Magical and Marvellous Museo Cerralbo

A few weeks ago I went to visit my beautiful treasured friend who lives in Madrid and she took us to this absolutely incredible museum that I had never heard of before – Museo Cerralbo. Located close to the Temple de Debod, you would probably walk past it without realising the treasures inside. The museum was the home of the seventeenth Marquis Cerralbo, Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, who donated it to the nation upon his death in 1922. The museum opened 22 years later, and showcases the opulence of aristocratic life in late nineteenth century Madrid.

The Marquis and his children were keen collectors of many different things. This becomes clear when you visit: the walls are covered in art and they surround collections of armour, medals, coins, archaeological finds, decorative arts, to name but a few. The house was designed to have the dual purpose of both home and museum, and this becomes clear as you wander round and take it all in.

This blog post is basically a photo diary of my visit, but the photos speak for themselves in showing the beauty and ostentation of this home. No two rooms were decorated exactly the same, and it boasted a beautiful collection of chandeliers that I spent forever taking photos of.

Can you believe how beautiful this wallpaper is? It made the room seem really light and airy as well because it was in such pale, rococo-inspired colours. The rooms in Museo Cerralbo were an interesting mix of baroque and rococo-inspired arrangements that meant movement between pretty, light spaces and darker, more dramatic ones.

So this was the entrance hall – plus a close up of the chandelier. Marble, ornate staircase, chandelier that looked super heavy and beautiful – I don’t know how the ceilings took the weight of all those beautiful chandeliers!

The extensive collections are on show all over the museum, including an impressive collection of armour in one hallway, as well as plenty of interesting and intricate display cabinets. This one was my favourite – filled with lots of interesting bits of pottery, but primarily because of the slightly threatening wooden man shaking his fists at passers-by on top of it. (Never seen anything like that before – one way to protect your collection!)

Spaces everywhere are covered in things.


Back to a lighter, brighter space and just look at that silver-framed mirror with the pink, blue and yellow flowers decorating it. It was absolutely stunning and looked like it was made from glittering icicles.

This was perhaps my favourite room due to the jolly wall designs, which showed a lot of pastoral scenes with people dancing and celebrating. But wait until you see the dreamy ceiling and gorgeous floor pattern…

And now is where my favourite chandeliers appear, hanging in the hall in beautiful shades of white, blue, pink and yellow, almost matching the mirror from before.


This hall had more display cabinets in them, alongside plenty of art, mirrors and vases, which then led into a beautiful upstairs ballroom.


It was like walking into a rococo dream!


I’m sorry that this post has been more pictures than history, but I loved the beautiful interior of the museum. I also loved that it had kept the feeling of being a home crossed with a museum: there were very few panels explaining what all of the objects were, just as it was in the Marquis’ day. A panel welcomed you to each new space, but I loved that you could browse the objects indiscriminately and enjoy them all, without some being explained more than others. It really is a treasure trove in there, and I definitely recommend visiting if you get to Madrid!

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