The House of Trade was an institution founded in 1503 by order of Isabel la Católica, in charge of managing everything related to navigation and commercial exploitation of the new territories of the Crown overseas.
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Initially it settled in a space of the old Shipyards, but due to the constant flooding of the river, it was soon moved to the location that it would occupy inside the Alcázar. There it would occupy the space of one of the old Muslim palaces, to the west of the palace of Pedro I, a space that had already been used by the so-called Cuarto de los Admirales. At the beginning of the 16th century, a complete renovation of the facilities began and a new façade was opened towards the current Plaza de la Contratación. However, the building that we can see there today, owned by the Junta de Andalucía, was built in the 1970s. It was then that the old courtyard of the Muslim palace was rebuilt, based on the few archaeological remains found.
From the 16th century Casa de Contratación, some rooms and patios have been preserved, which today can be visited from inside the Alcázar. Among them, we can highlight the Admiral's Room and the Audience Room.
The Admiral's Hall is a large rectangular space covered by a wooden ceiling, with horizontal beams resting on corbels with a design inspired by the work of Sebastiano Serlio. Dating from the end of the 16th century, this ceiling is attributed to the master carpenter of the Alcázar, Martín Infante. The walls are decorated with paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries belonging to National Heritage, the Prado Museum and the collection of the Royal Family. Particularly interesting are the portraits painted by the German Winterhalter of The King and Queen of France, Luis Felipe and Amelia, with their children, and those of Don Antonio and Doña Luisa Fernanda, Dukes of Montpensier.
Opposite, hangs a large painting titled The Aftermath of Fernando III the Saint, signed and dated in Seville by the local painter Virgilio Mattoni in 1887. It is a work owned by the Prado Museum, although it is deposited in the Alcázar due to the great connection of the work with this place, since the event that it narrates, the death of Fernando III, happened here, in the Alcázar. On the back wall, in the central place of the room, we can see the oil painting titled The Ibero-American Exhibition Inauguration, painted by Alfonso Grosso in 1929.
For its part, the Courtroom owes its name to the fact that it was the seat of the Admiralty Court of Castilla. It is a room with a square plan, whose wooden coffered ceiling from the 16th century, richly gilded, presents traces reminiscent of the old Mudejar style.
On the walls appear the coats of arms of several famous admirals in the naval history of Spain, among which is that of Christopher Columbus, right in the center of the wall on the left.
In the central part of the room we see the altarpiece of Nuestra Señora de los Navegantes, made by Alejo Fernández in 1535. It is the first painting in Europe that has the discovery of America as its theme. We cannot identify the figures that appear clearly, but we know that they are Christopher Columbus, Emperor Carlos, Fernando el Católico, Sancho de Matienzo (first treasurer of the Casa de Contratación), Americo Vespuccio, Juan de la Cosa and several indigenous people. , of the recently discovered lands. All of them covered under the mantle of the Virgin of Buenos Aires. At the bottom are several of the types of boats that made the race to the Indies, so the work as a whole offers testimony of incalculable value.