Capodimonte Italian Porcelain


The name Capodimonte, meaning "top of the mountain" in Italian, is apropos considering the first pieces were produced a hilltop factory established by King Charles VII. The Royal Factory produced porcelain wares from 1759 to 1780.

Napoli-capodimonte-royalpalaceThe Capodimonte name was synonymous with the finest quality Neapolitan porcelain and ceramics from that period onward. The Royal Factory, which no longer exists, came to being when King Charles VII of Naples married Maria Amalia. She was the granddaughter of Augustus II, who in addition to being the King of Poland, also founded the first European hard paste porcelain factory in Meissen, Germany.  King Charles developed a curiosity surrounding porcelain through his new wife’s family. This interest developed into a quite productive passion that led to many years of research and development before the Royal Factory actually came about.271412

Once the formula for porcelain paste was perfected, many skilled craftsmen and artisans, both men and women, worked to produce fine Capodimonte pieces. Plates, vases, small and large bowls, tea and coffee cups, large and small jugs, sugar bowls, tea caddies, teapots, snuff-boxes, and walking stick handles mounted in gold are among the numerous fine wares produced at the factory in Italy.  The earliest pieces had no markings. Eventually pieces leaving the Royal Factory bore a fleur de lis mark. The earlier fleur de lis marks were fatter and then a thinner version was used. These marks are usually applied on the base of a piece in either blue or gold.  The Royal Factory eventually moved to Spain with King Charles and then several decades later under the direction of his son, Ferdinand, another Capodimonte factory was established in Naples. During this period, the shape, style and decoration of the porcelain production were similar to those made at the original Capodimonte factory, but there were some differences.

Porcelain Capodimonte Style

For instance, the figurines made in Ferdinand's Capodimonte factory took on more lifelike characteristics and tended to reflect the royal court rather than everyday life. More utilitarian wares like dinner sets moved away from pastoral decor to city scenes and those reflecting the excavation and history of Pompeii, for example.

Ferdinand's factory also used the first the blue crown and Neopolitan N mark in the late 1700s, whereas his father's earlier marks were a number of variations of the fleur-di-lis depending on the age of the piece in question. The "Golden Age of Capodimonte" ended when Ferdinand's factory closed in the early 1800s (s8578941 1 lome sources indicate 1817, others purport 1834).

The Capodimonte logo, in the present day, is not necessarily a guarantee of porcelain or ceramic quality. Neither is it a guarantee that the product is in fact porcelain or ceramic. In other words, it pays to do a little research to know exactly what you’re buying, how old it is, what a piece is made of (like cheap composites rather than hard-paste porcelain) and the origin of the item before plunking down a pretty penny on a piece of purported Capodimonte.

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