17th Century Room
This space seeks to recreate the decorative ambience of a bedroom in the style of the second half of the seventeenth century, marked by pieces of furniture in exquisitely turned pau-santo, typical of the Portuguese Baroque. The two beds (one a canopy bed) are notable for the abundance of turned elements decorating the headboards, with small pieces fixed vertically at top and bottom known as ‘bilros’ (bobbins) as they were similar to those used in lacemaking in the north of the country. The density of decoration almost obscures the cross of Christ that is carved on both headboards, a religious symbol frequently seen in beds from this period. An unusual cradle adopts the same decorative grammar, with a mechanism that allows it to be rocked. To the right, an Indo-Portuguese cabinet-on-stand with inlaid geometric decoration and legs featuring Hindu divinities demonstrates the appeal of the exoticism of furniture arriving from the east at that time. The Arraiolos Rug, of eastern influence, embroidered in wool with small stitches on linen, is characteristic of 17th-century rugs. This is thought to have been the very first piece acquired by Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva, while he was still a teenager.