House and Garden – Casa Garden – Former East India Company Headquarters
Casa Garden in Macau: the Historical Ancient House and Garden
First built in 1770, the Casa Garden was originally the villa of the wealthy
merchant Manuel Pereira who was a member of the Portuguese royal family. Periera was a consultant
of the royal court’s finance and one of the members of the Macau Insurance Company.
- 1770 – East India Comp.
- 1815 – Private Residence
- 1960 – Municipal Museum
- 1989 – Oriente Foundation
At a later period the Casa Garden was rented out to the Macao Branch of the English East
India Company as a residence for commercial directors, taipans and high-ranking British officers
stationed in China. The mansion was probably the most lavish villa ever built in Macao.
The Casa Garden was taken over by the Portuguese Government in 1885 and converted into the Camoesmuseum in the 1960s. The garden was redesigned and became a public park.
The Casa Garden
The garden infront of the mansion features a small pond and some statues.
Alongside the Casa Garden is the Camões Garden which was a popular retreat, and Chinnery painted
it many times, as he did the nearby Monte Fort and St.
Paul’s (his drawing of the church is one of the few showing it before the fire)…
The adjacent early-19th- century Protestant cemetery contains the graves of non-catholic residents,
sailors and visitors, plus a motley crew of opium traders, missionaries, and some of the crew of Commodore
Perry’s fleet that opened up Japan. George Chinnery’s tomb is one of the most elaborate. Also here
is the Morrison grave that he painted in 1838.
Casa Garden Colonial House
The Casa Garden is now the head office of the Orient
Foundation, a Macau cultural foundation, which bought the mansion from the government.
Built in an assymmetrical shape the building was originally a 2 storey building with five
arch windows. It was modified and today is a single storey mansion with a basement.
Painted in white the mansion’s ornamentations are highlighted in red colors. The arched windows and
shutters decorate the walls. A sweeping granite staircase leads to the entrance of the mansion. The
main hall is decorated in a southern European style.
The exterior walls of the Casa Garden hosue are painted white. The mansion has arched windows
and shutters, there is a marble balcony and stone steps and the main hall is splendidly decorated
with a southern European style.
Anyone who knows the paintings of George Chinnery will recognize many scenes in today’s old
town. In his days, this area was something like a British enclave, because the Casa Garden
was rented by British merchants, until the founding of Hong
Kong. Chinnery arrived in Macau in 1825. He stayed until his death in 1852 and became
the doyen of China Coast artists.
“A weed from Catholic Europe, it took root
Between some yellow mountains and a sea,
Its gay stone houses an exotic fruit,
A Portugal-cum-China oddity
Rococco images of saint and saviour
Promises its gamblers fortunes when they die.
Churches among brothels testify
That faith can pardon natural behaviour.
A town of such indulgence need not fear
Those mortal sins by which the strong are killed,
And limbs and government are torn to pieces.
Religious clocks will strike; the childish vices
Will safeguard the low virtues of the child,
And nothing can happen here.”
(‘Macao’, by W.H.Auden, 1938)