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XIX century

By decree issued on 28 December 1833, the Monastery was secularised and handed over to the charitable institution, Real Casa Pia de Lisboa. The church became the parish church for the new parish of Belém. A considerable part of its valuable contents was lost.

From 1860 onwards remodelling work began on the Monastery, with the survey and design of its south façade by the architect Rafael Silva e Castro, which was copied in 1898 by Domingos Parente da Silva. The pond in the cloister was demolished, as were the tabique timber walls in the galleries and the Monastery's kitchen. At the same time, the architect J. Colson drew up three designs for the reconstruction of the Monastery that were not approved. Colson also introduced revivalist neo-Manueline elements.

In 1863 Valentim José Correia was appointed as architect for the works on the Monastery, working under the direct supervision of the Director of the Casa Pia, Eugénio de Almeida. Between 1863 and 1865 the upper floor of the former dormitory was reorganised and the windows were designed. Correia was then replaced by Samuel Barret, who built the towers at the west end of the former dormitories. Barret was in turn replaced as architect to the Monastery in 1867 by the Italian set designers at the Lisbon opera (Teatro de São Carlos), Rambois and Cinatti.

Between 1867 and 1878 this pair of designers completely overhauled the annex and church façade, giving the monument the aspect it has today. They demolished the narthex and the Kings' Room, built the towers at the east end of the dormitory, added the rose window in the upper choir and replaced the pyramidal roof on the bell tower with a mitred roof. The works suffered a setback in 1878 when the central part of the dormitory collapsed.

In 1884, the engineer Raymundo Valladas took over supervision of the renovation work and in 1886 he began restoring the Cloister and Chapter House, building the respective vaulted ceiling. In 1888, the latter received the tomb of Alexandre Herculano, which was designed by Eduardo Augusto da Silva.

With a view to marking the 4th centennial of the arrival of Vasco de Gama in India (1898) the decision was reached to complete the restoration work in 1894. The tombs of Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões, both created by the sculptor Costa Mota, were placed in the southern side chapel. The following year the Monastery received the remains of the poet João de Deus. It has since served as the resting place for other prominent literary and political figures: Almeida Garret (1902), Sidónio Pais (1918), Guerra Junqueiro (1923) and Teófilo Braga (1924).

The Ministry of Public Works launched a competition for the completion of the annex, which first served as the National Museum of Industry and Commerce. This museum became defunct in 1899 to be replaced, by decree of 20 November 1900, by the collections of the Portuguese Ethnological Museum.

 

 

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