For over five centuries, tile has been used as a form of expression in Portugal in different contexts. More than just an aesthetic alternative, the Portuguese tile is a reflection of cultural, social, and economic influences, inseparable from the country's history. The production of tiles in Portugal dates back to the mid-sixteenth century; however, it was only in the nineteenth century that this industry was established.
Brazil's growing demand for Portuguese porcelain and tiles, ideal for protecting buildings from the hot and humid climate, led to the emergence of new ceramic factories throughout the country. Founded in Lisbon in 1849, Viúva Lamego was one of the very first few.
THE FACTORY IN INTENDENTE
Built between 1849 and 1865, the Viúva Lamego factory building was, at the time, the pottery workshop of António Costa Lamego, a craft very common in that area of Lisbon. The façade, entirely decorated with figurative tiles by the factory artistic director, Ferreira das Tabuletas, was one of the first to use tiles as a means of publicity.
The building, now classified as a property of public interest, is one of the most emblematic in the city, an ex-libris of the nineteenth-century naïf style tiling.
FROM CLAY TO TILE
In the early days, the factory mainly produced utilitarian articles in red clay, tiles in white clay, and some faience. With the advent of the twentieth century, tiles became the main product of Viúva Lamego. At the time Viúva Lamego already maintained a close connection with artists, with workshops placed conveniently at their disposal.
In the 1930s, the industrial component was moved to Palma de Baixo, and again in 1992, to Abrunheira, Sintra, where it has been since. Today, the building in Largo do Intendente is open to the public as a shop, with tiles and other ceramic products as the main products.