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"For People Passionate About Spanish Porcelain"

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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. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you may 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 12/14/2019: For my most recent conclusions about the identity of the "renegade company" in question, see my new Lladró book described below!]

At Last - A New Lladró Book!

The Lladró Guide; A Collector's Reference to Retired Porcelain Figurines in Lladró Brands

My most recent Lladró book has revised and expanded content and remains the only book in print on this topic that isn't just a catalog. Covers all Lladró and Lladró-affiliated brands (regular collection, NAO, Zaphir, Golden Memories, Hispania, Rosal, and Tang) and tells how to distinguish them from imitations and counterfeits. Revised and expanded content includes many new photos and a new chapter on future directions for collectors and the company now that it has passed from family hands. The book is in hard cover, which eliminates that annoying curl-up that happens with paperback books. You can order the book directly from the publisher, Schiffer Books, on Amazon, or from your favorite bookstore using the ISBN 13 number 978-0764358395.

Warning: If you're looking for a catalog of every retired figurine Lladró ever made, this is not the book for you. If you're looking for beautiful, full-color photos of representative models and more in-depth and well-researched information about Lladró and its history and production than you can get in thumbnail photos with captions, this book is what you're looking for.

Retail Price in Hardcover: $45

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