The story of a hat-maker
December 27, 2011
Originally from the Quinta do Chapeleiro (Hat-maker’s Estate) in Loures, this set narrates the life of hat-maker António Joaquim Carneiro and is a dynamic record of contemporary characters and situations that was created without using any engraved iconographic source.
Each scene is set in an oval medallion framed by a flower frieze and with a banner bearing a description of the scene. The medallion stands out against a white background that has a composition of branches and birds, and is flanked by two flower-baskets. The seven panels tell the story of a poor country boy who left for his uncle’s workshop in Lisbon to learn how to make hats. He then set up his own business in Lisbon, married a widow who already had several children and built his own factory and home.
Commissioned by Carneiro and later brought from his house, these panels demonstrate a novel feature in the iconography of Portuguese tiling through their portrayal of contemporary situations. In this case, the work records the economic and social rise of a country boy who became a rich member of the bourgeoisie, the emerging class with the economic power to commission tile-works throughout the 19th century.