I shared a personal story in my last post, but now I would like to highlight some of the interesting story of Lladró itself. There is something about a Lladró that makes it instantly identifiable. This makes sense when one considers that the founders and their company developed many methods independent of the conventional channels; so, the result was bound to be distinctive.
The history begins with three brothers: Juan, José and Vicente Lladró. Like their father, they were expected to pursue careers in agriculture, but their mother wanted them to develop their potential in other ways and enrolled them in a school for arts and crafts. Inspired by what they learned, the brothers built their first kiln in 1951, producing floral ornamentation for lamps. The quality of their work was quickly recognized and within two years, they they were encouraged to get a loan and establish a proper company and plant, Lladró Porcelains. They teamed up with a Polish chemist Adolfo Pucilowski who helped them work out the details of reliable and consistent production. By 1969, the current factory was established and the company was exporting regularly to the U.S. By then, the collectability of these works was already apparent in catalogs of the time.
As an homage to the Lladrós’ beginnings, I present here figurines that illustrate some of this floral detail. The first is a closeup of Demure Centaur Girl (#5320) discussed in an earlier post.
No matter how small the detail, each little fragment is placed meticulously by hand. Another series of lovely girls has a tropical island theme.
Notice the texture of the torsos. These are in the Gres style, which are made using a different ceramic formula. Much of the surface is unglazed, giving it the look of pottery, and whatever glazing there is has a different finish than the main production pieces. I have to tip my hat to Lladró for their ability to express female beauty in such a variety of styles and media.
Each girl here has only a single flower, but a closer examination reveals a remarkable delicacy and detail. One can easily imagine the time and effort it took to assemble these pieces and even the design of the boxes required considerable imagination: to ensure they would arrive at their destinations intact.
Lladró (official website)