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  The Casa Museu Photografia Vicentes.  


The beautiful patio before the studio.

The 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.

The 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.

An example of one of the many photographs in the Vicente collectionToday 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!

The 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 field trips. The Vicentes Photographic Collections holds pictures of some of the more important events in the rich socail and historical fabric of Madeira. 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.

This 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.


More Info:

  • Opening Hours :
    Tuesdays to Fridays:
    open from 14H00 to 18H00
    Please note that further restoration work have been started such that the studios may be closed temporarily to the public.

    Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.

  • Contact:
    Casa Museu Photografia Vicentes
    Rua da Carreira, 43-1º
    9000 Funchal
    Tel: (+351 +91) 22 50 50
    Fax: (+351 +91) 23 27 14

  • Admission Fee :
    150$00 PTE (Portuguese Escudos)
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