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Iconography Reading Room


Opening hours:

Monday to Friday: 9.30am - 5.30pm
Item requests up to 5pm.

Saturday: - Closed

Additional services:
Photocopies of reference works, on request up to 4.30pm


Tel.:  21 7982049 / 50
Fax: 21 7982138
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The Collection of Drawings is composed of around 6,500 items from a wide variety of sources. It includes works that range from the 16th century to the present day, albeit from the point of view of the importance of the documents, those from the 18th and 19th century are the most significant.

Thematically speaking, the examples of religious, civil and military architecture from both Portugal and abroad – above all France and Germany – are especially important. There are also numerous sketches and designs in the decorative arts field, as well as academic studies, particularly of "plaster" and "live” models.

Among other items, a special mention should be made of the design for the painting of the ceiling of the nave of the Church of the Hospital Real de Todos-os-Santos, which is attributed to Fernão Gomes (c. 1580); the design for the iron railings of the Mafra Basilica, which King Dom João V commissioned from Garnier (1730); the anonymous plan for the "Real Barraca" (literally, the “Royal Hut”), which was built in wood after the 1755 earthquake in order to house the royal family; scenographic studies for operatic performances, which are attributed to Inácio de Oliveira Bernardes; and the series of anonymous allegorical drawings and pamphlets about the 1st French Invasion.

There is a photo-library that enables users to preview the items in the collection before accessing them physically.

♦  Catálogo da Colecção de Desenhos. Est. de A. Ayres de Carvalho. Lisboa: BN, 1977.