The Wise Laughter of Democritus

One of the fables of La Fontaine, illustrated on the tiles of the Royal School of the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, recounts the story of the philosopher Democritus, who, when contemplating the daily life of his fellow citizens, laughed without ceasing.

The Talking Animals

Literature for the education of young people has a long tradition in Western culture. The tales, the parables, and the verses are so ingrained in the general literature that we often forget that they were conceived with a precise pedagogical purpose.

The Triumph of a New Dynasty

The palace and gardens of the Marqueses de Fronteira, an exemplary piece of Portuguese civil architecture of the 17th century, find their model in the programs of the Triumphal Entries, in which the cities celebrate the enthronement of a new monarch or the royal weddings.

The Laughter of the Monkey World

On the benches that surround the tank of one of the gardens of Quinta dos Marqueses de Fronteira, there is one tile panel with a representation of singeries. It was a satirical image and a invitation to spend free hours, without social constraints, in the garden.

A Black Slave Woman in the Kitchen

The representation of a black slave woman tending a fish in the kitchen of the Sousa Mexia Palace, currently the headquarters of the Lisbon Museum, is an essential complement to the furniture and indicates the form of social occupation of this space.

The Chinoiserie of a Wealthy Merchant House in Lisbon

The tiles made to the wealthy merchant António Pereira’s house, currently applied over the benches and flowerbeds flanking the main entrance of the Sobralinho Palace, in Vila Franca de Xira, are one of the best examples of the peculiar way in which images of exotic countries are shaped to adjust to the taste and objectives…

Architects and Tiles

The tiles made for the stairways of 18th-century palaces in Lisbon are one of the most evident examples of the close relationship between the design of architecture and the ornamentation that ennobles these spaces. They are also evidence that the hand of architects often guided the renovation of tiles.

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