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).
The portfolio below shows azulejos of different types from different periods, including:
- Most important figurative azulejo façades from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
- A selection of non-figurative azulejo façades from different periods.
- A selection of the exhibits of the National Azulejo Museum in Lisbon.
Among notable omissions are the Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira and the Art Nouveau building on Rua das Janelas Verdes 70-78.
I took the photos in early May 2016.
You will find the locations of all these azulejos on the map below:
1. Church of São Roque
1584 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. 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.
3. Church of Santa Luzia
This panel can be found on the external wall of the church.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Building on Rua de São Domingos à Lapa 43-45
The tiles are from Sant’Anna Factory, which was established in 1741.
7. Building on 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.
8. Cervejaria Trindade
Rua Nova da Trindade 20A-20D
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. 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.)
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. House of the Viscount of Sacavém
Rua do Sacramento à Lapa 24
José Joaquim Pinto da Silva, 1897-1900
This exhuberant building is Baroque and Art Nouveau at the same time. The windows are Neo-Manueline. The façade stands out because of the reliefs that cover the tiles. The tiles and the reliefs were produced by José Joaquim Pinto da Silva, 2nd Viscount of Sacavém, a notable ceramist of the Caldas da Rainha School. He was inspired by the works of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, the father of the Portuguese azulejo art in the last decades of the 19th century, as well as by Bernard Palissy, a famous 16th-century French potter. The house is located in an area with a lot of embassies.
13. Building on Rua do Milagre de Santo António 14
The three panels of tiles of this façade are from the 20th century. They depict three famous miracles of Saint Anthony: the Miracle of the Mule, the Miracle of the Jug and the Miracle of the Fishes.