beautiful patio before the studio.
Vicentes Photographic Museum was the first
photographic studio to open in Portugal. The photographs
on display allow us to witness an island and its society
through the lens of a camera which includes subject
matters such as the great industrial and social changes,
cultural revolutions, hunger revolts, wars, and political
and economic upheavals of the years that spanned more
than 100 years across two centuries.
founder of the photographic studios, Vicente Gomes
da Silva, initiated his photographic activity
in the middle of the 19th century when he started
to dabble with daguerreotype photographic experiments
in 1848. Four years later in 1852 he
began practise as a professional photographer. His
works are now seen adorned in many an office or hotel
room all over Madeira. The studios remain where they
had first been started: in the quaint and picturesque
open patio salon at the start of the Rua da Carreira
in central Funchal.
the Vicentes Photographic Studio is controlled
by the Regional Government of Madeira, who have
since restored it to the character of the old studio.
Besides the wide range of photographic equipment on
display - some of which were used by Vicente Gomes
da Silva, there are also approximately three hundred
and eighty thousand negatives and glass plates!
very wide range of photographs displayed include motifs
showing rural and urban landscapes, family or single
and multiple person portraits, important historic
events of Madeira, and any other item of interest
that suited the taste of the day. Some photographs
are shots taken in prepared and posed fashion, but
many others are pictures taken impromptu while on
There are some very impressive photographs of the
military apparel and of the now famous exotic costume
used in the gymnastics of days gone by...
The interesting array of photographs is a precious
reminder and recollection of what may have been forgotten
in Madeira's rich past. Such as the arrival of the
first water plane in Madeira, the holiday snaps of
Churchill, or George Bernard Shaw, or
the photos of the last few years of the life of the
last Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
is the oldest photographic museum of the Iberian
Peninsula and its stock of more than six hundred
thousand negatives, originating from various collections,
make it a unique and very special museum for the photographic
enthusiast. A definite must for all lovers of the
art of photography and for those who are simply fascinated
by history of days gone by.