Welcome
Welcome to Italian Pottery Marks

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content, and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple, and absolutely free, so please join our community today.

History of the Fratelli Fanciullacci Factory

Read articles about the history of Italian ceramics and keep up with the latest events affecting the ceramics industry

History of the Fratelli Fanciullacci Factory

Postby wdel » July 4th, 2009, 10:03 pm

Image


In my book, "Italian Pottery Marks from Cantagalli to Fornasetti" and also in another section of this forum I had given a history of the famous ceramics factory of the Fratelli (Brothers) Fanciullacci. That history was based on several older sources. Those sources, it turns out, were incorrect in several aspect, particularly the early history of the company. As a researcher I failed to confirm the facts independently and thus I am guilty in perpetuating what is, in effect, a myth. Now that I have time available I have begun a more intense investigation of my own and I ask the readers to forgive my original lapse of proper research protocol. This the revised and amended history as I understand to be today.

The Fanciullacci family name has been tied to the ceramics industry since the 1700’s. According the history of the world famous Richard-Ginori porcelain company the Fanciullacci family had collaborated with the Ginori family since the foundation of the factory in 1737. Again, according to the Ginori company’s own historical records the Fancillacci clan was so closely tied to the factory that in 1757, upon the death the founder, Carlo Ginori, the Fanciullacci family tried to wrestle control from Ginori’s son, Lorenzo, who was then under legal age. The attempted coup was thwarted by Lorenzo’s mother, Mariana Garzoni Venturi. acting as interim manager until her son came of age.

In 1759 Giovan Battista Fanciullacci joined the Ginori company as a miniaturist and porcelain painter. In 1772 he was promoted to department head and in 1806 he was named Director. He retired in 1825. His works are rarely seen but are greatly desired by porcelain collectors.
Also employed by Ginori during the early to mid eighteenth century was the chemist A.M. Fanciullacci who created the glazes and pigments. Also on the Ginori payroll was Pietro Fanciullacci, chemist and miniaturist painter. Later Pietro opened an independent studio where he created wonderful works of art presumably on Ginori blanks. His mark was P.F. inside a circle.

The Fratelli Fanciullacci pottery was established in Capraia Fiorentino in 1862 (conflicting reports give a date of 1858) by Raffaello Fanciullacci (1803-1881). The company originally confined itself to making simple, utilitarian, table and kitchenware, jars, etc (stovigliere, in Italian). Raffaello had previously served as the Director of the Ginori factory in Sesto Fiorentino.
By the late 1870's he was joined by his son, Demetrio (1841-1895) and later, by Demetrio's sons, the brothers Ilario (1862-1924), Giovanni (1864-1933), Amadeo (1863-1933) and Alfredo (1880-1961). By 1880 the pottery's name was changed from Ceramiche Capraia (with the figure of a wolf and a goat as its logo) to The Brothers (Fratelli) Fanciullacci.

In 1911 it was decided to move the operation from Capraia to the other side of the Arno River in Montelupo. The reason for the move was the arrival of the Florence-Pisa railroad through the town's center. With the railroad in place the firm had an easy, inexpensive, means of getting their product to vital cities in Italy and at the same time reduce their selling prices to an extremely attractive wholesale cost.

They were such an immediate success that by 1914 the company had over 1,000 different molds thus making their range of offerings one the most appealing in the country and making the pottery the largest employer in the area.
During these early years the firm continued to concentrate on the manufacture of stovigliere but slowly branched out onto a rich repertoire of artistic products. They understand the pulse of both the Italian people and American consumer (the company's main export destination. The brothers produced works in the latest styles as soon as they appeared. They created new items in Raffaellesco, Istoriati, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Futurism, Cubism, Modernism, Avante-Garde. Whatever the public wanted the brothers gave them.

At the end of World War II, Colorificio, the parent company of Bitossi. took control of Fratelli Fanciullacci but allowed the family to operate the factory with very little corporate interference.

On November 4,1966 the Arno River flooded. It was the worst flood since 1557. Many people died and many of the art treasures, ancient manuscripts and monuments of Florence were lost. More than forty years later restoration and preservation work still continues. In Montelupo Fiorentino the Fratelli Fanciullacci was hard hit. More than a thousand priceless molds, many dating back to company’s founding in 1911, were lost. The kilns were destroyed, the raw clay inventory was wiped out as was the company inventory of finished products destined for export to the U.S.. The company closed down operations for more than a year and without work many of the firm’s most talented artist and craftsmen left the area to find work and new housing for their families. Some production was shifted to a new temporary factory in Florence while the Montelupo site was being renovated. Production and quality slipped dramatically in Montelupo after 1966 and this is the year given by collectors as the last of the Fanciullacci ceramics worthy of collecting. Fratelli Fanciullacci made a brave attempt to re-establish itself but it never seemed to recreate that spark of artistic genius that allowed it to shine in the first half of the twentieth century.

Fratelli Fanciullacci ceased all operations in 1988.

The following photos of the abandoned Fanciullacci factory were taken by Fox Capaldi of Montelupo in 2008. They have been posted here with his kind permission. I personally find them hauntingly beautiful in their composition and they evoke, in me, a sense of melancholy. The captions that accompany each photo are Fox's own poetic words.

Under a proposal entitled "Intervention of the Rehabilitation of the Ceramics Fanciullacci, Viale Umberto I °, the Construction of Studios" the city of Montelupo purchased the property from the Fanciullacci family in 2004. Four later Fox's photos reveal that the property remains sadly dormant.

Walter Del Pellegrino

Image

There is nobody out there, a spectral silence is only broken by cold wind.


Image

The misfortune struck hard on the factory of the Brothers Fanciullacci


Image

On a beautiful spring's day a bolt of lightning break the roof and sent in ruin the whole production of pistachios


Image

The Entry to the Factory - From not different fate died their neighbours overwhelmed by rats and by ceramic's dealer
wdel
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: February 13th, 2009, 10:16 am

Re: History of the Fratelli Fanciullacci Factory

Postby YayItaly » May 19th, 2017, 9:17 pm

Loved reading this!
YayItaly
 
Posts: 5
Joined: May 19th, 2017, 8:24 pm

Re: History of the Fratelli Fanciullacci Factory

Postby wdel » May 20th, 2017, 3:59 pm

Thank you
Walter
wdel
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: February 13th, 2009, 10:16 am


Return to HISTORIES, NEWS, DISCUSSIONS

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron
suspicion-preferred