Sunday, 15 March 2009

A rococo palace in the middle of the rubble

In the district of Rimac in Lima you can find a surprising building: the Quinta de Presa. A building in French rococo style, although it is now very deteriorated. The best way to go here is with a taxi, as it is not very close to the bridge. To go walking is also a bit off putting, as women warn you from their windows to go away, that it is dangerous here. The building is already since 1920 property of the state and since that time designated to become a museum for colonial art. Unfortunately that is still the plan, more than 8o years later. That is probaly not going to happen soon, as the building is very far from any touristic route and much has to be done to restore it. But it is a wonderful building, with an interesting story.

The first mentioning of the area, where the Quinta de Presa is now standing, was in 1690. In that year a flour mill, house and vineyard were sold by Martín Arías del Castillo to José Blanco Rejón. In 1696 his widow Sebastiana Ramos Galván sold the property to Juan Bautista de la Rigada. He died in 1706. Two years later Sebastiana sold the mill to Juan Bautista Palacios. Apparently it had reverted back to her upon the death of Señor de la Rigada. Juan Bautista Palacios was married to Doña Isabel Carrillo de Albornoz y de la Presa, sister of the first Duque de Montemar and the fourth Conde de Montemar. The couple did not have any children and after the death of Juan Bautista his widow became owner of the mill.

In her will of February 28th 1765 Doña Isabel bequeathed “el Molino de Polvora en el calle de Molambo” to her nephew Don Pedro Carrillo de Albornoz y Bravo de Laguna (* 9-11-1734 + 26-6-1798). Pedro was colonel of the militia of the regiment of the Villa de Huaura, north of Lima, where he owned the haciendas Vilcahuara and San Ildefonso de Huaito. He constructed the present day palace, although the exact date of construction is unknown. Pedro was married to Doña Maria Josefa Petronila de Salazar y Gaviño (* 1748 + ..-4-1825), daughter of Don Agustín de Salazar y Muñatones, Conde de Monteblanco and owner of among others the hacienda San José in Chincha, and Maria Francisca Gaviño y Riañon. She remarried in 1802 Domingo de Orué y Mirones and lived with him on the hacienda Vilcahuara.

Don Pedro Carrillo de Albornoz y Bravo de Laguna died June 26th 1798. The day before he had made his last will in which his only child, a daughter, inherited all his possessions, including “ los de molina de arina y casa Huerta”. The name Quinta de Presa was only mentioned for the first time in 1829. For the valuation of the inheritance and inventory was made of his goods. In February 1799 the Molina was valued at 110.029 pesos and the garden and huerta at 12.467 pesos. Houses in the calle Molambo were part of the inheritance. The daughter, Doña Maria Josefa Carrillo de Albornoz y Salazar, was married in 1789 to a cousin Don Gaspar Carrillo de Albornoz y Vega Cruzat, son of the Marquesa de Feria. She was probably mentally backward, as her mother made a will in her name on October 24th 1829. In which some cousins were named as heirs. In this will the following is mentioned: “la Quinta de esta Capital que llama de Presa”. She died November 5th 1829. Her will was not carried out, as an uncle Juan Antonio Carrillo de Albornoz y Bravo de Laguna took over and willed the property to another cousin: Doña Maria de la Puente y Carrillo de Albornoz.

The following decades are spent by litigations of the will of Doña Maria Josefa by Doña Maria. Finally on November 17th 1842 the hacienda Vilcahuara and the Quinta o Huerta de Presa y casas en la calle de la Merced y de San Juan become possessions of Doña Maria. She and her daughter sell the finca Quinta de Presa on January 17th 1846 to José Herouard. At that time the house was between the Casa y Huerta owned by the heirs of Don José de Agüero and the Casa y Huerta known as “London”. It passed several times to other owners until it was bought on May 31st 1920 by the state with the aim to house a museum for colonial art.

Principal source: “El inventario de la Quinta de Presa” by Ella Dunbar Temple, Revista de la Sociedad Peruana de Historia, Lima, 1948


  1. Quite interesting. I have studied the Carrillo de Albornoz of Peru and never came accross the Quinta de Presa.
    Perhaps you should forward you article to the Ministry of Culture or whatever.
    Rolando Rivero
    Genealogist from Bolivia

  2. So glad to read and look this pics!..I was part of a team who works in reconstructing the beautiful and amazing interiors walls of this building...!

  3. hola señor,necesito contactar con usted,asunto valoracion de los libros originales de Don Domingo de Orue y Mirones,