Fernando de Castro Museum House

John Bull Chamber Pot

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (1846-1905)


Portugal, Caldas da Rainha

Glazed and polychrome earthenware

Inventory sheet

Kept inside the bedside table of the collector’s bedroom, this chamber pot shaped piece representing John Bull alludes to the stereotypical greedy and authoritarian Englishman.

Being depicted as a chamber pot reveals the anti-British position that Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro took as a consequence of the English Ultimatum of 1890, where the English disputed the Portuguese dominion over the African territories between Angola and Mozambique, causing great indignation in various quarters of Portuguese society. In addition to his presence in ceramic works, highly critical drawings of John Bull often appeared in the pages of the artist’s newspapers.