El Portal Porcelana

"For People Passionate About Spanish Porcelain"

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Now Out of Print

Latest Lladró Book!

A Collector's Book of Retired Lladró ;
Genuine Figurines & Their Marks

by Peggy Whiteneck
Deals with all Lladró brands!

Click here to order!

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

Click here to order!

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.

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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.

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