D. João de Albuquerque’s Tomb and Effigy

Dada a extensão deste artigo, achei por bem publicar as versões inglesa e portuguesa em separado. Para a versão portuguesa, cliquem aqui.

I recently had the opportunity to visit D. João de Albuquerque’s tomb and effigy in the Municipal Museum of Aveiro, and I’d like to share with you all some of the pictures I took of this gorgeous monument, as well as some brief notes concerning the knight himself.

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D. João de Albuquerque’s tomb at the Museum of Aveiro.


D. João de Albuquerque, lord of Angeja, was a Portuguese nobleman, a “honourable Lord and valiant Knight” (“onrado Sõr E uallente Cavaleyro”, as his epitaph goes), who died in 1483. The inscription running along the edge of the tomb, dated from 1478, tells of his feats in Northern Africa – particularly in the Canary Islands, where he distinguished himself against the local inhabitants (as one does). Not much else is known about him until 1477, when he donated a farm to the monks of the Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy of Aveiro (currently the Cathedral of Aveiro) to be allowed to build a funerary chapel for himself and his wife, D.ª Helena Pereira. This donation was confirmed by João II in 1484 , in a document which attests to the knight’s death.

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Detail of D. João de Albuquerque’s arms, surrounded by Manueline vegetalist motifs. Along the top there are two sections of the epitaph.


The chapel was refurbished several times throughout the centuries. The tomb, which had been relegated to a corner of the chapel, neglected and severely mistreated, was moved to the Museum of Aveiro in 1945. 

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View of the effigy’s mid section. Notice the wavy edges decorating the couter’s secondary lames, the maille skirt emerging from underneath the fauld, and the tiny lames of the gauntlet’s fingers.

The tomb itself is made up of two parts: the effigy, made between 1477 and 1484, and the sarcophagus, made during the Manueline period (1495-1521). The difference in the level of detail and technical skill between the two parts is glaring. In spite of its dilapidation, and the sculptor’s lack of craftsmanship, the effigy remains an important research document for our period.

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Detail of the pauldrons, which decoratively paired with the rest of the effigy. Notice the double edge of the plackart and the maille standard worn on the outside of the harness.
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The poleyns and its secondary lames retain the ensemble’s wavy edges. The poleyn’s fanplates are peculiar and much too small – evidence of the mason’s limited abilities, perhaps?
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View of the knight’s gauntlets.
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The legs were shortened at a certain point in time. Note the repetition of the wavy pattern along the lames of the solerets.


Almeida, L. (1947). “Um Túmulo de Rara importância arqueológica da escola Coimbrã”, in Arquivo do Distrito de Aveiro, XIII. Aveiro: Arquivo do Distrito de Aveiro, pp. 124-128

Neves, F. (1938). “O Túmulo de João de Albuquerque em Aveiro”, in Arquivo do Distrito de Aveiro, IV (46). Aveiro: Arquivo do Distrito de Aveiro, pp. 101-107

Neves, F. (1946). “A trasladação do túmulo de João de Albuquerque”, in Arquivo do Distrito de Aveiro, XII (46). Aveiro: Arquivo do Distrito de Aveiro, pp. 99-112

Pereira, A. (2017). “Dois «Retratos» na Aveiro Quatrocentista: O Túmulo De João De Albuquerque, Senhor De Angeja, e o Retrato da Princesa Joana”, in Aveiro e a Expansão Marítima Portuguesa, 1400-1800. Aveiro: Câmara Municipal de Aveiro e Âncora Editora


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