Seville - Napoleonic connections
Seville was Marshal Soult's Headquarters from 1810 to 1812. During that time he demolished some buildings, used the Royal Ironworks to cast cannon for the French army and looted an estimated 15.M francs of artwork.
He was known as "King Nicolas". Nicolas was not part of his given name which was Jean-de-Dieu Soult. He came from southern France and was therefore regarded as a bit of a peasant, although his father was a notary (lawyer). Nicolas was a name associated with farmers etc. so it was a way of disrespecting him.
La Plaza de la Encarnación / Metropol Parasol / Las Setas.
This extraordinary structure was enabled by Marshal Soult - seriously. He had the convent that occupied the area demolished in 1810 but never built anything in its place. Later there was a food market but that had to be demolished because of structural problems. The site lay vacant for nearly 40 years. Initially there was going to be an underground car park with a market on top, then they found considerable ruins dating to Roman and Moorish times so launched a competition for a more appropriate development. This opened in 2011. Needless to say, some hate it but it has revived this area of Seville which is 10-15 minutes walk from the cathedral.
At the lowest level there is an archeological museum, then the market, then a raised public area. The positions of the supports are dictated by the ruins below. On top there is a cafe and walkways offering fantastic views of the city.
Royal Artillery Factory
We also came across the Royal Artillery Factory / Ironworks where some of the cannon we'd seen in 2018 were cast during the French occupation. The giant mortars used to bombard Cádiz were also made there. It is now closed up and derelict.
Alcázar of Seville
Next to the Cathedral is the Alcázar of Seville which has extensive gardens. This was actually built for Christian Kings but by Moorish builders in their style.
Marshal Soult set up what he called the "Napoleonic Museum" in the Alcázar. This was not however a public-spirited move, it was actually an intermediate collection point for notable artworks before they were moved to Paris, or sold to line Soult's pockets. According to an information board there, 999 works were collected including 45 by Murillo. In 1813, after the French had left, only 8 of those works by Murillo remained in the Alcázar. For example, the Provenance of Murillo's painting "The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables" includes "Alcázar in Seville, 1810; Marshal Soult Collection, Paris, 1813-1852".
The Alcázar of Seville from La Giralda. The garden are on the far side.
Palace of the Dueñas
The gardens of the Palace of the Dueñas where Eugénie du Derje de Montijo, the wife of Napoleon III, spent time in 1920 at the end of her life. Her son, Napoléon, Prince Imperial, served with the British Army during the Zulu War (1879) and was killed there while on patrol. All three are buried in Farnborough, England.
The Palace belonged to Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart y Falcó, 17th Duke of Alba and 10th Duke of Berwick among other titles. The Fitz-James Stuart bit indicated direct (if illegitimate) descent from James II of England.