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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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IIlustrated Postcards

The collection of illustrated postcards, which was organised from the Library’s existing holdings in 1975, currently contains some 28,000 items dating from the 19th century to the present day. Many of them cover a variety of Portuguese topics, particularly panoramas, landscapes, portraits, buildings and monuments, the theatre, folk figures and costumes, and ethnic types and costumes.

Sending postcards by mail in Portugal was authorised in a Decree dated 31 October 1877, and the first ones went on sale on 1 January 1878. Among the earliest illustrated postcards that were made in Portugal and are included in the collection, it is especially worth noting those issued in 1894 to celebrate the 5th Centenary of the Birth of Prince Henry the Navigator; in 1895, on the occasion of the 7th Centenary of the Birth of Saint Anthony of Lisbon; and the thirteen postcards that were issued in 1898 to commemorate the 4th Centenary of the Discovery of the Maritime Route to India.