Ceramic tiles, or azulejos, have been an essential part of Portuguese architecture for centuries. Thousands of interiors and façades are covered with them in Lisbon and other cities and towns in Portugal and its former colonies. Their decoration can be figurative or non-figurative. In both cases, many sub-styles can be found.
My overview of the history of Portuguese tile art is available here (in Estonian).
I have divided the below portfolio in four parts:
- Azulejos from the 16th to the 19th century
- Azulejos from the early 20th century
- Non-figurative azulejos
- National Azulejo Museum
I took the photos in May 2016 and May 2022.
You will find the locations of all these azulejos on the map below:
Part One: 16th to 19th Centuries
1. Church of São Roque
Francisco de Matos, 1584; 1596; and later
This church is home to the oldest surviving azulejo-panels in Portugal. The tiles covering the walls of the Chapel of St. Roch, signed by Francisco de Matos, are from 1584. They are attractive because of their primitive look. The diamond-point tiles on the walls under the choir gallery and in the transept are from Seville and dated to 1596.
2. Fronteira Palace
Largo São Domingos de Benfica 1
This palace was built by Dom João de Mascarenhas, the first Marquis of Fronteira, in 1665-1673. It is a Mannerist-Baroque building with gorgeous gardens. The palace and the gardens are adorned with diverse glazed tiles. These are considered to be the largest collection of 17th-century Portuguese azulejos preserved in situ.
The formal garden has an artificial pond on its southern side. It is overlooked by a series of panels depicting knights and, a floor above, by a gallery with the busts of the kings of Portugal. Other azulejos that can be found in the gardens show representations of the arts and the 12 months of the year as well as pastoral scenes, scenes of hunting, mythological figures, and so on.
3. Vagos Palace
Largo São Cristóvão 1
This palace dates back to the 15th century and was, for many years, owned by the Marquises of Vagos. Its Baroque façade dates from after the 1755 earthquake. The building is organised around a central courtyard, the walls of which are covered with non-figurative azulejos. The passageway that leads to the courtyard has wall panels with floral motifs. Today, the palace functions as a clinic.
4. Church of Santa Luzia
This panel can be found on the external wall of the church.
5. Refectory of the Jerónimos Monastery
The refectory itself was built in 1517-1518. Parts of the tiles depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
6. Palace of the Counts of Sarbosa
Rua do Possolo 76
Second half of the 18th century
This building is coated with tiles from the Rato Factory. It now houses the embassies of Finland and Andorra.
7. Rua de São Domingos à Lapa 43-45
The tiles are from Sant’Anna Factory, which was established in 1741.
8. Cervejaria Trindade
Rua Nova da Trindade 20A-20D
Luís Ferreira, 1863 (interior tiles)
This beer house is located in the refectory of the Convent of the Holy Trinity, established in 1294. The monastery was destroyed by fire in 1708, by the Lisbon earthquake in 1755 and again by fire in 1766.
The beer house was established here in 1836 by a Galician entrepreneur named Manoel Moreira Garcia. It was the first of its kind in Portugal. The azulejo-panels covering its interior walls are from 1863 and were designed by Luís Ferreira, the head of the Viúva Lamego Ceramic Factory. They depict the four seasons and the four elements as well as Masonic and heraldic motifs. The exterior tiles are much more modest.
9. Campo de Santa Clara 124-126
Luís Ferreira, around 1863
The painter of this baroque-influenced azulejo façade was Luís Ferreira from the Viúva Lamego Ceramics Factory.
10. House of Ferreira das Tabuletas
Largo Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro / Rua Trindade
Luís Ferreira, 1864
This house was built in 1864 by Manuel Moreira Garcia, the Galician entrepreneur who established the Trindade Brewery on the adjacent plot of land in 1836. The façade is by Luís Ferreira, a famous Lisbon painter also known as Ferreira das Tabuletas. The façade exhibits six allegorical figures: the Earth, Water, Commerce, Industry, Science and Agriculture. At the top there is a star with an eye in the center, symbolising the Creator of the Universe. (Garcia was a Freemason.)
11. Viúva Lamego Ceramics Factory
Largo do Intendente Pina Manique 24-26
Luís Ferreira, 1865
The Viúva Lamego Ceramics Factory was founded in 1849 by António da Costa Lamego. This building was originally a private residence but later became the shop area of the factory. The colourful tiles that cover the whole façade were designed by Luís Ferreira, the director of the factory. On the tiles of the ground floor two classical and two oriental figures can be found. On the second-floor tiles there are potted plants inspired by Baroque albarradas. On the pediment, angels announce of the date of the building’s decoration. This is the most beautiful azulejo façade of Lisbon.
12. Workshops of the Viúva Lamego Ceramics Factory
Avenida Almirante Reis 6
The Viúva Lamego Ceramics Factory was founded in 1849 by António da Costa Lamego. This was the workshop area. The ground floor was originally covered by standardized tiles.