Ceramics Museum of Sacavém

Lisbon, Portugal

Ceramics Museum of Sacavém

The Ceramics Museum of Sacavém (Portuguese: Museu de Cerâmica de Sacavém) is situated in the town of Sacavém in the municipality of Loures, just northeast of Lisbon in Portugal. The museum was opened in July 2000 and was constructed on the grounds of a former ceramics factory. Most of the exhibits reflect the output of that factory and its documentation centre is devoted to the study of the history and production of the factory and the industrial heritage of the municipality. In 2002 the museum was awarded the Luigi Micheletti Prize in the Industrial Heritage category.

The Fábrica da Loiça (the Crockery Factory), established by Manuel Joaquim Afonso, began work in 1856. In the few years that he owned the factory, Afonso faced financial problems and between 1861 and 1863 he sold it to an Englishman, John Stott Howorth. With the new techniques that Howorth was able to introduce from the United Kingdom, the factory expanded rapidly, producing earthenware based on kaolin. Its success led King Luís I to confer the title of Baron de Howorth de Sacavém on the owner and to give the factory the title of Royal Factory. In the last years of his life, King-consort Fernando II painted several ceramic pieces in the factory and became good friends with Howorth. After Howorth’s death in 1893, his wife, the Baroness Howorth of Sacavém, went into partnership with James Gilman, who administered it until her death in 1909, when he took over the company. Investments continued to be made in the factory which, at its peak, covered 70,000 square metres and became one of the main industrial units of the eastern industrial belt of Lisbon.

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