Lisbon in Us by Alexis Passechnikoff

Lisbon in Us by Alexis Passechnikoff
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Although today’s guest has only been living in Lisbon for 6 years, he’s already a profound connoisseur and deeply passionate about this city. In Lisbon in Us by Alexis Passechnikoff, he tells us his interesting story as a collector, which brought him to Lisbon regularly when he still lived in Porto.

My first contact with Lisbon was when I landed at the then Portela Airport, in July 1954, coming from Belgium in a four-engine propeller aircraft, together with my parents to move to the city of Porto, where my father was going to work as a chemical engineer. Since we only stayed for one night, I don’t remember anything relevant about Lisbon except for our dinner: baked flounder with banana, a rare dish in today’s restaurants.

Since my youth, I’ve always had a collector’s mentality, especially of collections that were not usual. One of my main ones was a Phillumeny collection (matchbox labels and matchboxes), in which I specialised in those of the former USSR and in which I had almost 75.000 different examples. As this collection was based mainly on exchanges with collectors from the country or even other countries, I began to travel from time to time to Lisbon, in order to visit and make exchanges and purchases with collectors from that city, with whom I became great friends.

In those visits to the capital, I loved strolling around the main streets of downtown, whose shop windows were appealing; I also loved crossing the Tagus river in the cacilheiro (boats that connect two banks) towards Cacilhas, eat sardines in the restaurants of Ginjal, see Lisbon from that bank especially at night and, some other times, when I returned earlier, I loved to see magnificent sunsets.

For many decades I was a spear fisherman and, in addition to fishing, I started collecting fishing sinkers, because of their different curious shapes, that the fly fishing fisherman would lose in the water rocks; this collection, which started in 1971, became my first collection of maritime ethnography that in turn, expanded my panorama to the ergology universe of the line fishing of codfish.

Part of the collection of sinkers from fly fishing donated to the Sea Museum of Caxinas that gave rise to the master thesis of Serenela Carvalho “Alexis Passechnikoff e a sua Coleção de Chumbadas no Museu do Mar de Vila do Conde”.
Part of the collection of sinkers from fly fishing donated to the Sea Museum of Caxinas that gave rise to the master thesis of Serenela Carvalho “Alexis Passechnikoff e a sua Coleção de Chumbadas no Museu do Mar de Vila do Conde”.

This research also gave the opportunity of visiting Lisbon as a base more often, in order to visit the fisherman villages of Sesimbra, Setúbal, Ericeira, Peniche, etc., where I would gather examples for my collection and where I’d hear stories of old codfish fishermen. Also due to this new collection, during the “Expo’98 – The Oceans, a Heritage or the Future”, I visited all the pavillions, in order to broaden my maritime knowledge.

In those visits to Lisbon, I frequently visited the Navy Museum, Popular Art Museum, National Museum of Ethnology, as well as the organisms connected to cod fishing and nautic equipment shops. This collection gave origin to several exhibitions in a few museums of the country, the first being the fiftieth anniversary commemoration of the Codfish Trade Regulatory Commission, in 1984, in the Commission’s building, currently Fundação Oriente Museum.

Collection related to cod fishing; Exhibition of equipment related to cod fishing, the 50th anniversary of the Codfish Trade Regulatory Commission

I have always lived under the motto that collecting is one of the ways to keep the past present and, above all, to transmit to future generations, the evolutionary sequence and order of certain objects.

Moving to Lisbon

“Entalada” in D. João V Avenue
Entalada” in D. João V Avenue

In 2015 and for various reasons, I moved to Lisbon and, due to the lack of space, I had to auction most of the collections of maritime ethnography.

In that year and when I wandered through the old areas of Alfama, Mouraria, Madragoa, etc., I came across the façades of some houses, with stones representing beautiful boats of various types, some prior to the Earthquake.

Instantly, in my mind as a collector and researcher, the need to photograph these stones arose, trying to organise a virtual collection that has already borne fruit in the photographic preservation of stones that no longer exist, as some were destroyed without mercy!

Boat of stone in Rua da Boavista; Anchor in the Portuguese pavement in Estrela Garden; Lamp in D. João V Avenue
Boat of stone in Rua da Boavista; Anchor in the Portuguese pavement in Estrela Garden; Lamp in D. João V Avenue

At first, I based my photo collection in the book “Pedras que Falam do Mar” (directly translated to “stones that talk about the sea”) by the deceased colonel Nuno Valdez dos Santos, dated from 1985, in which there are photos and the exact location of almost one hundred examples of stones and tiles with boats; consequently, I went and visited all the referenced places in order to photograph them, which allowed me to get to know the capital city in ways that, had it not been for this research, I would’ve never known, not even in my dreams!

Following that and always with the maritime idea, I also started photographing the mermaids “entaladas” (means “stuck”, an expression used for sculptures who are generally on top of the entrance of buildings), who have a boat or a shell in their hand, all kinds of dolphins, fish and also the boat of Saint Vincent and respective pair of crows, in their multiple representations in various buildings, schools, fire stations, city councils, etc., demonstrating the love that the people of Lisbon have for the city’s symbol and patron. I also have a special appetite for the beautiful caravels inserted in the cobblestones of the Portuguese pavement, or cast on manhole covers or the weather vane caravels, etc.

Wind vane in Alameda D. Afonso Henriques; Street Lamp in Corpo Santo Square; Manhole cover in Rua da Boavista
Wind vane in Alameda D. Afonso Henriques; Street Lamp in Corpo Santo Square; Manhole cover in Rua da Boavista

These photo collections have already enabled me to make new friends who are also dedicated to these searches and with whom I’ve been in contact, thus being able to expand the level of research.

Finally, I’m happy to be living in Lisbon, in a civil parish that allows me to reach different areas of the capital, either on foot or by public transport, which always give my wife, another lover of Portugal, and I the options of being dazzled by old palaces, stunning façades in the avenues of Liberdade, República, Almirante Reis, etc. and, above all by the amplitude of Tagus River and of almost all alleys of Lisbon.

Lisbon in Us by Alexis Passechnikoff : Fountain in Escadinhas de São Miguel; Ceramic panel in Balneário da Serafina
Fountain in Escadinhas de São Miguel; Ceramic panel in Balneário da Serafina
Lisbon in Us by Alexis Passechnikoff 
Mini introductionAlexis Passechnikoff, born in Belgium in 1945, son of Russian father and Belgian mother, married, retired bank worker and resident in Lisbon since 2015, in the civil parish of Campo de Ourique
An inspiring placeLisbon’s view from the Panoramic Restaurant in Montes Claros, in Monsanto
An unmissable visitNavy Museum, in Belém
His mouth waters with…Fried small horse mackerel with Portuguese açorda (typical dish, made of bread porridge)
A song…Porto de Mágoas by Dulce Pontes
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Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon. Art installation in Bordalo Pinheiro Museum
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Home » Archives for March 2021

In today’s article about Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon, we seek to bring you public places where original work by this extraordinary artist can still be seen.

We’ll also go through tributes to him and other public works inspired by his ceramic pieces. Thus, this time we’ll meet Bordalo outside of the museum dedicated to him.

Get to know Lisbon’s historic neighbourhoods in a guided tour and discover unmissable places of this magnificent city.

Bordalo Pinheiro and Lisbon

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (1846-1905), was born, lived and passed away in Lisbon. The city was marked by his undeniable presence. The cervejaria Leão de Ouro, the restaurant Tavares Rico, the São Carlos National Theatre are only some of the examples of places whose history wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for Bordalo. The same happens with places where he left his art pieces, such as the ones in our selection.

In its varied artistic work, which extends from caricature drawing to graphic design, from interior decoration to ceramics, the city of Lisbon is a constant presence. His keen critical sense and humor spared no institutions, monuments, typical characters or habits.

To observe his work closely is to take a trip back in time to Lisbon at the turn of the 19th to 20th century. And as is typical of the greatest artists, his legacy consists not only of his artwork but also of the consequences and the inspiration that come from him.

Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon: Original Work

Tobacconist Mónaco

Tobacconist Mónaco, front and back doors. At the time, the tobacconist's space connected Rossio with Rua 1º de Dezembro, thus it had two doors. We can still see Bordalo’s tiles surrounding these narrow passages today.
Tobacconist Mónaco, front and back doors

Tobacconist Mónaco, inaugurated in 1875, was an establishment that had a major impact on the city of Lisbon. Located at no. 21 in Rossio, specialised in tobacco and the first to sell foreign newspapers and magazines, it was the stage for gatherings of intellectuals and, later on, it was there that the first public telephone was installed.

In 1894 the space underwent a profound remodeling, taking on the shape it still has today. The project, led by the architect Rozendo Carvalheira, had the collaboration of the sculptor Pedro dos Reis, the painter António Ramalho, the magnificent wooden furniture from Brazil by Frederico Augusto Ribeiro and the tiles by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro.

At the time, the tobacconist’s space connected Rossio with Rua 1º de Dezembro, thus it had two doors. We can still see Bordalo’s tiles surrounding these narrow passages today. The door on Rua 1º de Dezembro hasn’t belonged to the tobacconist for a long time, but the tiles remain there, testifying this connection. Unfortunately, part of it is reassembled invertedly.

In these compositions, in the traditional blue and white but with yellow frames, which already indicate new times, the scathing artist parodies the customers, represented there as frogs and storks … These representations are extended inside the tobacconist. Colourful relief tiles of water lilies and frogs that cover a fountain that supplied water from Sintra, Caneças and Moura can also be seen there.

When the telephone was installed, fictitious telegraph wires were also installed inside the tobacconist as a sign of modernity. Bordalo, with great sense of opportunity, composed this staging by adding more than thirty of his fluttering swallows to the wires.

A surprising space classified as a Lisbon Historic Shop, which deserves to be visited.

Tile Decoration of Panificação Mecânica

Tiles with the ears and butterflies pattern that can be seen in the Panificação Mecânica in Campo de Ourique.
Tiles with the ears and butterflies pattern that can be seen in the Panificação Mecânica in Campo de Ourique.

The second place we suggest you go and see Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon, is located in Campo de Ourique. It is here in this neighbourhood that was developed at the end of the 19th century, which was far away from the city centre at the time, that we’ll find Panificação Mecânica.

This former bakery, now a pastry shop and a place for quick meals, also classified as a Lisbon Historic Shop, is located in a property of public interest, on the corner of Rua de Campo de Ourique and Rua Silva Carvalho.

There we find a decoration that mixes the language of Iron Architecture, Art Nouveau and of a classicist taste. An eclectic space that mixes, in a balanced and creative way, diverse materials such as glass, iron, stucco, wood and, of course, the relief tiles of Bordalo Pinheiro.

We don’t know the year of its realization, but perhaps we can suggest 1902 when the Companhia de Panificação Lisbonense, which then occupied this location, submitted a project to the City Council of Lisbon to occupy the backyard with an oven room.

Currently, the profusion of exhibitors, counters and other modern accessories, require an exercise of abstraction in order to be able to focus on the essence of the space. Still, it is worth the trip!

While having a delicious stuffed croissant, you can wander the gaze over the magnificent tiles and walk among ears, poppies, swallows and butterflies.

Palace of Beau-Séjour

Ceramic basin in Palace of Beau-Séjour.  It is a profusely decorated basin. There, crowned by three sunflowers, an aquatic world populated by crustaceans, fish, eels and frogs develops, involving two medallions in the centre of which we can see game animals.
Ceramic basin in Palace of Beau-Séjour. Image courtesy by the collector Luís Bayó Veiga

The Palace of Beau-Séjour, situated in Estrada de Benfica, was ordered built in the mid-19th century by the Viscountess of Regaleira.

A beautiful palace with a romantic style, which couldn’t lack the typical garden marked by lakes, squares with benches and exotic vegetation.

It has been classified as a monument of public interest and since 1992 that it is the headquarters of GEO – Gabinete de Estudos Olisiponenses (Lisbon studies department) of the City Council of Lisbon. It is thus a public space that can be visited.

In the 1870s, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro participated in the decoration of this building, as well as his siblings Columbano and Maria Augusta and the decorator Francisco Vilaça.

The old dining room gathers interventions by the three siblings. We highlight the pieces of Bordalo, relief tiles of water lilies and frogs, and also, a magnificent ceiling lamp from which hang generous grape clusters, vine leaves and other fruits in coloured ceramic.

In the lobby of this room is a surprisingly large piece. It is a profusely decorated basin. There, crowned by three sunflowers, an aquatic world populated by crustaceans, fish, eels and frogs develops, involving two medallions in the centre of which we can see game animals.

An extraordinary world that mixes naturalism and fantasy that Bordalo has accustomed us to.

Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon: Tributes

Toponymic Plaque of Bordalo Pinheiro Square

Toponymic plaque of Bordalo Pinheiro Square. The plaque is cut out as volutes, acanthus and colourful shells that frame the name Largo Raphael Bordallo Pinheiro.
Toponymic plaque of Bordalo Pinheiro Square

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro lived on the 2nd floor of the no. 29 of the then Abegoaria Square, in Chiado. In 1915 this square took his name and this tribute even extended to the model of toponymic plates present there.

They’re constituted by ceramic pieces on stone plaques mounted by four quadrangular pyramid metal nails. In a direct allusion to the relevant artistic legacy of Bordalo as a ceramist, the pieces are cut out as volutes, acanthus and colourful shells that frame the name Largo Raphael Bordallo Pinheiro.

Find out more about this urban equipment in Typologies of Toponymic Plaques of Lisbon and Unique Toponymic Plaques of Lisbon.

Monument in Tribute to Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro

Monument in tribute to Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro seen from the Museum named after him
Monument in tribute to Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro

This monument, inaugurated in 1921, consists of a stone plinth on which a bronze bust of Bordalo Pinheiro rests.

As we’ve seen in Public Art of Campo Grande Garden Route, it is an art piece of the youth of Raul Xavier (1894-1964), where the influence of his master, the sculptor Costa Motta (Tio) is still very prominent.

The decoration reminds us of the universe of Bordalo, through the presence of representations of the Republic, Zé Povinho and the cats.

You will find this monument in a discreet spot in the Campo Grande Garden right in front of the dynamic Bordalo Pinheiro Museum, a cultural space that deserves to be visited periodically, not only because of its collection but also its intense agenda.

Public Inspirations in the Art of Bordalo Pinheiro

Bordalo Pinheiro Garden in Pimenta Palace

This fantastic garden located in Pimenta Palace, headquarters of the Museum of Lisbon, is a true tribute to the ceramic work of the genius plastic artist.

The idea of creating this space was from Catarina Portas, businesswoman and journalist of Lisbon and its elaboration was led by the plastic artist Joana Vasconcelos.

This project from 2010 had the support of the City Council of Lisbon and in addition to being a tribute to Bordalo, it also aimed to save the ceramic company created by the artist in Caldas da Rainha in the year of 1884 from bankruptcy.

Throughout the garden, among trees and shrubs, in the middle of the lakes, you will be surprised by large animals such as: snakes, crabs, frogs, bees, lobsters among many others.

Find everything out in Bordalo Pinheiro Garden, the Unusual and the Fantastical!

Tile Covering and a Medallion in the Campo Grande Pedestrian Walkways

In the two pedestrian walkways of Campo Grande Garden there are relief tiles with the cat pattern of Bordalo Pinheiro. It is also possible to observe, on one of the pillars of the pedestrian walkway on the east side, a ceramic medallion à Della Robbia, with the artist's profile in white on a sky blue background, encircled by a crown of polychrome flowers and fruits.
Tile covering and a medallion in the Campo Grande pedestrian walkways

In the north area of the Campo Grande Garden there are two pedestrian walkways. One next to the Museum of Lisbon and The Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon and another one in front of the Lusófuna University.

In both there are relief tiles with the cat pattern of Bordalo Pinheiro and a ceramic medallion à Della Robbia, with the artist’s profile in white on a sky blue background, encircled by a crown of polychrome flowers and fruits.

In Bordalo Pinheiro Garden there are two other examples of this medallion.

Hissing Cat and Snail in Guerra Junqueiro Avenue

Hissing Cat and Snail at Guerra Junqueiro Avenue
Hissing Cat and Snail

In the area of Avenidas Novas, more specifically at Guerra Junqueiro Avenue, next to Londres Square, there are two ceramic pieces since 2018, large replicas of two works by Bordalo Pinheiro.

They are a Hissing Cat, an animal for which the artist had particular affection and a giant snail that shares the space of a public bench, covered with plain green tiles and others with water lilies, frogs and flowers.

These art pieces were gifted by the Bordallo Pinheiro Ceramic Factory to the City Council of Lisbon, concretely to the Areeiro Civil Parish and they’re also our last suggestion that we’ve selected for you to find Bordalo Pinheiro around Lisbon.

Happy strolls!

The project getLISBON has been very rewarding and we want to continue revealing the singularities of fascinating Lisbon.

Help us keep this project alive!

By using these links to make your reservations you’ll be supporting us. With no extra costs!

• Look up the best hotels on Booking.com and get 15% or more off!
• Looking for a different experience? We can create a customised itinerary based on your interests. Contact us!
• Or if you prefer tours and other activities in various destinations, take a look at GetYourGuide.
• Save time and money with a flexible Lisbon Card!
Rent a car with Autoeurope and discover other regions of Portugal

Follow Us!