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Date and Identify Capodimonte Italian Porcelain

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The First Works of the Royal Factory in Naples
Early Capodimonte Figurine Held in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London

Early Capodimonte Figurine, c. 1750, Fleur de Lis Mark on Base

Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The earliest figurines were modeled by Giuseppe Gricci in the mid-1700s for the original Capodimonte factory, the Royal Factory, established by King Charles VII in Naples, Italy. These are rarely found on the secondary market today, as most reside in private collections and museums around the world.

The following characteristics of these figurines, as exhibited in the illustration above, are based on information provided in Capodimonte Collectibles by Catherine P. Bloom:

  • Attention to detail in posture and movement with an uncluttered look in comparison to rococo elements often found in decorative arts and architecture of this time.
  • The people in early Capodimonte figurines often had small heads in comparison to the rest of the body.
  • The bases were rocky in nature more often than not.
  • Many early works were very small or miniature in size. New developments in hard-paste porcelain in the late 1700s, however, allowed for larger and more ambitious works.
  • Earliest pieces had no markings, but eventually bore the fleur de lis mark of Charles VII, who established the first Capodimonte factory in Naples and then later moved it to Spain.
  • The earlier fleur de lis marks were fatter. They later changed into a thinner version usually applied on the base of a piece in either blue or gold.
To examine the evolution of Capodimonte's wares from the late 1700s to the early 1800s, see page 2.
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