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Capodimonte and the Ginori Mark

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Capodimonte and the Ginori Mark

Postby wdel » March 17th, 2009, 12:56 am

Over the years I have written a number of articles in attempts to alleviate all the misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding the famous Capodimonte mark consisting of the Crown (it’s actually a Coronet) over the letter "N" and its connection to the Ginori factory in Florence. It seems, however, that no matter how hard I try I simply cannot overcome the more than two hundred years of misinformation perpetuated by Ginori itself.
The use of the Crown and "N" must also bear the name Ginori on pieces made after 1890 in order to confirm it is Ginori porcelain or earthenware. If it doesn’t say Ginori then do not assume that it is a genuine Ginori piece. The company has,always protected that logo and the trademark. Currently, and at least through the year 2014, Ginori has international trademark rights.

The problem of dating pieces with the Crown over "N" mark dating from 1830 to about 1890 (see image below) that does not contain the word "Ginori" is that the Richard-Ginori company stole the mark from the King's manufactory in Capodimonte, Naples. This is the actual Ginori mark. Study it closely. Figurines and vases dating between this period do not say "Ginori" but the style of the mark does does not vary. It is always under the glaze and always in blue. There are always five rays emanating from the base of the crown and each ray terminates with a ball at the tip. In order to ascertain if a piece was made by Ginori one must study the overall figure. Is there a strong attention to detail? Are the glazes and paints applied with extreme care? If one is not familiar with Ginori porcelains from this period it is best to assume it is not a Ginori product.

Mark used from 1830 to 1890 without the word "Ginori"

The fault for the overuse of the term Capodimonte when applied to pottery and porcelain can be squarely laid at the feet of the Ginori family. In much the same way that the Carbone Import Company of Boston popularized the term “Murano” for all Venetian glass, so Ginori made popular the term “Capodimonte” for pieces done in a revival Bas-Relief (all those raised figures found on cups, vases and plates). Those early examples were originally created in the mid 1800’s in Doccia, outside Florence, not Capodimonte. Ginori used the term simply to advertise this line of pottery with the label “Capodimonte”.
Long before the Richard family of Milan purchased the Ginori Company in 1896, the son of the founder of the Ginori porcelain factory, Lorenzo II, found himself envious of the porcelains that had been produced at the Royal Manufactory of King Carlos of Naples.
According to their historians at the Richard-Ginori Company, Lorenzo attempted to establish another factory. In 1779, they created new kilns and buildings in the diocese of San Donato in the province of Milan. Within two years the operation failed. In 1781, the kilns were dismantled and the workers, tools, molds and material were moved to Capodimonte where, once again, Ginori was unable to establish itself. The Capodimonte experiment lasted less than two full years and it closed the doors of its Neapolitan factory in 1783.
Again, according to the historians of the Richard-Ginori company, Ginori began using the Capodimonte mark about 1830. According to their website: “Under these objects the mark N with the crown was stamped as it was the mark of the Bourbon Royal Factory of Ferdinand closed with the arrival of Napoleon from whom the Ginori had bought the models, the forms and the decorations.” The historians added: “Today the "N" of Naples with the crown is printed on some articles even on the bas-reliefs, but to authenticate the production of Doccia (Florence), the mark of the factory, the name Ginori, is stamped to distinguish this productions from others.” Personally, I do not believe the statement that Ginori ever purchased any molds used by the Royal Porcelain Manufactory. There are two reasons for doubting that Ginori ever obtained these original molds as claimed in the company literature.
In 1799 Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Italy. Prior to that invasion the French had incited the Neapolitans into a revolution against the Spanish government that ruled them. The King fled the country and before the French arrived the factory fell prey to the angry mobs of Neapolitans. The factory was destroyed by the rampaging mobs and completely stripped, including the lead roof of the building. Literally, nothing was left, including the valuable molds. Secondly, when the French had regained control of the country they tried to re-establish the factory but it lost its luster and importance under French directorship. Certainly, had the molds survived, the French would have not sold them to anyone if they had intended to restart production. The factory limped along for several more years but at the end of March 1807 the French military occupation wanted to dispose itself of the responsibility of the Royal Factory and in May of the same year it was transferred to Giovanni Poulard-Prad, a representative of an "anonymous" company made up of Giovanni Plan, Gabriele Gaspard Junoz and Luigi Ippolito Beranger. The deposit was paid for by a certain Carlo Rilliet, a merchant and native of Geneva.
Poulard was forced to sell half ownership to Claudio Guillard and Giovanni Tourne in 1817. He sold his remaining half to both gentlemen in 1819.
Perhaps the new and artistically inferior molds left behind by the last owners were sold to Ginori, but these were certainly not the molds of King Ferdinand or his Royal Porcelain factory. The molds, in question were simply obtained from a factory, unrelated to the Royal Manufactory that had once occupied the space where the King’s former porcelain factory once stood.
I don’t believe that a company has ever been happier to see a competitor fail than Ginori was when the Royal Porcelain Manufactory at Capodimonte closed in 1799. It seems that the envy of a 19th century Marquis has caused more confusion and frustration than most modern collectors can handle.
It should be noted that the newly formed company of Richard-Ginori (October 11, 1896) opened six shops in 1897. These included locations in Florence, Bologna, Turin, Rome and, of course, Naples. These, however, were retail stores, not manufactories. All examples marked with the Coronet, letter "N" and with or without the word Ginori were produced in Doccia, Florence.
The Following Examples are also true Ginori Marks related to Capodimonte-styled pieces. The first mark, Crown over "G", was used from 1850 to 1890. The second mark was used from 1870 to 1930,

Walter Del Pellegrino, Forum Administrator and author of Italian Pottery Marks from Cantagalli to Fornasetti, and other Italian pottery guides
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