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Photographia - Museum
Museums » Madeira Photography Museum - Atelier Vicente’s
Useful Information
Institution in charge:
Department of Culture

Rua da Carreira, 43 - Funchal
9001–904 Funchal
(351)291 225 050
(351)291 228 724
Official Website:

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm


The museum is loacted in the heart of the city. No need for specific transports.
   Photographia-Museu Vicentes
1º Carro na Madeira de Mr. Foster (1904)

The Museum “Photographia Vicentes” is placed in the old “studio” of Vicente Gomes da Silva, at “Rua da Carreira”.

Vicente Gomes da Silva starts his professional activity as an engraver, in 1848 at “Praça de São João”.

On the 27th of April 1853, Vicente Gomes da Silva (1827-1906) is awarded with the title of “Engraver of Her Majesty the Empress of Brazil”, Duchess of Bragança, and widow of D. Pedro IV, King of Portugal and first Emperor of Brazil.

In 1856, he begins the “art of photographing”, on his private residence at “Rua de João Tavira”, later on moving to “Rua da Ponte Nova”.

In 1860, the Empress Elisabeth of Áustria (1837–1898), “Sissi”, visits Madeira Island, for the first time, and is photographed by Vicente Gomes da Silva, who was, in 1866, awarded with the title of “Photographe de Sa Majesté l’Imperatrice d’Austriche”.

On the 27th of May 1865, Vicente Gomes da Silva acquires the building at Rua dos Pintos, now called Rua da Carreira. There he settles residence and builds in the gardens of the house his photographic atelier.

Alongside with photography, Vicente Gomes da Silva develops other activities as engraving, bookbinding, carving, typography, and melting.

Between December 1886 and August 1887, Vicente Gomes da Silva and his son Vicente, design and enlarge the old atelier. The building remained until today, and it is where the Museum is now placed.

In 1901, the Kings of Portugal, D. Carlos de Bragança (1863-1908) and the Queen D. Amélia (1865-1951), visit the Madeira Island, being photographed by Vicente Gomes da Silva, Junior, who later is awarded with the title of “Photographo da Casa Real Portuguesa” (Photographer of The Portuguese Royal House), as Royal letter dated 1903.

Throughout the years, it would pass through this atelier the four generations of Photographers of the “Vicentes” family.

• Vicente Gomes da Silva, Senior, b. 1827 – d. 1906
Practiced his commercial activity between 1848 and 1906

• Vicente Gomes da Silva, Junior, b. 1857 – d. 1933
Practiced his commercial activity between 1875 and 1933

• Vicente Ângelo Gomes da Silva, b. 1881 – d. 1954
Practiced his commercial activity between 1918 and 1954

• Vicente Bettencourt Gomes da Silva, b. 1902 – d. 1960
Practiced his commercial activity between 1920 and 1960

• Jorge Bettencourt Gomes da Silva, b. 1913 - d. 2008
Practiced his commercial activity between 1933 and 1979

In 1972, the assets of Photographia Vicente are sold to a private entity.
On the 13th of June 1979, Madeira’s Regional Government acquires all the contents of the “studio vicente”, which includes, studio sceneries, cameras, atelier furniture, and 400 thousand negatives, mostly in “glass plates”, well catalogued in 47 books, dated between 1884 and 1978, and where it was registered all the work done by the Four Generations of the Vicentes.

On the 22nd of March 1982 the “studio Vicente” opens its doors as a Museum, with the designation of – ”Photographia – Museu Vicentes”.

The building housing the “Photographia - Museu Vicentes" was classified as an heritage of "regional cultural value" by Resolution No. 78/91 of January 24, with conversion done by Ordinance No. 34/2004 of 1 March , as a "building of public interest."


Since the opening to the public, in March 1982, the “Photographia – Museu Vicentes” has been receiving donations, such as cameras, old photographic albums, frames with photos, books and catalogues of photographic material, film coils with documentaries for Cinema, which are being integrated in the Museums assets.

Actually, the museum possesses about 800 thousand negatives, provenient not only from the Vicente’s collection, but also from other professional and amateur photographers: João António Bianchi (Viscount Vale Paraíso) (1862–1928); Major Charles Courtnay Shaw (1878–1971); Gino Romoli (1906–1982); Aluízio César Bettencourt (1838-?) or João Francisco Camacho (1833-1898)(in study the authorship of the images); Perestrellos Photographos; Augusto João Soares; Francisco João Barreto (?-1934); Álvaro Crawford Nascimento Figueira (1885–1967); Alexander Lamont Henderson (1838–1907); Joaquim Augusto de Sousa (1853–1905); João Anacleto Rodrigues (1869–1948); Foto Figueiras; Foto Arte; Foto Joaquim Figueira; Russel Manners Gordon (3rd Viscount and 1st Count of Torre Bela) (1829–1906); Artur Campos; Carlos Fotógrafo; Alberto Camacho Brandão (1884–1945); Foto Sol (de 1951 a 1980).

In 2000, the audiovisual material of the Regional Direction of Tourism/ Regional General Office of Tourism and Transportation, was deposited in the Museum, this collection includes films – documentaries – by: Helder Mendes, João Pestana, António de Sousa, Luís Cabrita, among each others.

Currently the collection of Photographia - Museu "Vicentes" includes Photography and Film.

The Photographia - Museum "Vicentes" has no educational services, but school conducts guided tours by appointment.

The museum has a small shop.


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Contents: DRC - Department of Culture

Regional Secretariat for Tourism and Culture / Department of Culture