“In his magnificent summer residence in Torres de Meirás, near La Coruña, where the Countess of Pardo Bazán and her mother the widowed countess are currently staying, some great meals have been held in honor of different people these days”, reported ABC in a society note published in August 1908, giving an account of the dukes, marquises and counts who had attended and who had admired “the advancements of the palace decoration and furniture, as well as the beautiful heraldic stained glass window that lights up the hall” .
The famous pazo, which this December 10th passed into the hands of the State, was erected from 1893 on the site of Sada that used to occupy a modest farm, with the same name as the palace today. Apparently, there was formerly a primitive manor house founded at the end of the 14th century by Don Roy de Mondego, which was destroyed during the War of Independence.
As explained by Melchor de Almagro San Martín (1882-1947), this property from a close relative was inherited by the Pardo Bazán family, “who, with persistent effort, decided to build in its place the country palace that now stands on its stone foundations, defy time.
Countess Amalia, widow of Pardo Bazán and mother of the famous writer of «Los pazos de Ulloa», possessed «a true administrative genius, which allowed her raise the towers, a very important and expensive work, without large expenditures made in one go, but at the mercy of fixed amounts, meticulously dosed in the family budget, over several decades», Said the writer and journalist from Granada. In the works of Meirás they worked during summers, when the owners could direct them personally. Hence, your visitors will appreciate your progress.
According to Almagro San Martín, the Torres de Meirás arose from the Galician terroir «with everything the centennial flavor of a Romanesque monument, as old as the surrounding churches, which recall the deeds of Bishop Gelmírez, and it was so because at Doña Emilia’s highly cultured spirit, who planned the work with a subtle archaic orientation, joined the hand of Celtic workers ».
In the times of Emilia Pardo Bazán, Melchor Almagro continued recounting, «you entered the palace through an immense hallway, which with barbarism we would call today “hall”, joined by a huge and very graceful arch to a kind of covered patio, from the center of which started, up to the gallery on the main floor, the very wide staircase of honor, divided into two arms, with a balustrade of sculpted stone, where in authentic Romanesque taste, which could be said to be centenary, marine and mountain motifs are mixed, with a funny and naive pairing ».
«That grand entrance hall gave a solemn cathedral impression, where the light filtered softly through stained glass windows and side stained glass windows, furnished in the seventeenth century Spanish style, it means to be based on red damask, those that Doña Emilia once called Episcopal, friar armchairs, Talavera earthenware and Alcora, portraits of ancestors in the style of Velázquez, Carreño and Claudio Coello … ».
The office of the illustrious author of «La Chimera» was «adorned with magnificent pastries displaying the arms of the Pardo Bazán family and furnished in a gothic style»Continued the writer. The upholstery of armchairs, sofas and armchairs “reproduced, beautifully embroidered by the Countess Amalia herself, who was a patient and admirable artist, a collection of portraits of famous writers,” he added.
The great ballroom, in the Italian style, «recalled in its classic luxury those of the villas of Como and Treviso». It communicated with the office and beyond it opened «a dining room as huge as it is stately, adorned with Flemish tapestriesAll the fireplaces in the rooms, whose ornamental motifs, alluding to country themes, were to be noted for their beauty “were carved” in a Romanesque style, in Galician granite. “
The piece that once aroused the most interest was, without a doubt, the study where Emilia Pardo Bazán wrote. It was located “at the top of the Levante tower” and from its open balcony you could contemplate the gardens of wild camellias and rose gardens, in the foreground, and the green Galician landscape.
In October 1910, the wedding of Blanca Quiroga and Pardo Bazán, daughter of the writer, with Colonel Cavalcanti de Alburquerque, sponsored by the Infante Fernando de Baviera, was celebrated in its chapel. ABC, which fully accounted for the marriage bond, highlighted among the artistic works housed in said chapel “the altarpiece, a superb Borrominesque carving; the front, made of Cordoba leather; the Virgin, a valuable eleventh-century image, skillfully restored, and the chalice, a marvel of Louis XV’s French goldsmithing. That day the red flag with the arms of the house was raised in the main tower and there was “a dance and a splendid lunch for the guests, continuing the party until ten o’clock at night.”
This newspaper also referred to the stay of the Infante Fernando in 1920, during his trip to Galicia. The journalist Juan Spottorno y Topete, who wrote his society chronicles as “Gil de Escalante”, described with grace and detail the banquet with which he was given in Meirás. From the reception to the Infante de España at the foot of the castle, where the purple banner of Castile was raised, to the banquet menu and where each of the diners sat, the after-dinner in the garden, the splendid tea served to the guests. guests or the dance that lasted until dusk “in the spacious Italian hall, decorated with stuccoes and 18th-century furniture and whose high ceiling faithfully and artistically reproduces scenes from mythology.”
Emilia Pardo Bazán ordered that a few years after her death her remains be transferred to the pantheon that she had built, according to her own designs, in the Torre de Meirás. But his wishes were never fulfilled. In 1938 his daughter Blanca, Countess de la Torre de Cela, shocked by the death of her husband, her brother Jaime and his son, ended up selling the pazo to the Junta pro Pazo del Caudillo. This had been formed by the civil governor and several Galician mayors in order to donate a representative property in the province to Franco so that he could use it as a summer residence.