Guest Author - Rachel L Webb
Lladro porcelain is now world famous and highly collectable and where could be better to buy a piece of Lladro than in Spain itself.
The three Lladro brothers Juan, José and Vincente Lladro, rose from a poor background to making the finest and most sought-after porcelain in Europe.
Born into the tiny farming community of Almácera, Valencia on the East Coast they were introduced to the arts by their mother. The young men desiring to provide a better future for themselves and their family built a Moorish-style kiln in the backyard. They learnt about and became intrigued by the Chinese discovery that adding a secret ingredient to clay made it into a fine porcelain which became highly desired by European Royalty.
Inspired with that success the Lladro brothers set themselves a goal to produce the finest porcelain in Europe. They began to create and experiment with formulas for porcelain, pigments, varnishes and firing times. Finally they were content with the unique high-quality porcelain formula that they still use today.
To attain their dreams they borrowed 2,000 pesetas from a friend in 1958 and founded Lladro porcelain in the town of Tavernas Blancas. Their porcelain quickly became desirable and they began to sell their crafts on market stalls while also experimenting on the design of some porcelain figures.
In the 1960s many rich and famous people began to buy and collect the elegant figurines and almost overnight their business took off. With the explosive growth in popularity their factory had to be enlarged many times, until in 1969 the start of what is now known as “Porcelain city" was planned.
"Porcelain city" contains factories, kilns, offices and showrooms which cover 100,000 square feet, and today Lladro employs more than 2,000 people.
Lladro porcelain is still made individually by hand and each piece is carefully and specially finished.
In 1986 Lladro established a Collectors society, releasing their first piece called “Little Pals.” This figure was a big success and now every year a special piece is made which is offered only to members of the collectors’ society.
Lladro is now a worldwide name, and if you were lucky enough to have bought one of the first collectors' pieces, Little Pals for $85, it would be an amazing investment as today if would cost around $3500.00, if you could find one for sale.
The factory and factory shop are open to visitors, for more information on the factory visit the official Lladro website.