Art History with Anne

Newsletter August 2022

The Live Lecture for August 

Arte Nova and Art Deco in Porto and Aveiro, Portugal

To be given on Friday 26th August 2022 at 11.00 am and repeated at 7.00 pm 

Looking down on Porto

Like many countries enjoying great prosperity at the end of the 19th century, Portuguese architects and designers developed their own variant of Art Nouveau.  Arte Nova buildings are invariably distinguished by their Azulejos or hand painted tile panels.  Azulejo comes from the Arabic zellige meaning ‘polished stone’ as the original idea was to imitate Roman mosaics. The earliest azulejos dating to the 13th century were alicatados, panels of tile-mosaic. Single colour tin-glazed earthenware tiles were cut into geometric shapes and assembled to form geometric patterns. This technique was introduced into Portugal by Manuel I after a visit to Seville in 1503.  Adopting the Moorish tradition of horror vacui (‘fear of empty spaces’), the Portuguese covered walls entirely with azulejos. They were not merely ornamental; they also kept interiors cool. Azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of every type of building from churches to railway stations, the most notably example being the 20,000 or so azulejo tiles used to decorate the vestibule of Porto’s São Bento railway station. Built in 1905-16, by the architect Marques da Silva, this is good place to start our Arte Nova tour of Porto.

Porto’s São Bento railway station

Many of the late 19th century apartments around the Mercado do Bolhão, Porto’s central market dating back to the 1850s, are covered with azulejos creating a rainbow of colours: green, pink and yellow.  Another group can be found around the famous Livraria Lello & Irmão bookstore. Thousands visit the bookshop every year, as the quirky staircase, which rather alarmingly hangs in the centre, is said to have inspired the moving staircases of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. The prettiest Arte Nova house in Porto can be found on Rua Cândido dos Rei.

Tiles were also used extensively in Aveiro, where most of the Arte Nova buildings are built in adobe (sun-dried clay bricks).  The Casa Mário Pessoa (1906-09), the most striking building in Averio, is attributed to Francisco Augusto da Silva Rocha, who headed the local Arte Nova school, and the Swiss born, Ernesto Korrodi. Built for the entrepreneur Mário Belmonte Pessoa, the residence is a riot of colour as well as tiles. Behind a wrought-iron grill of sunflowers, the entrance dramatically stretches its curvilinear forms across the width of the façade. The Vila Africa, in nearby Ílhavo (1907-08), is equally eye-catching.

Casa Mário Pessoa
Vila Africa, in nearby Ílhavo

Returning to Porto our virtual tour ends with the Villa Serralves, the finest Art Deco residence in Portugal. Affectionately known as the ‘Pink House’, this ‘Streamline Modern’ villa reflects the sophisticated taste of its owner, Carlos Alberto Cabral, 2nd Count of Vizela. Visiting the 1925 International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts held in Paris, Cabral became acquainted with the leading architects and designers of the day. His personal vision was realised by architect Charles Siclis, interior designer ÉmileJacques Ruhlmann, and landscape architect Jacques Gréber, who designed the stunning gardens.

Please join me to discover the Arte Nova and Art Deco delights Portugal has to offer!

How to book

To be given on Friday 26th August 2022 at 11.00 am and repeated at 7pm 

The cost of the lecture is £10 for this session. You can book this live lecture for either the morning or the evening presentation.

To do so please email Susan Branfield at

Please note: Susan will not be in the office until 18th August so please do not expect an immediate reply to your booking. She will deal with all bookings upon her return.

Please ask for ‘Morning Lecture’ or ‘Evening Lecture’ when you book your choice as the sessions have different Zoom entry codes 

You can pay by cheque or BACS (details will be supplied). Cheques should be made payable to Anne Anderson. or you can pay by PayPal

One lecture August

Arte Nova and Art Deco in Porto and Aveiro, Portugal


Once you register and pay, you will be sent a separate email with your link. You will need this link to access the lecture on the day so please do not delete it. 

The lecture will be delivered live by Zoom. It will be uploaded afterwards to my YouTube channel for a limited time and you will be provided with a private link to view the lecture again at your leisure.

The lectures last for around an hour. Lecture start times are in BST.
There will be a question-and-answer session at the end.

As the lectures will be delivered live by Zoom, you will be able to ask your questions in person at the end. You can also use the ‘Chat’ function.

Join me in this lecture to enjoy some of the historic culture that Portugal has to offer.

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