The daughter of the patron Count of Almedina

22 de March, 2024

Delfim Guedes, a great patron of the arts and vice-inspector of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Lisbon, received the noble title of Count of Almedina after organising the “Retrospective Exhibition of Portuguese and Spanish Ornamental Art”, a cultural event of unavoidable importance for Portugal in 1882.


Patron of Artur Loureiro, who portrayed him in 1876, Delfim Guedes paid for Silva Porto’s funeral at his own expense. He had also given him some of his artworks (in his lifetime), such as ‘Pequena fiandeira napolitana’ (Little Neapolitan spinner) and ‘Ao pôr do sol’ (At sunset).


His relationship with the authors represented at the Soares dos Reis National Museum also extends to the sculptor António Soares dos Reis, author of the sculpture ‘Filha dos Condes de Almedina’ (Daughter of the Counts of Almedina), a figure of a child with an almost angelic face.

The sculpture, in Carrara marble, represents the ‘Daughter of the Counts of Almedina’, Luísa Guimarães Guedes, whose parents owned the artwork, and is on display at the Soares dos Reis National Museum.


The sculpture was presented to Auguste Rodin (considered the father of modern sculpture) during his visit to Portugal, in one of the Duchess of Palmela’s Ateliers (the sculptor Maria Luíza Holstein), where Soares dos Reis occasionally worked during his stays in Lisbon. The quality of the masterpiece impressed and moved Rodin to the point where he kissed the Portuguese sculptor’s hands.


Dating from 1882, the evolution of this artwork is documented in drawings and models, revealing the sculptor’s involvement throughout the process. In this final sculpture, the complex elaboration of the modelling should be noted, especially in the hair, flowers and embroidery of the dress. In terms of composition, these are defining features of Soares dos Reis’ very own scheme: the sinuous pose with arms crossing at mid-body of the model, treated in repose, with a reserved expression.


Delfim Deodato Guedes (Santo Tirso, 18 November 1842 – Cascais, 26 September 1895) received the title of Count of Almedina from King Luís, and his daughter Luísa Guimarães Guedes was the 2nd Countess of Almedina. The title was awarded to Delfim Guedes in recognition of his support for the “Retrospective Exhibition of Portuguese and Spanish Ornamental Art”. The exhibition took place in the Alvor-Pombal Palace, also known as the Palácio das Janelas Verdes, and laid the foundations for the creation of the National Museum of Fine Arts, inaugurated 140 years ago (predecessor of the current National Museum of Ancient Art).