The 18th century tower of the Museum of Sacred Art of Funchal is now open to visits.
The tower was recuperated as part of a project that involved the restoration of a panel of 18th century tiles. Visiting the tower requires the purchase of a specific ticket which includes access to the two rooms where temporary exhibitions are housed.
The tile panel on the balcony is illustrative of what was produced in the workshops of Lisbon in the second quarter of the 18th century. It depicts the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity.
The watch tower is a typical component in the architecture of the small 18th century urban palaces of Madeira. Initially, it was a means of observing the ships coming in and out of the bay of Funchal and would usually have a monocular for this purpose.
Drawing inspiration from this, the tower of the building where the Museum of Sacred is housed was built as a space from where the bishops who thence lived could watch the seascape until the beginning of 20th century.
The tower was raised as part of the new building in 1750, after an earthquake had hit Funchal two years prior.