The sardine, with its silvery blue and black hues, darker on the back and lighter on the sides and belly, is found in the northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, where it dwells on coastal areas, between 25 and 100 meters deep. It undertakes migrations in large shoals that protect fish from predators during the day, in deeper waters, and move at night-time to shallower waters to feed on algae and small crustaceans. It reproduces from October to April, a time when sardines are leaner and not so tasty. The sardine is the most popular fish in summer festivals and fairs in Portugal, as well as the main species used in the Portuguese canning industry.
The Sardine collection by Bordallo Pinheiro results from a collaboration between the Earthenware Factory of Caldas da Rainha, founded in 1884 by Raphael Bordallo Pinheiro, and EGEAC/ Municipality of Lisbon. The original Bordallo Pinheiro’s Sardine, due to its classic three-dimensional nature, became the ideal support for receiving the creative work that the “Festas de Lisboa/EGEAC” (Lisbon Festivities) have been developing since 2003, which granted the Sardine the status of icon of the city.
In 2016 the collection comprises 60 sardines: 36 from the EGEAC estate, 23 by Portuguese and foreign guest artists and the original one. One of them is a numbered edition of 99 examples! The composition of the Sardine by Bordallo Pinheiro is reviewed annually, with the introduction of new illustrations and the discontinuation of others. Each year will thus be an unique opportunity to purchase some of these models.