Lisbon – azulejos – the works of Luís Ferreira

Some of the most famous tiled buildings in Lisbon are the work of tile painter Luís Ferreira, better known as “Ferreira das Tabuletas”, who was active in third quarter of the 19th century. While there is some controversy about whether the works attributed to him are actually by two different people, they are united by a naive and eclectic style which reflected the romantic-revivalist mode that was characteristic of Portuguese society at the time.

I managed to view Ferreira’s most important works over a couple of trips to Lisbon. All the buildings below can be found on my map.

Ferreira trained at the Fábrica do Rato, but executed his most creative works for the factory of Viúva Lamego where he was the director. The original location of Fábrica de Cerâmica Viúva Lamego was in 25 Largo do Intendente Pina Manique. After the death of its founder the company changed its name to Viúva Lamego and is now based in Abrunheira in Sintra, however the original building, constructed between 1849 and 1865 by António da Costa Lamego, still stands on the site.

The decorative tiles on the facade are by Ferreira. At the top of the building is a triangular gable with a central oculus, surrounded by garlands and cherubs holding an inscription with the construction date. On the ground floor, the allegorical figures of Commerce and Industry flank the entrance of the building while either side of them are Oriental figures carrying scrolls that show the name of the founder and the year of the company’s foundation.

Another famous building decorated by Ferreira, popularly known as Casa do Ferreira das Tabuletas, can be seen at 30 Rua Trindade in Chiado.

Dating from 1863, it’s covered in yellow and orange tiles depicting the allegorical figures of Earth, Water, Commerce, Industry, Science and Agriculture in trompe l’oeil alcoves.

Masonic motifs feature prominently, such as the sun with an eye in its center at the top of the facade.

The artist Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, who is the subject of my next post and also a Freemason, lived and died in this building.

Just around the corner at 20C Rua Nova da Trindade, more Ferreira panels can be viewed inside Cervejaria Trindade, formerly Portugal’s oldest brewery (my review here).

Ferreira was hired to decorate the newly renovated building in 1863. Once again he employed anthropomorphic images to depict the four elements and the four seasons, as well as the figures of Industry and Commerce.

Once more Masonic images are in the mix with panels showing the Eye and the Triangle.

The symbol of the sun serves to remind the Freemason of the intellectual light of which he is in constant search.

Many other lovely panels can be seen in the alcoves and side walls.

Finally, this 19th century building at 124 Campo de Santa Clara in Alfama directly overlooks the flea market. The facade is completely covered with tiles which make use of Baroque-style trompe-l’oeil effects. For instance, the tiles on the ground floor are imitating stonework, creating a rustic look.

The yellow tiles highlighting the frames of the bay windows are in the form of false trompe-l’oeil pilasters and curvilinear cut pediments, decorated with scrolls and acanthus leaves.

In the panels, on oval central medallions, are classically inspired human heads, surrounded by wreaths made of plant elements. The tiles were produced around 1860 at the Fábrica de Cerâmica Viúva Lamego.

All these works in naive tile are considered masterpieces of the 19th century romantic-revivalist style.

Another famous ceramic artist next!

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