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Natália Marinho Ferreira Alves

(b Braga, Dec 18, 1731; d Tibães, Aug 30, 1808).

Portuguese designer, wood-carver, sculptor and architect.

His godfather, the Reverend Constantino da Cunha Soto Maior (d 1757), was treasurer of the Cathedral of Braga, and one of his brothers, João de Araújo Ferreira Vilaça (b 1720), was clerk to the Vicar General of Vila Real in Trás-os-Montes. Frei José’s early training was with his father, Custódio Ferreira, a skilled carpenter. In November 1754 Frei José signed his first contract to carve the retable of the high altar of the church of the convent of S Clara, Amarante. From 1757 he worked at Tibães, near Braga, the headquarters of the Benedictine Order in Portugal, where, with José de Álvares de Araújo, he collaborated on carving the magnificent talha (carved and gilded wood) designed for the church of S Martinho by André Ribeiro Soares da Silva. The work began with the high altar, for which Frei José carved the statues of SS Martinho, Bento and Escolástica, and the whole scheme, one of the finest in Portugal, was subsequently completed in ...