Between 1870 and 1871, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro published A Berlinda in 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 sought to reflect on the politics and society of the day; in doing so, they challenged the authorities, who responded by 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 show Bordalo presenting all the country’s ills, the final drawing depicts the Marquis of Ávila, the politician responsible for ordering the shutdown, being applauded by priests and a donkey, above the ironic caption ‘Long Live Freedom!!!’
Published in A Berlinda, 01.07.1871.