El Portal Porcelana

"For People Passionate About Spanish Porcelain"

Home Page

   Regular Collection
      (NAO Catalog)
          (Retired 2004)
          (Retired 2005)
          (Retired 2006)
          (Retired 2007)
          (Retired 2008)
          (Retired 2009-10)
          (Retired 2011-12)
     (Rosal Begets NAO?)
     (More Curious Yet!)
     (Zaphir Catalog)
   Golden Memories
      (GM Catalog)
     (Hispania Catalog)

Made in Spain
(No Brand Name)


Other Companies



Favorite Links

Slide Show

A Collector's Book of Retired Lladró

Genuine Figurines & Their Marks

by Peggy Whiteneck
Deals with all Lladró brands!

For those interested in glass figurines, Fenton Art Glass Beasts, Birds & Butterflies is another of Peggy's books!

Also for those interested in glass, Fenton Art Glass Fairy Lamps & Lights is Peggy's latest book! It focuses on small, candle-lit "lamps" that were first used in the Victorian era to light dark hallways before the invention of gaslight or electricity.

The publisher for these works has gone out of business, but I am pursuing other publishing options for revised and expanded editions of all three. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can still find advance-ordered and used copies of these books at online booksellers.

About Rosal- One More Mystery
in Lladró Production

by Peggy Whiteneck

I first heard about this brand from a collector, then later found a reference to it on the official NAO web site, where it is identified as a sort of precursor brand for the NAO collection.

This picture of two essentially identical (save for the books at the base of the figure on the right) models of a girl in smock have that unmistakable elongated style of old Lladró. The item with the books at right is marked Rosal (impressed mark); the one at left has an impressed NAO mark. (Photo courtesy of Gene Woods.)

Then, in 2002, José Lladró, the middle of the three founding brothers, and by many accounts the business brains behind the company, came out with a memoir whose English-language edition is titled Passenger of Life; Memories and Opinions of an Entrepreneur (Spain: Editorial Planeta, 2002). In a chapter called "A Providential Conflict," Lladró describes how, "in the mid-sixties," two (!) of Lladró's sculptors and one of its chemists turned renegade and struck out to establish their own competing factory in Chirivella. (Ironically, one of the oft-told tales of Lladró's company history is of the three young Lladró brothers striking out to form their own porcelain works after a labor dispute with their employer, another ceramic factory. So it would have been surprising if at least a couple of Lladró's own employees hadn't taken a leaf from this famous legend.)

Despite his claim that this upstart company produced debased versions of Lladró products, José Lladró's account makes it clear the brothers saw these products as a genuine threat. By his account, the brothers decided to fight fire with fire, setting up their own rival brand to go head to head with the renegade company (a rival that José Lladró, unfortunately but probably deliberately, does not name). This new brand was named Rosal because, according to José Lladró, the brothers wanted to avoid dragging the Lladró name into an ugly competitive fracus.

And an ugly competitive fracus it apparently became, including a messy law-suit in which Lladró prevailed and ended up buying out the renegade company. To quote José Lladró, "That company turned out to be unimportant to us and closed down shortly afterwards" (José Lladró, p. 98). Rosal, meanwhile, "became the seed of what today is Nao, our second brand" (José Lladró, p.99).

Because Rosal wasn't intended (at least at its inception) as a permanent brand, it was initially identified only with a sticker (above left), bearing a simple stylized leaf logo and the name "Rosal." Use of the Spanish word for the country of origin (ESPAÑA) would indicate that, consistent with the limited purpose of the brand, these items were not meant for export to the U.S., where import laws have long required that the country of origin be identified in English.

From a collecting standpoint, the Rosal brand may provide an explanation for why there seem to be so many unmarked but known NAO models circulating on the secondary market. It now seems probable that at least some of these catalogued but unmarked items are earlier Rosal versions from which the sticker has been lost. The inherently temporary nature of stickers would also explain why relatively few Rosal items explicity attributable as such are seen today.

Recently, however, collector Robert E. (Gene) Woods sent me a picture (above right) of the simple impressed mark that appears on the base of at least two of the Rosal items in his own collection, which might indicate that, at a certain point, the Lladró company began to envision Rosal's potential as a more permanent brand.

Subsequently, collector Jose Juan Nadal Cuesta sent me the photo here of a Rosal squirrel, which also has an impressed Rosal mark.

Next Page

A Collector's Book of Retired Lladró

by Peggy Whiteneck
published by
Old Line Publishing, LLC
Hampstead, Maryland

The publisher for this book has ceased publication, and I am now at work on a revised and expanded edition, with a couple of promising leads for a new publishing option. For the moment, then, this book will only be available on the retail market from advance-ordered stock. You can still buy it used - but avoid the scalpers and DO NOT PAY HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS FOR THESE SECOND-HAND BOOKS! There are plenty of reasonably priced secondary market copies still available at online book sellers. Stay tuned to this site for future news on the revised edition!

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

Back to Top of Page ·  Back Home ·  Contact Us

The logo background and side border graphic on this site are provided courtesy of Absolute Background Textures Archive (www.grsites.com/textures). All other content and graphics on this site are © Peggy Whiteneck unless otherwise noted in individual photographic credits. No reproduction of any part of this content is permitted without the express permission of the web site author.