Among Lisbon’ silversmiths which accompanied the transition of the century, the name of António Firmo da Costa stands out. Active between 1793 and 1824, his work reveals in quality and number the path of a master pioneer author of pieces of undeniable originality.
He started in the art of silversmithing when he was 12 years old. After 5 years as an apprentice and after having taken an official exam in 1790, he opens a store in Lisbon in 1793.
Representative of the Neoclassic
With only twenty-two years old, António Firmo da Costa became a master because he was an expert in the art of silversmithing. He was a master of modern and original ornaments, a specialist in day-to-day objects of innovative forms, always giving relevance to form and function. He is considered by all a remarkable and fruitful representative of the neoclassic style who worked in a simple and serene line of the classicism.
His body of work is represented in several museums, namely, M.N.A.A., M.N.S.R., Fundação Ricardo Espírito Santo, Casa Museu Medeiros and Almeida, Casa Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves, etc., etc.
Were his clients and prominent collectors;
– The royal court, the aristocracy, the church and the bourgeoisie.
One of his most important admirers and collectors in the 20th century was Francisco Barros e Sá.
One should not forget to mention his great master and friend Francisco Manuel De Paula Castilho with whom he started learning his craft.
A successful silversmith
He was a successful silversmith! Proven by the appreciation he had at the time, not only by the variety of his clients but also due to the dimension of his workshop with various officials and apprentices which allowed him to have three stores in Rua da Prata. The unique path he took over thirty-one years in activity, reflects his amazing evolution in the context of the times during which his art was Light.
The unique journey of this silversmith over thirty-one years of active production, reflects his evolution in the context of the time.
An example of the reputation of his work is the tea and coffee service, executed by António Firmo da Costa, which was offered to Napoleão Bonaparte when he was in Funchal on his way to exile on the distant island of Santa Helena, in 1815. Presently in the prestigious collection of the Casa Museu Medeiros e Almeida