The house where the Portuguese Antonio Medeiros e Almeida lived is one of the most prominent residences in the Lisbon area. A few people put this place on their list to visit, because they have not heard of it, and it is one of the most beautiful houses with incredible works of art from the 17th century until the 20th century. The unique house-museum was founded in 1970, and is located in the residence of the founder "Antonio de Medeiros e Almeida".
He was born in Lisbon in 1895, and his parents are originally from the Azores. He finished school in Lisbon, after which he took a medical course that he did not complete. He was a car lover and often participated in races. On one occasion, he persuaded William Morris, the founder of Morris Motors in Great Britain, to give him a permit to import Morris vehicles to Portugal. He had a great power of persuasion, so he managed to become the first seller of Morris vehicles in Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra and Viseu.
After some time, he became the president of the French automobile company Citroen, which is still produced in Portugal. He also had a large stake in the first Portuguese airline, and in all this he did not forget his origins in the Azores where he became an associate at Bensaude & Co, which was considered a very strong company and concerned shipping, fishing, shipyards and the like. He was also known as someone who helped Jewish refugees during World War II, provided them with passports and, with the help of his company, found ways to board them via cargo ships. He was a very powerful businessman and a resourceful man.
The fact that the British ambassador addressed him in order to facilitate the negotiations between Winston Churchill and the Portuguese leader Antonio Salazar on the establishment of a military base for the allied forces in the Azores speaks of how much influence he had and how important he was at that time. Salazar refused to cooperate, and Medeiros e Almeida helped the Allies use the facilities in the Azores during the war, since the British appointed him a member of the highest order of the British Empire in 1947. Lisbon lacked hotels for high-paying visitors, and in 1959 he joined investors to build the Ritz Hotel in Lisbon. Salazar agreed.
In 1924, Medeiros e Almeida married Margarida Pinto Basto and they lived together in a house in Lisbon where they began to buy works of art. They very quickly gathered a large collection and became famous for that. They bought a large part of the collection after the World War II, when the prices of works of art were much lower than their real price. His wife passed away in 1971, and they donated their property and collection to the Medeiros e Almeida Foundation, which runs the museum.
The inventory of his collection was made after his death by experts from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation at the request of Medeiros e Almeida. He led the Medeiros e Almeida Foundation until his death in 1986. In his will, he stated that his shares are sold in all companies and that the money is used to build a property near the museum for rent, and to support the museum from the rent. In that way, he enabled the survival of the Foundation after his death. This way of financing is still supported and maintained by the museum.
The house-museum exhibits collections of porcelain, furniture, paintings, silverware, sculptures in 25 rooms. This is a fairytale place, with incredible examples of furniture from the 19th century, and one of the most prominent examples of such furniture is the furniture of Francois Linke. He was the most famous manufacturer of furniture from the 19th century, and pieces such as a rosewood clock and glass marble are just one of the fantastic items to admire. Large collections of watches can be seen in this house. In the Silver Room, you will also see a dinner set that once belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte. While in the Porcelain Room you will see rich and magnificent objects from the Han and King dynasties.
Although the museum is little known, it is worth your time. This rich house with a beautiful exterior and interior, provides an incredible experience of enjoying works of art from a private collection.
Ticket price for the museum
Regular ticket price 7.50 euros
Museum opening hours
Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Author of the text:
Maja Glavaš, Bachelor with Honours in Communicology. Works in Tourism.
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