During a creative phase deeply marked by naturalism, Raphael Bordallo Pinheiro put forth a wide variety of ceramic items portraying fish and shellfish.
Also a lover of good food, he frequently got together with friends for gourmet dinners at the Leão de Ouro brasserie and the Grupo dos Macavencos, at Palácio Foz, in Lisbon, or when he was in Caldas da Rainha and visited Francisco Grandela at his home in Foz do Arelho, surrounded by a beautiful marine scenery.
Sardines, eels, crabs, edible crabs, bivalves, lobsters and a huge collection of other fish and shellfish “invaded” panniers, giant plates, baskets, pots and vases, decorated with nets and fishing floats, creating a richly sculptural and theatrical fishing setting, painted with incredibly accurate colours.
The striped red mullet is a small reddish fish.
It can be found in the northeast Atlantic and
the Mediterranean, where it dwells at the bottom
of the sea, up to 100 meters deep.
This species forms shoals and feeds on crustaceans, small
molluscs and fish.
It reproduces from late winter
to early summer. Juvenile striped red mullets
live closer to the surface, only moving to deeper
waters once they’ve matured into adulthood.
Their two chin barbels contain chemosensory organs
and are used to probe the sand for food.
The cockle is a filtering bivalve mollusc that lives
buried at a depth of about 5 centimetres in sand or
mud, where it feeds by filtering the phytoplankton
from the water.
When threatened, it can quickly
burrow deeper by the retraction of the foot that keeps it anchored, which manoeuvre sometimes sallows cockles to escape predators.
Cockles are very common and up to 10,000 animals per square meter can be found.
Because of its high tolerance to low salinity environments, it is also frequently found in estuaries.
Juvenile red porgy are usually found in shallow, sheltered areas, alter migrating to deeper waters.
Adult red porgy mainly live between 50 and 150
Fish of this species can however be found up to 250 meters deep.
Red porgy gather in schools and the largest fish can weigh up to eight kilos.
These specimens are only found far from the shore, in deeper waters.
The leaf barnacle occurs on rocky coasts in the intertidal zone, although it can also be found on deeper areas.
It tends to occur in closely associated groups, forming clumps tightly attached to the
This is their defence against stormy seas.
Interestingly, the leaf barnacle develops faster
where the sea is wilder.
These crustaceans are resilient
heroes, permanently exposed to the pounding of the waves at the foot of the cliffs.
However, as they have little mobility, they are sometimes
swept away by ocean currents.
The horse mackerel has an elongated, gray body with blue hues on the back and silver shades on the belly and sides.
It lives in the northeast Atlantic, the Madeira Archipelago and the Mediterranean
Sea, where it can be found from the surface
to the bottom of the sea, in coastal areas between
100 to 200 meters deep.
It forms large shoals that
undertake substantive migrations, feeding on
small fish, crustaceans and molluscs. It reproduces
from December to April.
Other names for the
horse mackerel include scad, saurel and European
The edible crab has a robust shell, wider than it is long, with a reddish-brown colour and two strong claws with black tips.
It is found in the northeast
Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, where it dwells in shallower waters for the first six months of its life.
It then moves to deeper areas, up to 100 meters, including in lagoons and estuaries.
The edible crab feeds essentially on crustaceans
and bivalves, which it captures and kills by squeezing them with its claws.
It reproduces during spring and summer, after females shed their shells.
Female edible crabs carry up to 3 million eggs in their abdomen for six months, during
which time they remains hidden under rocks or buried in holes they dig.
Crabs are crustaceans that can also survive out of water.
Their flat bodies are covered by a hard shell that provides protection.
They have long, thin legs that allow them to walk under water,
swim and dig.
The claws, used to attack and to catch prey, are their first pair of legs.
The antennae have several functions, including as sensory organs, allowing them to find food.
The protruding eyes can retreat inside the shell for added security.
The crab is a nocturnal animal, which usually spends the day hidden between rocks and coral.
The tub gurnard is a species that reproduces on Portuguese shores at considerable depths.
It feeds on small molluscs, rustaceans and some fish species.
It is orange-red in colour, with ridges and
bony plaques on the head and along the back.
The pectoral fins are very large, resembling wings.
The tub gurnard prefers cold, deep waters, where
it normally lives, weighing at most between eight
and 10 kilos.
Pouting fish live in the northeast Atlantic, from
the south of Norway to Morocco, and in the Mediterranean
Sea, in rocky or sandy areas, forming small schools.
Juvenile pouting fish live closer to
the shoreline and can enter estuaries. In spring,
to reproduce, adults move closer to coastal areas.
Pouting fish feed on crustaceans, molluscs and
small fish and can grow to a maximum length
of 45 centimetres.
The mussel is a bivalve mollusc with a black, oval shell, which allows it to attach to other organisms.
It is found in the northeast Atlantic and the Portuguese
coast, in estuaries and oceanic habitats, living in rocky intertidal areas, up to 10 meters deep.
It attaches to rocks in large clumps by way of a structure called byssus, feeding of phytoplankton and other organic particles through filtration.
The blackspot seabream has reddish hues and a black spot on the head.
The inside of its mouth is peculiarly orange-red.
It is found in the northeast
Atlantic, where adults dwell close to the sea bottom, up to 700 meters deep.
Young blackspot seabream live in schools closer to costal zones.
It feeds on small fish, crustaceans and molluscs.
The species reproduces during summer and fall.
The clam is a bivalve that includes many species.
It has a shell that can vary from light gray to dark brown or display cream, brown or greyish hues, with striations and well-marked lines,
presenting a characteristic lattice pattern.
This mollusc lives on the sea bottom, near the coast, or
on riverbeds and lagoons, buried in sand or mud.
It feeds through filtration, with a diet of microalgae
carried by currents, captured through a tubelike structure or siphon.
It reproduces in summer.