Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (1846 -1905) was a Portuguese artist best known for his caricatures, illustrations, cartoons, sculpture, and ceramics designs.
Zé Povinho, an iconic character of a poor and robust man symbolizing the Portuguese People, is his most famous creation and even today everybody in Portugal recognises it.
Yesterday, on the 110th anniversary of his death, I could not help having a look at older photographs, when I visited the ceramics factory he founded, in Caldas da Rainha in 1885. There he designed and created many of the pottery for which this city is known.
In Caldas da Rainha, not far from Lisbon, we can also visit the beautiful mansion, which belonged to the Viscount of Sacavém, that now hosts a ceramics museum.
I like decorating the table with BP pottery, because, as my mother used to say: "we first eat with the eyes". It is simple, cheap and we can find it everywhere in Portugal.
In Portugal, during the Constitutional Monarchy, there was freedom of press. Even the monarchs, like the Kings D. Luis and D. Carlos were often criticised and the topic of caricatures in which they were portrayed in very mean ways. Nevertheless the authors were respected and tolerated.
There is a Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro Museum in Lisbon dedicated to his life and works.
His brother, Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro (1857-1929) was a famous painter.