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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.

Again, 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.

Was Rosal the Precursor of NAO -
or a Reaction to It...?

by Peggy Whiteneck

[Please Note: The following page contains some conjecture, albeit informed conjecture based on what is currently known or can be known to people outside the Lladró company itself. As such, it should be taken as theory, and I hereby disavow in advance any "Whiteneck says" references, in eBay™ auction descriptions or anyplace else where, without my knowledge or consent, my musings here may be misrepresented as fact.]

It's interesting to note that the item pictured at right, and bearing the Rosal sticker pictured on the previous web page, is an identical twin of one of the first NAO models (# 11), "Angel with Tambourine." This would imply a production chronology that would be at least consistent with José Lladró's claim that Rosal was the forerunner brand for NAO.

Nevertheless, the decision to retain the Rosal brand under another name is perhaps the most astonishing aspect of José Lladró's account. It tells us that what started out as a temporary brand, meant merely as a kind of dueling foil against a threatening competitor, actually became a permanent part of Lladró production - a fateful decision which, from a collector perspective, makes little apparent sense.

José Lladró's memoir makes it clear that the episode with its renegade sculptor(s) was painful and deeply resented by the Lladró brothers. If memory serves José Lladró well and his account of how the Rosal brand eventually became NAO is accurate, then the resentment attached to that whole episode would go some way to explaining the extraordinary ambivalence with which the company has always seemed to regard its NAO product, talking it down in relation to the regular Lladró collection and resisting collector efforts to learn more about it. It would appear that at least some of the resentment toward the renegade company has been displaced onto Lladró's own product.

... And What Was the Renegade Brand?

My first inclination was to believe that José Lladró's unnamed rebel company was Zaphir, for which I have an old catalog and whose factory, as it happens, was located in Chirivella, where José says the upstart factory was located. This Zaphir retail catalog explicitly claims - and pictures with a photograph - Lladró's famous core collection sculptor José Puche as the sculptor for Zaphir, but there is nothing whatever else in the catalog to connect it with Lladró. That would be consistent with the "renegade sculptor" aspect of the story.

The problem was I couldn't square my theory about a Rosal-Zaphir connection with the chronology in José Lladró's memoir; Zaphir began production at least a decade after the timeframe José Lladró gives for the competitive incident described in his book. Moreover, Zaphir didn't cease production until about 1984, and José's memory of the incident in question has its resolution roughly coinciding with the opening of Lladró's own City of Porcelain (Lladró's present factory and facilities), which would have been around 1969.

This matte model of a little girl in a poncho seated on a cushion is pictured in the second edition of my book as an unidentified and unattributable item, one of several kid-in-poncho models whose faces look an awful lot like Lladró but that are nearly always found unmarked. Given what we now now about Rosal, it's very possible such items were Rosal with paper stickers that later fell off. A closeup of the face shows its affinity with Lladró, a tell-tale likeness that other companies have been unable to duplicate successfully. (Photos by the author from an item in her own collection.)

I can't think of any other items enough like Lladró to have been considered such a competitive threat by the Lladrós - and I believe that, by now, we've encountered all of the possible suspects through eBay™ - unless that brand were NAO itself. Actually, that is not beyond the realm of possibility and might account for why José Lladró so scrupulously avoids using the rebel brand name in his account. We already know there were mid-60s era Lladró models being produced with NAO marks, and by one or more of Lladró's own sculptors. On the other hand, José's account makes it pretty clear that the renegade product's name as well as its factory were consigned to the dust-bins of time (while NAO is still alive and well)...The mystery continues!

[Note 7/18/10: For my most recent conclusions about the identity of the "renegade company" in question, see my new book, A Collector's Book of Retired Lladró!]

...Read on!

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

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