The House


Since 1858 our atelier has played a decisive and aggregating role in the artistic life of the city of Oporto and of the entire north of Portugal.

Frequently visited by renowned artists, we have several frame models designed by them for their work. Among the most important artists are Marques de Oliveira, António Carneiro, Henrique Medina, Fernando Lanhas and Noronha da Costa.

The knowledge of the techniques of manufacture of picture frames and restoration of art works has passed from master to apprentice since our foundation so that today you can enjoy products attested by the time.

We are currently the oldest picture frame shop in the world.


José dos Santos, a student at Porto Academy of Fine Arts, did not have any shop in the city of Porto where he could order the frames for his pieces. He therefore began to manufacture his own models, inspired by French, English and Dutch frames that were produced at the time. His artistry and ingenuity were quickly acclaimed and admired by his fellow artists.

The orders easily arrived and our founder José dos Santos decided to join with his brother, António dos Santos, and founded the first picture framing atelier in Porto and north of Portugal.


Our house participated in the Exposition Universelle in Paris, and won the bronze medal “for the quality of the presented picture frames”


José dos Santos, responsible for the foundation of our house died, and is followed four years later by his brother.


Palácio da Bolsa was inaugurated, whose gilded details with gold leaf inside were made by our atelier (where the Arab Room stands out). Of course, the frames that can still be seen today in this iconic building in Porto were also manufactured by our workshop for the occasion.


The Passos do Concelho building was inaugurated, future premises of the Porto City Council, whose gold leaf details of the Salão Nobre and the Salão dos Passos Perdidos were also executed by our artisans.


Our house received the Gold Medal on the occasion of its participation in the Portuguese Industrial Exposition held at the original Crystal Palace.


The sculpture by Henrique Moreira, Abundância, located on Avenida dos Aliados was inaugurated, having been fully gilded by the workers of our house. Today it is still possible to see what remains of this work, although it has been largely erased by time.


Our atelier is awarded with the Diploma of Honor for its participation in the Great Exhibition of Northern Portugal


The São Vicente de Fora panel was discovered in the Paço Patriarcal with the same name and presented to the public for the first time. For the occasion, a wooden frame with gold leaf finish is ordered to our atelier. The original frame remained with the art piece until the end of the 20th century when it was replaced by another during a restoration process.


The Soares dos Reis National Museum was inaugurated, with the frames done by our atelier. This work is still on display at the classical painting room.


The house Santos & Irmãos Lda completed 100 years of existence and, to mark the date, organized an art exhibition by the great masters of Portuguese painting in the extinct Salão Silva Porto, disseminated in the media of the time. At the same year, a small book entitled “Santos & Irmãos – 100 Years of Industrial Activity” was also published, in which it is possible to review several testimonies of distinguished customers of the house, which include Henrique Medina, Júlio Resende, Eduarda Lapa, Dórdio Gomes and Cláudio Carneyro, among others.


The house participated in Expo '98, providing several panels for the Portugal Pavilion.


Santos & Irmãos Lda was distinguished as a “Porto de Tradição” establishment with a unanimous vote by the Porto Municipal Assembly, due to the importance it had, and still has, in the artistic life of the city.


The requalification work of the original Santos & Irmãos building, located in Travessa de Liceiras, was completed. In the same year, Santos & Irmãos Lda started a rebranding process, together with the Antero Ferreira Design office. This rebrand won an Honorable Mention for Communication Design and the 2nd Prize for Design AND, by the National Association of Designers.