House of the Count of Arcos

House of the Count of Arcos

Salvador, Bahia, Brazil


The Count of Arcos set up house in the quiet neighbourhood of Garcia on the outskirts of the city’s urban area when he was appointed Governor of the Province of Bahia by King João VI. Described as “one of the best palaces of the colonial period”, the house was built on a large plot, set back from the street and slightly elevated. The date of 1781 is thought to indicate the completion of the house, which was occupied only in 1810 by the new governor, Dom Marcos de Noronha e Brito, the eighth Count of Arcos and the last viceroy of Brazil. In 1893, according to the tax records, the house belonged to Francisca Rosa Barreto Praguer. In 1938, the year in which the building was listed by IPHAN, it was purchased by the North American Presbyterian Mission, who used it for their Colégio 2 de Julho, a college that is still teaching in the same location. A typical late 18th-century, two-storey suburban house, it has a floor plan that is almost square and a hipped roof. According to Azevedo, this building marked the beginning of the transition from the traditional urban two-storey house to a new type of single-storey house, slightly elevated from the ground and with an integrated garden, which is accessed through a double outer staircase. Santos Simões describes the early 19th-century tiles, which probably came from the Fábrica do Rato, in Lisbon, giving particular reference to their marble-like features and the unusual theme of the female toilette.

Ana Maria Lacerda