~Buy Lladro figurines and collectibles
~How Lladro was born
~Lladro Marks, Logos, Backstamps
How Lladro was born
Lladró was born in the mid-1950s as a small family workshop in Almácera, a tiny farming community near the city of Valencia, on Spain's eastern Mediterranean coast. Born into a humble farming family, the brothers Juan, José and Vicente decided to dedicate their free time to making ceramics as a means of improving their prospects for the future. They enrolled in the Valencia School of Arts and Crafts, where Juan and José studied drawing and painting, while the youngest brother, Vicente, took up sculpture.
In order to put their new knowledge into practice, they built a Moorish-style kiln in the patio of their parents' home. As their experiments became increasingly successful, they began manufacturing and selling their first ceramic flowers on the local market. Meanwhile, they had started to design and produce their own figurines in porcelain.
In 1958 they moved from their small workshop in the family home in Almácera to a factory located in the nearby town of Tavernes Blanques. The 1960s were years of strong growth and development. In fact, the studios in Tavernes were enlarged seven times until in 1969 the foundations were laid for what was to become Porcelain City, the home of Lladró porcelain art today. For over two decades since that time, Lladró has continued to spread throughout the world, fueling growth back home in tiny Tavernes. Today, with a headcount of two thousand people, Lladró markets its creations in over one hundred countries around the world.
Perhaps China's greatest gift to the world was the way it combined simple clay with "secret ingredients" to create a material which was both beautiful and practical: porcelain. It is believed that porcelain first appeared during the Tang dynasty (618-906).
Marco Polo's seventeen-year stay in China in the late 11th century had a great impact on European culture. As an example, purchasing porcelain "objets d'art" became an obsession with European aristocrats.
Porcelain was viewed by European royalty as a highly desirable luxury product, a fitting way to pay themselves homage. This increase in demand occurred precisely at a time when the manufacture of imperial porcelain in China was becoming problematic. Product costs were soaring, pilferage was rampant, and materials were in short supply.
The porcelain market looked insatiable. Foreign tradesmen had great difficulties overcoming Chinese reluctance to maintain supplies, bent as the Chinese were on preserving the secret of porcelain manufacturing. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Venice and other European cities, attempts were being made to create what was to become European porcelain.
In the 1940s, the Lladró brothers revisited the history of porcelain manufacturing, creating their own formula for porcelain paste and refining their manufacturing techniques on all fronts: pigments, molds, varnishes, and firing times, resulting in pieces that not only incorporate great beauty, but emphasize quality of the highest kind.
Lladró figurines are given an additional title in English as well as the Spanish original, however these names are frequently not translations (figurative or literal) but new names that are more likely to appeal to an English speaking audience. A further area for confusion is that the names of the pieces can change throughout their run so the same figurine can often end up with several titles.
back to the top
- 1953, the company was founded in by three brothers, Juan, José and Vicente Lladró, in the village of Almácera near Valencia. Starting with items such as vases and jugs, it wasn't until 1956 that they started producing the sculptures for which they are now most famous.
- 1958, Enthusiasm for the items produced by the Lladró brothers saw their small workshop expand several times until eventually they moved to Tavernes Blanques. Demand for Lladró creations grows unexpectedly. The brothers introduce innovations not only in the design and style of the figurines but also in the firing techniques, reducing the three-layer firing to a one-layer process. One-firing is an innovative method which creates the crystalline finish and the pastel tonalities typical of Lladró works.
- 1962, the brothers open the Professional Training School at their site in Tavernes Blanques to share their knowledge and experience. It still operates today keeping alive the vision and philosophy of the brothers by imparting it to a new generation.
- 1969, on October 13, the City of Porcelain is opened by the Spanish Minister for Industry. It took 2 years to build and was designed to provide the best environment that encourages the artistic development of works produced. Currently over 2000 people work here.
- 1970, Lladró begins to use a new material, gres, for its sculptures. It has earthy colours and is used frequently in natural themes. The logotype changes due to a desire to establish an association between science and art, the basis of creation in porcelain, as a result of the union between an ancient chemical symbol and the stylised version of a “campanillo”, a typical bell-shaped flower of the area where Lladró was born. The surname of the founders is printed under this image.
- 1973, Lladró buys 50% of the North American company Weil Ceramics & Glass.
- 1974, the first blue emblem, consisting of a bellflower and ancient chemical symbol, appears on the base to show the origin of the sculpture. The Elite Collection is also launched.
- 1984, Danielle, Mari Carmen and Juan Vicente Lladró joined the company. One child of each of the founding members. They underwent a long apprenticeship before they were permitted responsibility in the company.
- 1985, the Collector's Society is formed. The first annual sculpture, called "Little Pals", can fetch several thousand dollars at auction due to the small number of members able to purchase it in the early years.
- 1986, Lladró forms an alliance with the Mitsui Group creating a subsidiary called Bussan Lladró based in Tokyo
- 1988, on September 18 in New York the Lladró Museum and Gallery is opened on 57th Street in Manhattan.
- 1993, Lladró receives the Principe Felipe award for internationalisation.
- 2001, Lladró Privilege, a new customer loyalty programme, takes over from the Lladró Collectors Society. The Lladró Collectors Society gives way to Lladró Privilege, an innovative customer loyalty program which incorporates a new service concept based on a closer and more special treatment toward Lladró porcelain lovers.
- 2003, one of the most important facts in this period is, after fifty years at the head of the company, the three founding brothers turn over control to the second Lladró generation, which becomes part of the new Board of Director. The first half of this decade is marked by Lladró’s introduction of an innovative aesthetic line which coexists with its classics. Thus, collections like “Aura”, “Movement” and “Humanitas” are born. The brand also launches pieces that combine beauty with functionality, in which porcelain gives personal meaning to everyday life. This is the case of “The Emperor’s table” or one of its most recent launchings, Lladró Bath. This new line, created in cooperation with the company Supergrif, is Lladró’s first foray in the bath items sector.
- 2004, Lladró Privilege Gold, a new level of loyalty programme within the Privilege program.
- 2005, the company announces its sponsorship of the China Team, the first Chinese sailing team participating in the 32nd America´s Cup which takes place in the city of Valencia.
- 2006, Lladró acquires 100% of the capital and control of the luxury jewelry firm Carrera y Carrera, of which it had become a shareholder in 2001.
back to the top
Lladro Marks, logos, backstamps
With a view of their works in the context of classical artwork, Lladro pieces have a distinct form and color. In 1971, a logo was created that represented the link both art and science, the basis of all Lladró creations in fine porcelain. The logo joined an ancient chemical symbol with a stylized version of a very popular flower from the local Valencian region known as the “bellflower”.
This flower is incorporated as both a tribute to nature, the mother of clay, and to the region of Spain where Lladró was born. The finishing touch to this corporate logo is the Lladró name printed below the art/science symbol.
A Lladro figurine can be dated as well as authenticated by the marking or trademark logo on the underside of its base. A figurine lacking one of the following marks is quite likely to be a fake. The exception to this rule would be the earliest figurines which were not marked - however these are quite rare.
The first Lladro trademark was impressed into the porcelain. This mark was used from approximately 1960 to 1963.
The second Lladro logo was also impressed into the porcelain. This trademark was used from approximately 1965 to 1970.
The third Lladro mark was changed to a blue backstamp which featured the now famous Lladro bellflower. This trademark was used from about 1971 to 1974. The missing accent over the letter "o" was intentional.
The fourth Lladro marking or backstamp was used from approximately 1974 to 1977. The accent was added as well as a trademark sign.
The fifth Lladro stamp was used from around 1977 to 1984. It added the copyright acronym DAISA which stands for Disenos Artisticos E Industriales, S.A.
The sixth Lladro backstamped logo added a copyright date and was used from about 1984 to 1989.
The seventh Lladro marking was introduced in 1990 and is still currently in use. It featured a revised bell flower logo and typeface.
Another Lladro backstamp that you'll see from time to time is the Lladro Collectors Society mark. These are used on "Members Only" figurines.
A final note. Scratched logo on the figurines is considered to be "second factory". But now the Lladro company in USA insure that the scratched logo can also mean that the figurines were discounted and can be in perfect condition, not "second factory". Now if you're buying a figurine for decorative reasons, figurines with a scratched logo can be a wonderful way to acquire the figurine for lower price!
When buying a Lladro figurine as an investment the authentication process is quite important. You certainly want to ensure that you're not spending your money on a fake.
back to the top