History

THE GRÉMIO LITERÁRIO was created in 1846 by royal charter of Queen D. Maria II, thus giving her support to the initiative of a prestigious group of writers, politicians and aristocrats of the Portuguese liberal world. Thirty years later the Grémio settled in its present facilities, the Loures Palace, in the Chiado quarter, the elegant centre of the intellectual and social Lisbon society, a characteristic building in the local romantic architecture, with decorated rooms, a rich library, restaurant and a precious garden dated 1844 overlooking the river Tagus and the Moorish castle. A certain literary and social activity, much in the manner of the fin de siècle and Belle Époque periods, with its cercle, fencing and chess players is remembered in the chronicles and novels of the famous writers of the time, namely Eça de Queirós. The first exhibition under the title Modern Art was held there in 1912. In the middle of the twentieth century a luxurious renovation of the interiors with improvements in the restaurant gave it a new impulse and glamour, hosting and promoting famous lecturers, such as Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (1969) and theatre seasons with the Comédie Française. The Centre for the Study of the XIX Century organized conferences and international meetings. More recently regular cultural seasons feature the presentation of writers, concerts and celebrations of a historical and cultural nature. The Medal of Honour of the City of Lisbon was awarded some years ago and, when commemorating its 150th anniversary and the Grémio Literário was confirmed as an “entity of public utility” and bestowed the degree of honorary member of the order of Santiago-da-Espada, thus recognizing its services as “one of the most ancient European associations”. Among its members, past and present, the Grémio boasts many heads of state and prime-ministers. In its international relations, almost one hundred clubs in diferent countries – in Europe, America and other continents – are covered by reciprocal hospitality agreements.