The work of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro in Caldas da Rainha

A Obra de Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro nas Caldas da Rainha Caracol-Rafael-Bordalo-Pinheiro-Caldas-da-Rainha
A Obra de Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro nas Caldas da Rainha – Caracol, Rota Bordaliana

The work of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro in Caldas da Rainha – – Ceramics, cartoons and much more

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (1846-1905) was born in Lisbon and was the third of 9 children of Manuel Maria Bordalo Pinheiro and D. Maria Augusta do Ó Carvalho Prostes.

Multifaceted personality, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro attended the Conservatory, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Higher Course of Letters and the School of Dramatic Art.

He stood out as one of the most brilliant artists on the national scene, being one of the great drivers of the artistic poster, caricature and ceramics, just to name a few.

Some of the most well-known satirical humorous references such as A Política – a grande Porca or A Finança – o grande Cão, not to mention the unique and always attentive Zé Povinho, celebrated in 1875 a magazine – A Lanterna Mágica,  authored by him. , and which has become the biggest national popular symbol.

He was also part of the famous Grupo do Leão, together with his brother Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro and the painter from Caldas da Rainha, José Malhoa, among other distinguished figures in the national artistic panorama.

In 1866 he married Elvira Ferreira de Almeida, a union that would result in three children, of whom the oldest, Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro, would also leave work done in our city, also contributing significantly to the Bordalian legacy in Caldas.

A Obra de Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro nas Caldas da Rainha - Estação da CP
Rota Bordaliana azulejos sapos Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro the “Local”

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro is one of the most prestigious personalities with connections to Caldas da Rainha. Despite not being from Caldas, he passed through here and lived some years of his life.

Mostly he excelled in ceramics, the result of his talent as a ceramist and the work developed after his appointment as artistic director of the Ceramics Factory of Caldas da Rainha in 1884.

He was also part of the teaching staff of the former Industrial and Commercial School, now Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro Secondary School.

His creativity was decisive to revitalize and induce a new dynamism to that artistic activity that, due to the projection provided, became even more a Caldense identity trait from then on.

The popularity helped to introduce to local ceramics projecting local industry also helped to endow the village with yet another cultural, artistic, social, tourist and economic attraction.

But Bordalo Pinheiro also intervened artistically outside the scope of the Artistic Faience Factory, for example, by accepting invitations addressed to him to decorate spaces and parties such as the reception for D. Carlos I when he came to spend a few days in our Hot Springs.

However, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro was much more than a brilliant ceramist.

The past of the master who helped design

With the same creativity and opportunism Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro also contributed to project Caldas da Rainha through satirical publications edited by himself (Pontos nos ii, António Maria and A Paródia), in which, even before settling professionally in the village , addressed and narrated some of the most important events of everyday life in Caldense throughout the country.

In these publications, using all the sarcasm for he was recognized, he openly criticized the local representatives, showing an active voice in the Caldense society and interested in the progress of the village.

In this aspect, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro had two main focuses on the administrators of the Thermal Hospital, Francisco Eduardo de Andrade Pimentel (period 1877-1888) and Rodrigo Maria Berquó (period 1888-1896).

The first criticized him for his inertia, avarice and lack of sense of progress, calling him “Pópópim” or simply “Pim”, defects due to which he requested his removal from office.

In the case of Berquó, the problem was the over-determination of “D. Rodrigo Estraga-tudo ”that according to Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro did not look at the means to transform Caldas da Rainha, in his “Berquópolis ”.

It is still interesting that two of the most important and contemporary figures in the history of Caldas da Rainha, Berquó and Bordalo, had a relationship, which even began to be cordial but which, over time, would become conflicted.

Berquó had launched the first splinters when he criticized, in 1893, the bricks and tiles that he ordered from the Faience Factory of Caldas da Rainha for the construction of the Santo Isidoro Hospital, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro responded by offering the administrator with the aforementioned “treats” in relation to to his ideas and his reluctance not to see beyond those same ideas.

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro and the progress of Caldas da Rainha

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro was therefore an active voice, determined and concerned with the village and its progress, contributing in its own way to local development.

His prestigious position made him a prominent element in the local social and tourist context and in this regard, his election as first Chairman of the Board of the General Assembly of the Commercial and Industrial Association, founded in 1902, was not unconnected.

Bordalo Pinheiro was, like Berquó, someone who, as a result of his professional skills, contributed to the prestige of the town, being respected and praised by almost everyone.

The extinct periodical O Círculo das Caldas would say, regarding his death, that Bordalo Pinheiro had been “the most legitimate national glory and one of the highest men who named the name Caldas da Rainha”, but also “a sincere and devoted friend, ready always putting his great talent and great service at the service ”of a village“ so indebted to the great artist ”.


Right from the Bordallo Pinheiro Factory of Faience Founded in 1907, which despite not being an initiative by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, but by his son Manuel Gustavo Bordalo Pinheiro, already after his father’s death in 1905, continues to produce the most celebrated pieces created by the master.

Bordalo’s facades in Caldas

Secondly, because it is impossible not to remain indifferent to the various facades of the Caldenses buildings lined with tiles, many of which also refer us to the production of either the Faience Factory in Caldas da Rainha or to Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro himself.

Examples of this are the bust of Bordalo Pinheiro offered by the Initiative Committee in 1927 and which is exposed in Parque D. Carlos I, or even the attribution of its name to what is considered the first street in Caldas da Rainha and which makes the connection between the Thermal Hospital and the current Shop / Museum of the Faience Factory Bordalo Pinheiro.

In 2015 and as a tribute to the legacy of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, the city inaugurated the Bordaliana Route, a circuit with twenty gigantic pieces made in ceramics drawn by the master.

In this one, it is worth mentioning the reproductions in gigantic models of some icons of the Bordalo work, such as O Zé Povinho, Ama das Caldas, the Polícia, Saloia or Padre Cura, which are accompanied by representations of animals such as O Gato Assanhado, o Lobo or the Andorinhas.

What master left in Caldas and you can see

We therefore invite all the curious to visit our city, to discover more about Caldas da Rainha through the presence of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, not missing the most emblematic ceramic references such as tiles, swallows, cats or even sardines. .

Caldas da Rainha is an open-air catalog of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro’s pieces and presents one of the richest collections of elements related to the master.

It is certainly a place that all admirers, onlookers, enthusiasts and collectors of the Bordalo imagination will want to come and visit and add new memories to their own collections.

The Bordaliana Caldense collection includes two museums, the Ceramics Museum and the Museum dedicated exclusively to Bordalo Pinheiro (Casa de S. Rafael), includes the Bordalo Pinheiro Faience Factory with shop and outlet where buying pieces by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro is the word of order and a wide range of tributes in the most diverse ways spread all over the city.

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro is one of the most prominent national figures with regard to the arts and Caldas da Rainha is one of the places where you can more easily contact his historical and artistic legacy.

If you are looking for a different theme for a trip, if you want to know a little more about the history of our country and if you think that Caldas da Rainha is a good option for a visit,

We will be happy to introduce you to the city of a original form full of history and stories that have Bordalo Pinheiro as a central element.

Tours with the Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro Theme

Our guided tour of the Bordaliana Route will be a great way to get to know Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro’s artistic legacy in Caldas da Rainha while having the opportunity to get to know the charms and treasures of our city better.

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GoCaldas Caldas da Rainha - O Guia Turístico da Cidade Gratuito em Caldas da Rainha
GoCaldas Caldas da Rainha - O Guia Turístico da Cidade Gratuito em Caldas da Rainha

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