|Portalegre Carpet Manufacturing was set up in 1946, taking over the former College of São Sebastião, a Jesuit convent transformed into the Royal Wools Factory in 1772. After the fortunate chance meeting in Portalegre of Manuel Celestino Peixeiro and Guy Fino, they set up the "Tapetes de Portalegre (Portalegre Carpets)" in 1946. The initial objective was to revitalise the knot point carpet industry that was on the verge of extinction in 20s Portalegre.
Although not financially promising, it gained a new lease of life when the Manuel Celestino Peixeiro´s father, Manuel do Carmo Peixeiro, presented Guy Fino with a new knot point that he had perfected after having studied the technique in France. That led to the founding of the carpet manufacturer Tapeçaria de Portalegre. After an initial test phase, in co-operation with painters Guilherme Camarinha, designer of the first cards, Renato Torres and João Tavares, the carpets were displayed at various national art exhibitions attracting both interest and curiosity. International recognition came in 1952, after an exhibition of French weaving at the National Museum of Ancient Art (in Lisbon) and contact with the French artist Lurçat. Henceforth, the Portuguese state backed this art form with orders for public buildings generating interest among both national and international artists.
Among various highpoints in the history of Tapeçarias de Portalegre, there have been the Brussels Universal Exhibition (1958), the Gold Medal from the State of Baveria (1959), regular attendance at the bi-annual Lausanne Carpet (1961-1971) and Europalia, held in Belgium in 1991. Currently, the factory is run by Vera Fino, daughter of Guy Fino, and has acquainted national and international notoriety. In Lisbon you can visit the "Galeria de Tapeçarias de Portalegre" on the Rua da Academia das Ciências, where you can admire, purchase and order knot point carpets.