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Museum of Decorative Arts

Museum of Decorative Arts (37)

It might not be one of Lisbon’s prime tourist attractions but lying behind the story of this museum is a deep love for Portuguese tradition.

The “Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva” Foundation gets its name from a renowned banker and art collector and is the organisation that funds this working museum. Its intention is to protect and define decorative art and the professions connected to it, seeing the genre as a part of the roots and traditions of Portuguese art.

The museum was founded in 1953 and housed in the “Azurara” Palace, an 18th century building restored in the style of an aristocratic residence of that period. You will greatly enjoy its painted wooden ceilings, tile panelling, 17th and 18th century tapestry, porcelain from China and civil furniture which make up one of the biggest collections in Europe.

Worth taking particular note of is an 18th century backgammon and chess board made of rosewood. 

In addition, another of the most interesting things about the museum is being able to observe how work is carried out in the foundation’s workshops and explore the most practical area of the whole building.

Tapestry, silver, porcelain, ceramics, tiles and lace are perhaps some of the things you will think of buying while in Lisbon. The city is well-known for its craftwork and applied arts, and this small museum in the area of la Alfama tells a lot about the capital’s more traditional side. 

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