The Shock of the Old and the New
It’s the Van Loon Museum of Lisbon: historic interiors with contemporary interventions. A strictly guarded circuit ensures visitors view all three floors, six centuries, 27 galleries and 2,000 objects in a mannerly fashion. “To the left!” “Up the stairs!” Turn right!” “Down the corridor!” Like another of its cultural continental cousins, the Baccarat Museum, the Medeiros e Almeida House Museum fills a Parisian (style) townhouse. Originally built for a lawyer in 1896, the house was bought by António Medeiros e Almeida 47 years later.
Successful businessman António and his wife Margarida emerged in the mid 20th century as great European collectors. On a quest for beauty, the glamorous pair filled their home with fine and decorative works of art. Following Margarida’s death in 1970, and with no children, he established a foundation to keep the eclectic collection intact. António added an extension covering the garden to accommodate yet more art. He died aged 90 in 1986 and at the turn of the 21st century his wish came true. The Medeiros e Almeida House Museum was opened to the public.
A glass fronted café spills out onto a courtyard between the old and new wings: a leafy oasis in the business district of Barata Salgueiro. Perfect for whiling away the daylight hours over a frothy coffee (€1.50) and savoury twiglets (grátis). Post tour, of course. A magnet on the café’s fridge door spells ‘Food with Art’. Always back a winning formula.