My new year’s resolution to surround myself with things that make me happy continues! This month, it’s a brand that I’ve always loved but never owned. I decided it was time to remediate that. 2016 is the year I start building my Bordallo Pinheiro collection. There’s only one problem: I may have developed a new addiction…
Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro was the artist behind this quintessentially Portuguese and beautifully addictive brand. A caricaturist, illustrator and sculptor, Rafael was born in 1846 into a family of artists. His father was painter Manuel Maria Bordalo Pinheiro and his brother, Columbano, became a renowned painter in his own right.
Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro built a reputation for himself through his caricatures and politically critical cartoons which landed him collaborations with Brazilian and English publications. In time, he also became editor of various magazines. His most famous cartoon is called Zé Povinho (which literally translate to “Little People” Joe). A representation of the working class population, Zé Povinho was depicted as a kind, country peasant, who ridiculed those in power and then went on with his daily life. This satirical cartoon would feature in his illustrations for nearly 30 years and is still an archetypal image in Portuguese culture.
Faianças is the Portuguese word for faience, a type of tin-glazed white ceramic. The Bordallo Pinheiro faience company was founded in 1885 by Bordalo Pinheiro in the city of Caldas the Rainha, where it still operates today. The faiences made there are sold all over the world due to its beautiful and unique designs. The styles focus heavily on natural elements, either as the body of the ceramic (such as a cabbage leaf bowl) or as key features in it (such as acorns on the edge of a plate).
I am now the very proud owner of two large banana leaf platters and one extra large banana leaf bowl, which I use as a fruit bowl most days or as a serving bowl for dinner parties. They have a spectacular visual impact on the room and are great talking pieces! I also have a small double leaf & bird dish which I like to use for nibbles such as lupini beans (tremoços), pistachios or olives. I already have my eyes set on the gorgeous, classic Bordallo Pinheiro swallows for my wall.
So which Bordallo Pinheiro pieces would you like in your home? A vase with some adorable frogs? An exotic pineapple? Or maybe the classic Zé Povinho?