150 years since António Soares dos Reis’ first studio

18 de September, 2023

In 1873, António Soares dos Reis moved into what would become his first studio. Located in Rua das Malmerendas, now Rua D. Alves Veiga, in Porto, he remained there until 1875, when he moved to his studio in Rua Luís de Camões, in Vila Nova de Gaia.


Considered one of the greatest Portuguese sculptors of the 19th century, António Manuel Soares dos Reis was born on 14 October 1847 in the parish of S. Cristóvão de Mafamude, Vila Nova de Gaia.


He was the son of Manuel Soares Júnior, who owned a retail grocery shop, and his wife Rita do Nascimento de Jesus.

At the age of 20, António Soares dos Reis was awarded a state scholarship abroad. In 1867 he left for Paris, where he attended the studio of M. Jouffroy and the École Imperiale et Speciale des Beaux Arts.


“At the end of his boarding school period, he returned to Portugal, arriving in Vila Nova de Gaia in the first days of September 1872. It was at this time that Soares dos Reis presented The Exiled (O Desterrado) as documentary proof of the success of his studies, in order to justify his stay abroad under the scholarship. That same year, on 23 December, he was named Academician of Merit by the Porto Academy.


In 1873, he set up his first studio at no. 99 Rua das Malmerendas. 99 Rua das Malmerendas, now Rua Dr Alves Veiga. (…) And so two years passed before the commission for two marble busts, of the Viscount of Tamandaré and the Marquis of Herval, opened up new horizons for him.


He remained in this first studio until 1875, where he also produced some of his first important works: Black Man Head (Cabeça de Negro), Missing (Saudade), The Artist in Childhood (O Artista na Infância) (in honour of Grão Vasco) and a commission for a Nossa Senhora da Vitória (which was not well received by the Church).


When his work began to show signs of improvement, the sculptor Soares dos Reis began working on a project that he had been harbouring for a long time, to have a house built closer to his parents that would also serve as a studio. In 1876, he received approval from the city council for the design of the studio-house that was eventually built at number 33 Rua Luís de Camões in Vila Nova de Gaia.”[1].



[1] Master’s dissertation in Regional and Local History, specialising in History and Heritage Management, submitted to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon in 2011 by Sónia Queiroga.