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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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This collection of around 17,000 documents contains both whole albums of prints and individual items. Besides the original inventory and the works that had belonged to the convents that were abolished in 1834, the collection was further enriched in the 19th century by the purchase of parts of the Cifka and Figanière collections in 1887 and 1889 respectively. Among the most significant recent additions are the iconographic items in the Jorge Moser donation – essentially portraits – and artists’ donations of their own work.

The collection includes original engravings dating from the 16th century onwards, with an emphasis on the 18th and 19th centuries, and photomechanical prints from the last two hundred years. Although there are works from abroad – above all France and Italy – Portuguese authors and others who have worked in this country are the most prevalent. Thematically, the collection is very diverse, although there is larger presence in areas like portraiture, topography, historical events, and folk figures and costumes.

The engravings of exceptional artistic interest include works by Callot, Piranesi, Dürer and Rembrandt. The collection also holds works by contemporary Portuguese engravers, such as José de Guimarães and David d'Almeida, among others.

Inventário da colecção de estampas : série preta. Org. e pref. por Ernesto Soares. Lisboa: BN, 1975.