21 January 2022
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The Ajuda National Palace incorporates important collections of decorative arts dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries. The nuclei of the 18th and 19th centuries are noteworthy: gold ware, jewelry, textiles, furniture, glass and ceramics, as well as the paintings, prints, sculpture and photography collections.
For a more extensive and thorough knowledge of our collections, the MatrizNet is available, an online interface of the Matriz database, which provides information through text, image, video and sound on the collections of the state museums and palaces under the governance of General Directorate for Cultural Heritage.
To order pictures from the Palace please visit MatrizPix, the information system and database of digital images, in constant growth and updating, officially designed for the inventory, management and online availability of photographic archives.

Content List

  • Ceramics has a prominent role in the decorative arts exhibited at the Ajuda National Palace, whose collection includes c. 17,000 pieces of porcelain, earthenware/faience and stoneware. Of European or Eastern manufacture, with utilitarian or decorative functions, ceramics marked the daily life of the Royal Household, where pieces from the Crown collections, especially Chinese export porcelain, diplomatic gifts and European ceramics, mostly German or French, acquired to the best suppliers. The Saxe Room, a testimony of that time and of the Queen’s taste, displays a profusion of porcelain from the Meissen manufacture, from furniture to figurines, undeniably an echo of 18th century porcelain cabinets. The ceramics collection, which is representative of the stylistic movements and of the technical innovations of the 19th century, contains specimens dating from the 16th to the early 20th centuries.uries.
  • Amor MaternalThe sculpture collection of the Ajuda National Palace has grown to some four hundred works, mostly produced between the first half of the 19th century and the second decade of the 20th century. It includes works in marble, bronze, wood, ivory and plaster that reveal the influence of the Italian, Portuguese and French schools. The sculptural values presented are linked to a 19th century paradigm, which sways between neoclassicism, romanticism, naturalism and realism with hints of modernism.
  • PNA, inv. 55010 Due to the variety of authors and species gathered, it is an emblematic collection whose route allows tracing the history of photography in Portugal. It contains multiple typologies, from albumins, to cyanotype, daguerreotype, photoengraving, miniatures, glass plates, painted species, magnified, in albums, etc., with multiple formats and media types - card, porcelain, fabric, and enamel, among others. Although a large proportion is unsigned, the c. 7.000 collection pieces represent more than 300 photographers. In Portugal, A. Fillon, A. Bobone, Novaes, Camacho, C. Relvas, Cifka, E. Biel, F. A. Gomes, Fritz and H. Nunes stand out, as well as several members of the Royal family. Foreign authors worth highlighting are Nadar, Disdéri, Chanaz, Le Lieure, J. Laurent, Montabone, Numa Blanc, M. Baldet, Otto and Reutlinger, among many others.
  • Cofre Castellani, inv 525454The jewelry collection is strongly marked by a great diversity of typologies and provenances, from the late 17th century to the late 19th century. Two major cores stand out in this collection: .The Crown Jewels, also called the “Royal House Splendor Jewelry”, which comprises pieces of national production predominantly from the 18th century. It is a heterogeneous set, by the variety of typologies covered although presenting as a common feature the excellence of its materials and its technical and artistic mastership. Adornment jewelry, weapons that complement gala uniforms, a set of sumptuous honorary badges, foreign and national, and even some raw mineralogical materials from the Brazilian diamond and gold mining explorations are included in this nucleus. .The second collection core, called “Everyday Jewelry”, consists of various types of adornment for current use, in which the 19th century specimens are prevailing, originating mainly from national workshops but also of French and Italian provenance.
  • Candeeiro inv 43227This collection brings together a vast and heterogeneous range of pieces of a decorative and utilitarian nature, mostly from the 19th century. It comprises strict household objects as well as decorative pieces of exquisite elegance and technical quality executed in bronze, brass and copper alloys, among others. These metals are often combined with other materials such as enamel, hard stones or even gold and silver. They are mainly of European provenance, the most prominent among them being the French decorative bronzes. The collection represents the historic revivals and the influence of orientalism in decorative arts and also testifies to the increasing industrialization in the art of metalworking during the 19th century.
  • The furniture set of the Ajuda National Palace was assembled by the Royal House over the 2nd half of the 19th century and is now, as in the past, a mirror of its European counterparts. Continuously enriched in a time of prosperity, where copy reached its highest point, the collection exemplifies the eclecticism of that era: multiple European styles mixed with Oriental, exotic and naturalist influences. There is a distinct taste for contrasts combined with the requirement of comfort and functionality in this collection of Portuguese and foreign authors, among which: Leandro Braga, Sormani, Lelarge, I. Lebas, C. Chevigny, Giroux, Quignon, Boudet, M. Krieger and Escalier de Cristal. About 80% of the pieces are to be seen in the ambience created by the royal family. Their display has been historically ascertained.
  • Poncheira PNA inv 4414The gold and silverware collection includes a wide variety of typologies and provenances dating from the 14th to the early 20th century. It consists of three cores: Crown silver, religious jewelry and decorative and utilitarian silverware. The Crown silver nucleus gathers pieces dating from the 17th to the 20th century. Particularly relevant in this core is the main Crown tableware, the so-called “Germain Tableware”, commissioned by King José I to François Thomas Germain in the second half of the 18th century, as well as the pomp silver of the Portuguese Royal House, consisting mainly of salvers and pitchers of great artistic value and very rich iconography, testifying in a unique way thePortuguese artistic production of the 15th, 16th and 18th centuries. The religious jewelry gathers objects originating mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. It contains utensils used for worship in the royal palaces chapels and a set of pieces that incorporated the Royal House assets after the extinction of the religious orders in 1834. The core of decorative and utilitarian silver consists of objects related to the daily life in the Ajuda Palace, many of which were purchased by Queen Maria Pia during the second half of the 19th century. Some of these objects are on display along the museological path, according to historical criteria of reconstituting the 19th century environment. It highlights the production of national, French, British, Austrian and Italian workshops and it stands out as being quantitatively the most representative core of this collection.
  • D Joao VI  PNA, inv. 4115 The collection consists of over 450 oil paintings and about 880 items including watercolors, drawings, pastels and sketch books. It is predominantly based on pieces inherited from the Royal collections, some of which were part of the holdings of King Luís Painting Gallery. Painters from Portugal and several European schools mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries are represented. The collection provides a wide variety of themes, among which the courtly painting nucleus deserves to be highlighted.
  • The origin of the textile collection lies in the former Royal House estate. It is characterized by a great diversity of typologies, techniques, places and dates of origin. It encompasses art objects from the old Royal collections dating from the 17th and 18th centuries and a diversified set of objects connected to the Royal Family daily life during the last 50 years of the Portuguese Monarchy. The collections of 18th century European tapestries, door curtains and Royal Chapel vestments, clothing and decorative pieces from the 18th and earlier centuries are examples of the former group. The second group displays pieces linked to the Ajuda Palace life experiences in the second half of the 19th century, such as household damask linen, carpets, door panels, drapes or upholstered and /or embroidered fabrics using different techniques as well as the religious service canonicals.
  • The collection of equipment and utensils consists of pieces from the former Portuguese Royal Household estate and has been augmented by a few donations, including about 2.000 objects displaying great typological diversity, as well as a variety of techniques and provenances. Holdings date mostly from the 19th century, among which the old Royal Household kitchenware sets, domestic objects connected to table service, picnic, toilet and makeup cases, utilitarian pieces of the fireplace (heating) category such as salamanders, stoves and accessories, lighting pieces, smoking equipment and a few personal items.
  • In the costume collection, consisting mainly of objects related to the daily life of the Portuguese Royal Family and of the Ajuda Palace in the second half of the 19th century, the two royal mantles stand out, whose symbolic value as regalia items of the Portuguese Crown is significant. The military uniforms of King Luís and King Carlos and of the Princes are also noteworthy, as evidence for historical experiences and facts, a few of them ichnographically documented. The collection also includes pieces of civilian costume from King Louis, Queen Maria Pia and the Princes. Among the Queen’s utilitarian objects the costume accessories and the interesting fan collection in particular stand out. The (incomplete) costume set of the Royal Household employees also witness the everyday life in the Palace.
  • The glass collection of the Ajuda National Palace comprises about 12.500 pieces from the former Royal House assets. It includes utility and decorative glass, light fixtures and glass panes. Holdings date mainly from the second half of the 19th and the early 20th century, corresponding to the period when the Ajuda Palace was inhabited by Queen Maria Pia - namely between 1862 and 1910. Her judicious orders and her particular taste for glass are reflected in the large tableware sets, which have a prominent role in this collection. They include examples originating from the major European glass trading and manufacturing centers of that time, among which: Bohemia (Moser), Italy (Venice Company / Murano, Salviati, Fratelli Toso and MQ Testolini), France (Baccarat, Daum, Gallé, Nancy School), Spain (La Granja and the region of Catalonia), Austria (J & L Lobmeyr), England (Thomas Webb & Sons), Germany and Portugal. Consisting mainly of pieces produced from the glass blowing technique, they illustrate the main trends of the time, such as the Germanic, the “Islamist", the "façon Venise", the "façon d 'Angleterre" styles, among others. The glass collection is further enriched with heraldic decorative elements, individual or joint monograms belonging to King Luís and Queen Maria Pia, which confer it a particular and unique character.
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