Henrique Teixeira de Sampaio, Barao de Teixeira and 1st Conde de Póvoa (1774-1833)
Sampaio was born in the town of Angra on the island of Terceira in the Portuguese administered Azores. He was the son of Francisco José Teixeira de Sampaio and his second wife Eulália Floriana Gualberta de Melo Carvão, his father being a successful business man and his mother connected to some of the greatest families of the region. He was born in the family home and was christened on 16 November 1774, with Henrique José de Carvalho e Melo, Conde de Oeiras acting as his Godfather. His father already had established trade links with England, supplying the Portuguese army with food, and so it was not surprising that the young Sampaio was sent there to study. While in London he began his own business career, following in his father's footsteps, being appointed in 1807 as Commissioner of Army Supplies for the Anglo-Portuguese forces who were seeking to prevent Napoleon's invasion of Portugal.
This position, as well as the exclusive contract for the supply of tobacco, allowed him to establish a huge fortune very quickly, to the extent that he was said to be among the richest men in Portugal, worth some 21,000,000 cruzados on his death in 1833. With this wealth, and the loans he made to the state with it, came social and political prominence, particularly in his influence on Portuguese fiscal policy. His position and importance to Portuguese society was commemorated on 22 May 1816 when the title 1st Lord de Sampaio was conferred upon him by King John VI in Rio de Janeiro. Soon after, on 6 March 1819, he was made, by Royal Charter, 1st Barao de Teixeira and was granted the right to bear arms.
While his business interests continued to thrive in the 1820s, making Sampaio's trading house the largest in Portugal and a rival to other firms in London and Hamburg, the finances of the Portuguese state were in a perilous condition. The further loans Sampaio made to the state resulted in him becoming the biggest creditor to the Treasury, and so when the Bank of Lisbon was founded in 1822, he became the biggest shareholder with some 400 shares, compared to only 100 shares owned by the next largest shareholder. In honour of this he was created 1st Conde de Póvoa on 3 July 1823, named after his estate in Póvoa de Santo Adrião, near Lisbon.
Sampaio married twice, first in February 1802 to Marianne Slack, the daughter of an ex-patriot Irish merchant who was living in Lisbon. She died, along with her child, in childbirth in October 1804 and Sampaio was to remain childless and unmarried until March 1824 when he was married to his second wife Louisa Maria José Rita Baltazar de Noronha, who was only 21 and already expecting a child at the time of the marriage. In order to protect his assets for his child he arranged for a trust to be set up by Royal decree. Unfortunately, the first child, born some five months after their marriage, died soon after birth. It was not until 1826 that the couple had a son called João Maria de Noronha Sampaio and a daughter named Marie Louise de Noronha Sampaio the next year.
Henrique Teixeira de Sampaio died at his home of Rua da Escola Politécnica, in Lisbon, on 27 March 1833, aged 59 years. His son João Maria de Noronha become 2nd Conde de Póvoa and inherited the family fortune, aged only 6. The 2nd Conde died soon after, in 1837 at which time the titles became extinct and the fortune passed to his sister Marie Louise de Noronha Sampaio who went on to marry, against the wishes of her mother, Domingos António Pedro de Sousa Holstein, the future 2nd Duke of Palmela.
Sampaio and Paul Storr
The Conde de Póvoa was a significant patron of Paul Storr in the 1820s, reflecting not only his ties with England, but also the strong political and trade ties between England and Portugal in the 19th century. The service, which must feature as one of the great services that Storr produced following his departure from Rundell, Bridge and Rundell in 1819, at which time he established a shop in New Bond Street with John Mortimer. The service descended at Casa Palmela, Lisbon, the family home of the Dukes of Palmela, until April 1976 when a significant portion of the major pieces were sold by Christie's at auction in Geneva.
As with most of the examples here, the pieces sold in the 1976 sale were all marked for Paul Storr, dated either 1822 or 1823. Divided into 8 lots the service weighed just under 6,000 ounces, giving some idea of the outstanding quality of the pieces. They were:
A table garniture consisting of an eight-light candelabrum, a pair of four candelabra-centrepieces and a plateau
The pair of four candelabra-centrepieces subsequently sold from the collection of Mr and Mrs Claus von Bulow; Sotheby's, New York, 28 October 1988, lot 218.
The eight-light candelabrum now in the collection of the Preservation Society of Newport County.
A pair of four-light candelabra
Subsequently sold Christie's, New York, 19 April 2002, lot 348 (with the following).
A set of four three-light candelabra
Subsequently sold Christie's, New York, 19 April 2002, lot 348 (with the preceding).
A pair of Warwick vases
A pair of soup-tureens and stands
Subsequently sold from the collection of Mr and Mrs Claus von Bulow; Sotheby's, New York, 28 October 1988, lot 219.
A further pair of soup-tureens
Subsequently sold from The Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman; Christie's, New York, 20 October 1999, lot 206.
A set of four wine-coolers
A further pair of wine-coolers
A set of eight salt-cellars
Subsequently exhibited Christie's, London, The Glory of the Goldsmith, Magnificent Gold and Silver from the Al-Tajir Collection, no. 151.