Notice to eBay Auction Sellers (et al.)
This web site is copyrighted, so please do not
"cut and paste" from this site into your online auction descriptions - nor
otherwise plagiarize my work! (Yes, it should go without saying; too bad
I've had to discover it doesn't.)
Ah, That Mysterious
The myth of origins of the NAO brand is a tale I've come
to think of as the "Adam's Rib" creation story: "In the beginning was
the core collection, and it begat everything else." According to this version,
NAO came into being
after the three founding brothers decided that it would be nice to
have a brand that would make fine porcelain
affordable for a broader public.
This breath-taking model of a NAO "Goose"(#52)
is over a foot tall! It has a companion piece (#53) in which the goose's neck is
bent to preen its breast. These were made in both glazed and matte (unglazed)
versions. Both models were recently retired (2001) at a last retail price
of $60 each. Identical models have been found with old impressed core
collection marks. Just to confuse matters, this
pair was also made in a somewhat smaller version called "Goose-Reduced"
(NAO #s 54 and 55), retired in 1991. I've recently been advised by
Lladró customer services in Spain that the sculptor for
these models was Fulgencio García, who was one of the most famous
of the Lladró sculptors. (Photo by the author from her
However, it has become clear to veteran
collectors over the years that the evolution of the NAO brand was contemporaneous
with the appearance of the core collection rather than grafted onto it later.
Which came first is a chicken-or-the-egg question, but it seems clear that the earliest relationship
between NAO-marked items and the earliest core collection models is quite a
bit more symbiotic than anyone had previously suspected.
In fact, according to a recent admission on the
official NAO porcelain web site, "NAO was founded
in 1968 under the name Rosal." Thanks to alert collector Robert E. (Gene)
Woods for calling this information to my attention. As it happens, Gene
purchased, in the UK, a
pheasant model, which he indicates is an exact twin of the
regular collection rarity #331.13. (For a picture of this pheasant and
more information on this "cloning" phenomenon,
Items Known to Have Been Produced Under Both Marks.)
With all due respect to the Official NAO web site, collectors are advised to exercise
caution in drawing conclusions from items posted in that site's "Historical Catalog."
In updating retirements and new issues in the NAO web catalog here on El Portal Porcelana,
I came across several listings for items on the official NAO web site that were paired
with the wrong photos of older items from the regular Lladró collection
produced too late for there to have been NAO clones of those items; the titles and sculptors
do not match the photos of the items in question. The NAO division of Lladró is
struggling with the huge challenge of reconstructing its historical catalog,
so just be aware that it has some incomplete information as well as inaccuracies
while they are sorting things out.
A Collector's Book of Retired Lladró
by Peggy Whiteneck
Old Line Publishing, LLC
Ever since its founding in the 1950s and its subsequent, stellar rise to global prominence,
collectors have been fascinated with the singular modeling and attention to detail in
Lladró Spanish porcelain figurines. Eventually, collectors discovered that Lladró
wasn't just one brand, but several. At the same time, other companies began to sprout up all
over Spain, particularly around Lladró's own region in Valencia, working
"in the Lladró style" and hoping to catch a ride on the tailwinds of its popularity.
This book is written to acquaint readers with retired figurines in all the Lladró and
Lladró-affiliated brands and to help distinguish them from the work of other Spanish
companies. The book features substantive chapters on the Lladró "core brand,"
NAO by Lladró, Zaphir, Golden Memories, Rosal, and Hispania, complete with
representative photos for each brand.
Retail Price: $29.95
S & H: $5.95