Workshops – The art of the crafts

The specialised and creative work that takes place in the workshops is part of Portugal’s centuries-old cultural heritage, which, although slowly disappearing, the Foundation has been able to keep alive and pass on over the years.


From the selection and preparation of a wide variety of woods, to the shaping, making and careful finishing of the piece, the wooden workshops respond with mastery to all phases involved in creating a new piece of furniture or restoring an old one.

Serração, Marcenaria, Talha, Embutidos, Polimento, Empalhamento


Metalwork begins with the casting of brass and bronze and involves several phases and techniques before the final piece is achieved, in a huge variety of shapes and for a wide range of uses. Alongside the demanding work of metalworking and the refined skill of chiselling, tinwork makes use of ancestral techniques using traditional tools. And, as the crowning glory, some works are given an application of fine gold leaf, produced by the Gold-Beater – a trade that is unique in the world.

Fundição, Cinzelagem, Serralharia, Latoaria, Batedor de Ouro

Binding and Decoration of Books

In this workshop ‘from another time’, paper and books are given a exquisite treatment of rare beauty. From bindings in a variety of select silks and leathers, to the creation of sophisticated marbled paper and detailed decoration in fine gold, using the most artisanal methods and decorative motifs, books are treated here as works of art, bestowed with the distinctive mark of the artistic expertise of this Foundation.


Decorative Painting and Gilding

Pieces of painting and gilding to be incorporated into pieces of furniture, painted walls and roofs or other supports are created in this workshop, which does not just produce new works but also supports the Laboratory’s conservation and restoration work. The processes of gilding with fine burnished gold and silver-plating with fine silver are now rare art-forms with great significance in the context of knowledge of the Portuguese traditional arts.  

Pintura decorativa, Douramento

Passementerie, Textiles and Upholstery

The passementerie workshop produces all kinds of trimmings such as fringes, galloons, cords and tassels (among many others), made with threads of silk, fiocco, gold, silver, bronze, cotton, etc. The advantage of high quality passementerie pieces is that, in addition to their visual beauty, they provide an element of cohesion to a specific project, giving shape, structure and, often, depth to a room. The textile workshop, one of the oldest, employs great skill to create new Arraiolos rugs, using wool dyed the traditional way, as well as fulfilling another of the Foundation’s missions: that of conservation and restoration of other textiles, such as embroidery and oriental rugs – heritage pieces or owned by collectors.  

Passamanaria, Têxteis, Estofo

Drawing Studio

Alongside the workshops, as complementary to them, the drawing studio acts as a support for the production of new models as well as for the reproduction of existing ones. The drawing is carried out with great skill and on a real scale, both as a whole and in the decorative and constructional details, including fittings, inlays and carvings to highlight the relief of the ornaments. Done in pencil, the drawings are later digitised in order to be preserved and archived more easily.  

Conservation and Restoration Workshop

As a complement to the other workshops, the restoration department coordinates the rigorous work of the professionals of the Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva Foundation, carrying out interventions on national and international artistic heritage, whilst also devoting the same expertise to the recovery of private moveable heritage. The range of specialised techniques and new technologies allied with an in-depth knowledge of ancestral techniques make this department a national and international point of reference.

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