The ceramic collection of the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis is one of the Museum’s largest in terms of the number of pieces and especially important with regard to faience produced in Portugal.
As with the other collections, part belongs to the Museum in its own right while the rest is on deposit from the former Municipal Museum. Both have very similar types of pieces; Portuguese faience from between the 17th and 20th century dominate in both, although there are also some better developed groups in other sectors, such as the oriental porcelain or Delftware.
National faience from the 17th century is well represented by a group of pieces that exemplify the evolution that took place throughout the century, beginning with the oldest known piece, a goblet dating from 1621. However the core collection comprises national faience, starting from the period of the Marquês de Pombal and extending to pieces manufactured between the 18th and 20th centuries in the various production centres around the country. Naturally, pride of place goes to those produced in the North, above all Viana do Castelo, Porto and Gaia. Among specimens from other regions of the country certain prominence goes to a little known group attributed to Aveiro.
Despite their relatively small number, foreign faience in the collection includes two small sets of very interesting pieces, worth mentioning. One of them is composed of eight plates of metallic lustreware dating from the 16th to 18th century, three of which constitute the initial nucleus of the ceramic collection of the Municipal Museum to which they belonged. The other is Delftware, formed by pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The great majority of the porcelain is constituted by Chinese pieces from various epochs, ranging from the Jiajing period in the 16th century to the 19th. Special attention goes to the dinner service displaying the coat of arms of the Bishop of Porto, D. António de S. José de Castro, to whom it belonged.