Between 1870 and 1871, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro published ‘A Berlinda’, over seven individual sheet editions. This print, the last in the series, is regarded as the first Portuguese comic strip.
It is a report on the renowned Casino Conferences, held in Lisbon by a group of intellectuals who proposed to reflect on the politics and society of the day, challenging the authorities, who ended up forcibly closing down the event.
Illustrated with little vignettes are ‘the purulent and bourgeois physiognomy of the country’ and its ‘Catholic and monarchic situation’, showing the famous episode in detail. The interveners and their communications are recorded, as are the conference attendees, with corks in their mouths, writing about the protest. While the first vignettes portray Bordalo himself presenting all the country’s ills, the final drawing shows the politician Marquis of Ávila, the man responsible for the prohibition, applauded by priests and a donkey, above an ironic ‘Long Live Freedom!!!’