Pedro Da Costa Felgueiras

Pedro da Costa Felgueiras is a historic paint and lacquer expert based in London. He established his practice Lacquer Studios in 1995; specialising in Oriental & European lacquer as well as historic paint techniques. Having built his reputation restoring objects for museums, historic properties and private clients, more recently Pedro has turned his attention to creating artworks and furniture showcasing his heritage and the materials, methods and centuries-old traditions of paint craftsmen.

Historic Paint Specialist

Pedro da Costa Felgueiras

South East England

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THE PROCESS

Pedro’s research focuses on texts from the past, collecting rare pigments and reviving lost methods of paint application. With this wealth of knowledge and painstaking dedication, he uses labour-intensive techniques to produce pieces of beauty and integrity. Each layer is slowly applied over time to produce a deep gloss and achieve intense, vividly-hued, colours.

Q&A

1. What motivates you to make?

Growing up in Lisbon I was always fascinated by its architecture and its old historic dwellings were a great source of early inspiration. My mother used to work in the original 18th century Custom and Excise building and would often take me to work with her. My playground became the grand interiors and stone staircases of this magnificent building. Seeing the quality of its craftsmanship and use of noble materials such as stone, metal, wood, original paint and gilded surfaces, instigated the maker in me. I try to recreate these feelings from my early life, and am inspired to work with raw materials to evoke and share similar sensations.

Another great motivator for me is the desire to change environments; to feel the materials and to work collaboratively. I find great joy in making something with my own hands, manipulating natural resources through hard toil, and seeing an object transform into something beautiful with meaning.

2. What and/or who are you most inspired or influenced by?

There are various modern or more traditional art practitioners and movements that have influenced my craft over the years and I attempt to create work inspired by art that transcends time. I draw inspiration from 18th century crafts and the drift from religion to humanism. Traditional Japanese arts and crafts are also of great interest and I study old manuals in order to use techniques of the past to create more authentic and noble pieces. Moreover, my work ethos is mainly influenced by the idea that you should not seek to wield maximum profit above all, but to craft unique individual pieces. I believe you can see this influence in my work in the use of colour and materials and the confident, hopeful and humorous combination of the two.

3. What is your unique approach to your craft, and how have you honed your skills?

Through my work I endeavor to leave a better world behind and objects that might inspire future generations. My approach to craft is shaped by my mindset.

While most people who use colour in their creations buy ready-made, I choose the 18th century route. Back then you had to buy the raw materials and apply a lot of skill in order to achieve a quality hue and a satisfactory finish. Using traditional techniques requires a lot of hard work, but that does not deter me. I rather enjoy the challenge and the opportunity.

I have honed my skills by trial, error and perseverance. In fact, I ended up specialising in lacquer and paint finishes because my experimental panels went ‘wrong’ when I was being taught these two subjects, so I took myself home and worked on my own until I discovered what had happened. In the process, I caught the bug for making and realised I had uncovered something I was quite good at.

4. What is your defining or proudest moment as a maker so far?

There have been a few projects that I feel greatly honored to have worked on. For one, my cork vessel series, where I apply decorative techniques learnt from the great country houses of Britain and turn these simple, natural, objects into jewel-like shimmering pieces. The restoration of the Dragons at the Great Pagoda of Kew was certainly a memorable one. And I was commissioned to re-install the missing decorative paint finishes at Strawberry Hill House, originally fashioned by Horace Walpole. From small fragments found and analyzed under microscope, I recreated traditional paint recipes using only materials available in the late 1700’s. In a way, I ended up getting to know the mind behind the initial concept through the use of materials he had selected to create its final finishes.

5. What is your dream project?

My dream project is to create a gigantic grotto composed of a thousand cork vessels in the style of Chinese scholar rocks called Gongshi. While on a smaller scale, I would like to create a gilded and painted cork wall, sort of like an exploded Cork Vessel. But ultimately, I would like to develop my 80 hectares of land in Portugal into a thriving studio, where nature and craft blend together. This would be a center for craft and well-being, set in a natural paradise.

To be kept informed about new collections from Pedro da Costa Felgueiras, please email [email protected]

ALL PRODUCTS

 

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11 Products found

  1. The Wellington (2021) by Pedro Da Costa Felgueiras
    The Wellington (2021)
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  2. Lua (2021) by Pedro Da Costa Felgueiras
    Lua (2021)
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  3. King's Yellow Vessel II
    King's Yellow Vessel II
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  4. King's Yellow Cork Vessel
    King's Yellow Cork Vessel
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    11 Products found

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11 Products found