

16:30–17:30 Round-Table Discussion with Prosecco: Book Proposal

Banner image: Nuns in prayer, 18th century decorative azulejos in cloister of Monastery of la Encarnacion, 1611-1616, Osuna, Andalusia, Spain
Panel 3

Venue and Accommodation

The symposium will take place in:

The Berrick Saul Lecture Theatre,
University of York,
Harewood Way,
YO10 5DD.

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Berrick Saul building, University of York, UK

The conference hotel is:

Hotel 53,
53 Piccadilly,

Tel.: 01904 559000

All speakers are booked into Hotel 53 from 4-5 May 2017 (1 night).
Speakers from beyond Europe are booked in from 3-6 May 2017 (3 nights).

Hotel 53, York, UK

Banner image: Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, Spain
Panel 4

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner will take place at:

ASK Restaurant,
The Grand Assembly Rooms,
Blake Street,

Tel.: 01904 637254


ASK restaurant, the old Assembly Rooms, York

ASK in York is set inside the beautiful old Georgian Assembly Rooms designed by Lord Burlington during the first half of the eighteenth century. The Assembly Rooms is one of the finest of venues in York, where dances and social balls were held in the Georgian period.

The York assemblies were weekly meetings from about 1710 at which there were dancing and card games.  These were often held at the King’s Manor or Lord Irwin’s house near the Minster, but it was clear that the scale of York’s social season required something grander.

A group of the city’s great and good approached Richard Boyle, Lord Burlington, to ask him to design a suitable establishment.  A vice-admiral of the county of York, he was a talented practitoner of the English classical architectural movement known as Palladianism.

He did not let York’s gentry down.  Burlington’s Assembly Rooms were a stylish masterpiece, an 18th-century version of an ancient Egyptian Hall designed for festivals and entertainments.  He drew upon an illustration by the 16th-century Italian architect Palladio to create a theatrical interior of Corinthian columns and bays, which contrasted with the elegantly simple exterior.

The Assembly Rooms were first used during race week in August 1732, what we know today as Ebor Week. The building was to become the model for formal reception rooms in country houses throughout the land.

A new entrance front was designed by JP Pritchett in 1828 and the corporation restored the rooms in 1951.

Assembly Rooms, York (now ASK restaurant)

Banner image: Monastery of Las Descalzas Reales, Madrid