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Discover the objects on display in the National Palace of Sintra

Swans Hall

The Great Hall of the palace of King João I and Queen Philippa of Lancaster.

Until the 19th century, this is where the courtiers assembled and where banquets, musical soirées, public receptions, religious feasts and even funeral ceremonies were held.

The earthquake in 1755 razed part of the walls and the ceiling, but they were rebuilt shortly afterwards.


Discover the objects on display in this room.

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  • Holland, 1622
  • Oak and iron
  • Inv. No. PNS3105
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  • Holland, 1640
  • Oak and iron
  • Inv. No. PNS3106
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Buffet table

  • Portugal, 18th century
  • Rosewood and gilded metal
  • Inv. No. PNS3016
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Buffet table

  • Portugal, 18th century
  • Rosewood and gilded metal
  • Inv. No. PNS2860
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The name of this room comes from the panels decorating the ceiling containing crowned swans, an emblem used by the brother of Queen Philippa of Lancaster (1360–1415), Henry IV of England (1367–1413). Although much changed over time, it is thought that the current swans are based on a 14–15th-century painting when Sintra was administered by that queen.

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  • Portugal, 17th-18th century
  • Copper
  • Inv. No. PNS5625


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  • 15th-16th century (?)
  • Iron
  • Inv. No. PNS5944 / PNS5945



The layout of the rooms in the Palace of Sintra reflected a social hierarchy headed by the king and queen. This section corresponds to the royal palace built in the reign of King João I (1357–1433) and Queen Philippa of Lancaster (1360–1415).

It begins in the Great Hall, which everyone who entered the palace could access. Access to the following rooms became more selective the further one progressed, culminating in the King’s or Queen’s Chamber. These could only be entered by certain members of the high nobility, clergy or important ambassadors.

None of these rooms had a specific function. Their use was defined by the social position of those who were allowed to enter, thus revealing how power was wielded on a day-to-day basis. The layout of the furniture changed to suit the desired enactment of power or to match the social status of the people present.