João Coelho de Sampaio

Who is it?

João Coelho de Sampaio, an outstanding figure who created pieces of exceptional quality in the 18th century. It’s impossible to mention the incredible richness of Portuguese silver craft without mentioning this master.

João Coelho de Sampaio was born in Ruilhe, Braga, in 1719, and completed his silversmith examination in 1742. In 1768, he became silver assayer for the county of Porto. He passed away in 1784.

Throughout his life, he left an impressive legacy. The identity of his master is unknown, but from his technical and creative qualities, one can assume that he was taught by someone with great competence.


Over the years of his career, João Coelho de Sampaio maintained relations with several influential figures, receiving important commissions, namely for notable individuals and religious brotherhoods – such as the Venerable Third Order of St. Francis, the Brotherhood of the Poor Clerics, or the Brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament of St. Ildefonso.

He gradually gained high reputation as a talented master silversmith, who was skilled in the execution of religious objects, salvers, writing sets, tea and coffee sets, candlesticks, etc.

This prestige that João Coelho de Sampaio gained is the basis for his connection to the Brotherhood of St. Eloy of the Silversmiths, in which he performed roles as judge and treasurer.

Stylistically, the characteristic way this master silversmith interpreted Rococo stands out, firstly by influence of Habsburgian silver craft and later on by elongating the motifs he used (volutes, foliage, flowers, etc.), by influence of the architect Nicolau Nazoni, responsible among other works for the Clérigos Tower and who worked with the master João Coelho de Sampaio.

J. Baptista Selection

In the J.Baptista catalogue, you will find an exceptional selection of Portuguese silverware from the 18th century, among which an important set of six altar candlesticks created by the great master João Coelho de Sampaio, that belonged to the Venerable Third Order of St. Francis, which are in exhibition in our store.