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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.

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.

"Tang" - The Case of the Wingless Angel

- © Peggy Whiteneck

Collector Brenda McCrary sent me a set of pictures of a child in a long white gown, seated and holding a tambourine (pictured below right). Note the Tang sticker on the front of the item.

Collectors who are very familiar with older items in the NAO brand would have a strong sense of dejá vu in looking at this item, which appears to be none other than NAO's "Angel with Tambourine" (NAO model #11), only without the wings!

Left, frontal view of child with tambourine with Tang sticker. Right, frontal view of NAO "Angel with Tambourine" with wings clearly visible. The models would appear to be otherwise identical. (Any subtle differences noted in the facial detailing would be a function of camera angle.)

It seems clear that the same sculptor was responsible for this child with tambourine, with or without the wings. This and other examples of inter-brand cross-fertilization in Lladró raise a number of "which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg" questions about the direction of the influence. In this case, were Tang artisans copying early NAO models? Or was Tang the originating brand for the model - in which case Tang would have to have been pretty old indeed, since production evidence suggests that NAO has been around about as long as Lladró's regular collection? Or were Lladró sculptors working in both NAO and Tang at once?

Left, back view of Tang child with tambourine - no wings.

Deepening the mystery, collector Jim Algeo shared with me the photos of figure and base of a genuine Tang figurine of a boy with lambs (pictured below) that looks very like the regular collection Lladró model #4509, "Boy with Lambs" but whose minor differences prevent us from concluding that it is a clone/identical twin. (Differences include the posture of the boy's legs and the position of the lambs.) It's a lovely model and, as it so happens, has a Tang mark in a cobalt blue backstamp! (This is unusual because Lladró has seemed, in all other cases, to have reserved the cobalt mark color to items from its regular collection.) The modeling of the lambs is particularly delicate, and the legs on the standing lamb are an example of the kind of modeling risk almost never found in non-Lladró brands - both because most companies lack the skill and because production costs are higher for items with separately articulated limbs.

At right, collector Paul Crawford has graciously supplied a photo of a Tang in his own collection that also has the Tang cobalt blue mark. Although the model is very like Lladró model #4510 ("Girl with Umbrella"), there are notable differences - such as the reverse orientation of the entire figure (Lladró #4510 has the basket on the model's right and the umbrella on her left), the scarf across the lower part of the face on the Tang model, and the slightly different orientation in the two models of the arm holding the basket. (Collector Teresa Bennett has an identical model to this Tang but with an impressed Lladró mark. It's not unusual for Lladró to make modifications in its models, and it's likely that what we eventually came to know as core collection model #4510 began its life as this variant.)

Lladró customer service staff in Spain, in response to continuing collector questions, have lately agreed that some of the most famous core collection sculptors also created several (perhaps all?) of the early NAO models. So it's not all that surprising to see these kinds of affinities between Tang and NAO as well.

So what does that all mean for collectors? Well, speaking strictly for myself, I don't care what brand label they slap on it (Lladró, Tang, NAO, Rosal, Zaphir...): With apologies to Gertrude Stein, a Lladró is a Lladró is a Lladró.

Cobalt Blue Country Stamp But No Maker's Mark? Could Be Tang

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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