I grew up with Bordallo Pinheiro ceramics. In the old city centre of Caldas da Rainha, nameplates of streets are made by this ceramic company of late nineteen hundreds.
Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (1846/1905) is the founder of the company Bordallo Pinheiro ( with two ‘l’s!). His brother, Feliciano, is engaged with the organization while Rafael sets out the artistic lines. In 1905 Rafael dies and his son Manuel is able to protect his father’s legacy till the year he himself dies. Workers and important people of the city understand the importance of this company and manage to maintain the production till 2008. In that year the crisis begins. Luckily there is a buyer: Grupo Visabeira. The production hall at the end of the park in Caldas da Rainha is closed. But part of the factory is a shop where you can still buy Bordallo Pinheiro faience made in the factory at the industrial park half-way between Caldas da Rainha and Foz do Arelho.
Of course, you have to like these strange forms and designs. If you are not used to minimalistic design, the pottery of Bordallo Pinheiro can cause eye strain. But I know for a fact that even in a Nordic house full of sleek design a Bordallo Pinheiro pumpkin soup bowl can bring a sparkle of humour into grey days!
While visiting the Bordallo Pinheiro shop opposite the Museu de Cerâmica in Caldas da Rainha please visit the small garden of the Museu de Cerâmica, as well. Just ask if you can see the garden, it’s for free. In this garden you see many, huge, animal ceramics Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro made. The house of the museum and it’s garden is a lovely area to take romantic pictures and the garden is often used for wedding photo-shoots.
If you want to know for sure you are buying the real thing, in A-quality, certify yourself buy looking at this logo with a frog. If the frog has a line in the middle, you are dealing with B-quality. Normally the B-quality is much, much cheaper and very often as beautiful as the A-quality!