The Casa Museu Fernando de Castro is housed in the former residence of Fernando de Castro, (1889-1946), merchant, poet, caricaturist and above all collector.
Although he inherited a partnership from his father in a commercial firm, with offices and shop in rua das Flores, Porto, he took little pleasure in conducting the affairs of the business to which he was naturally destined. Instead, he mainly occupied his time spent in the office drawing and writing, leaving us a significant number of cartoons, humorous drawings and some published works in verse and prose, as well as a manuscript.
It can be said that the great part of the life was dedicated to collect the pieces with which he decorated his own home, with the objective of turning it into a museum. Although there is no apparent logical approach in its arrangement, we can find a very interesting group of works here: paintings from the 17th to 20th century, with prominence to the naturalistic painting of the 19th and 20th centuries, sculpture, almost exclusively of a religious nature, from the 16th to the 19th century, some pieces of ceramic, glass and toreutic. However, there is, above all, a considerable amount of wood carving from churches and monasteries with which he practically covered the whole interior of his house. In many cases it is the carving that serves as the backdrop or support for the display of the objects, creating a completely unexpected environment in this house, devoid of empty spaces, whose originality cannot fail to surprise us.
The exterior of the house does not raise the least suspicion as to the environment that its owner had bestowed on the interior. When we enter, however, we understand why, even in his own time, it was considered by many as an “authentic museum.” According to the testimony of his contemporaries, Fernando de Castro always had the objective of heritage preservation in acquiring and collecting pieces. Apart from the satisfaction in safeguarding them, he must also have felt enormous pleasure in creating a setting for them, in which carving played a main role.
Since Fernando de Castro died without leaving a Will, his sister, Maria da Luz Araújo e Castro, great admirer of her brother's work, executed his wish to donate all of his vast collection to the State, under the designation of Casa Museu Fernando de Castro, which, since its foundation in 1952, has administratively depended on the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis.