The Algarve has been a place apart since the time of Herodotus, and its coast shows the influences of myriad civilisations – Tartessian, Celtiberian, Greek, Phoenician, Roman, and Moorish – along its length. Our patterns and motifs emerged from Patrick Swift and Lima de Freitas’ in-depth study of these ancient civilisations of Algarve and mean that our work is characteristically Algarvian, but also very much our own.
We decorate in the ancient ‘Majolica’ tradition, which is an over glaze painting technique first introduced to Europe by the Moors. Within this Swift established one fundamental rule, there was to be no slavish copying. The emphasis at Porches was always to be on the clean free flow of the brush.
This imbues a quality so different from any factory decoration that it appeals at once to the eye trained in the classic art of ceramic painting. Swift maintained that once in every, say, one hundred pots or plates, a true masterpiece of free flowing design is produced. Such items are precious fruit of the whole Porches technique.
This is why you will find the signature of the artist and the mark of the Pottery on the base of each piece, though the trained eye can identify the artist from their brushwork alone.