He first studied at the Portuense Academy of Fine Arts, where he graduated in sculpture in 1867. He studied at the Fine Arts Imperial School of Paris, from 1867 to 1870, where he achieved several prizes, and in Rome (1871–1872). It was there that he executed his finest work, in Carrara marble, the acclaimed "O Desterrado" ("The Exiled"), a touching image of neoclassical, romantic and realist resemblances, that is the masterpiece of Portuguese sculpture.
After returning to Portugal, he returned to Porto, where he taught at the Portuense Academy of Fine Arts.
Misunderstood and little credited in life, he committed suicide, aged only 41. He is considered, by far, one of the leading names in Portuguese realistsculpture.
The finest collection of his pieces is shown in a room dedicated to him at the National Museum Soares dos Reis, in Porto, including "O Desterrado" and the touching and kind figuration of the "Count of Ferreira" (1876).