Chester Decorative & Fine Arts Society

A Member Society of NADFAS

Recollections of Lisbon (27 Sept - 2nd Oct 2015)

Click here for a detailed report of the visit

A profusion of Portuguese treasures. Each day we were exposed to excellence. Ana Margarida was a true star, amazing us every day with her erudition and knowledge. A great experience!

It was my first experience with Chester DFAS and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The whole programme was balanced and varied and how lucky we were to have Margarida as our guide for the whole five days! I'm certain I won't remember everything she told us but....will cherish the happy memories and the bits I can remember. The group was so friendly I would not be afraid to travel on my own....in the future.

A typical Portuguese dish of clams and diced pork in a rich sauce in a restaurant off the Avenida da Liberdade. We needed a taxi to take us back to Hotel Fenix!

In a wonderful gallery filled with treasures…. six glorious, fifteenth century panels containing fifty-eight people…..a unique ‘group portrait’ surrounding two images of St Vincent in the Museu de Arte Antigua. The faces of many of the people are mirrored in the faces of people in modern-day Portugal. Some of them uncannily directed their gaze at us viewers. 

We were fortunate to be the only people in the Church of Sao Pedro in the small town of Palmela. It gave us the chance to take a leisurely look at the lovely, 18th century blue and white tiles.

Delicious seafood in Setubal, the home town of the ‘chosen one,’ Jose Morinho.

Even French visitors to Lisbon admitted that Portugal’s vinho verde is a truly delicious white wine. The newly addicted can buy it directly from Alfama!!

Poor Mrs Gulbenkian…she hated living in luxury in a hotel in Lisbon!

This super trip was a wonderful introduction to people like us who had never set foot in Portugal. Lots of things we especially liked keep flashing on the inward eye particularly when doing something mundane or mechanical….the Madonna and Child in alabaster in the Museu Gulbenkian, Palacio Nacional des Queluz; the cloister of the Mosterio dos Jeronimos…

The Palacio Nacional da Pena, high above Sintra….a bizarre confection of architecture and decoration….perhaps a bit OTT, but spectacularly situated on its granite hill-top.

We were fortunate to be the only people in the Church of Sao Pedro in the small town of Palmela. It gave us the chance to take a leisurely look at the lovely, 18th century blue and white tiles.

If I had time to see only one thing among the treasures in the Museu Gulbenkian it would be the room dedicated to the wonderful jewellery of Rene Lalique.

Magnificent tiles at the Palacio Nacional de Fronteria were of great interest, especially those anthromorphising cats. With the grounds in need of urgent renovation, it makes you thankful for our National Trust.


René Lalique
French (1860-1945)
Dragonfly woman corsage ornament, c. 1897-1898
gold, enamel, chrysoprase, moonstones, and diamonds
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon
© 2000 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

Eating Portuguese sausage in a restaurant in Sintra facing the 15th century palace built for Philippa of Lancaster (mother of Henry the Navigator) and wondering what she would made of this wonderful climate.