Lladró

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Lladró Comercial SA
Type S.A. (corporation)
Founded 1953
Headquarters Tavernes Blanques, Spain
Products Ceramic art, porcelain figurines
Website www.lladro.com

Lladró (Valencian pronunciation: [ʎaˈðɾo]) is a Spanish company based in Tavernes Blanques, Valencia, that produces porcelain figurines.

History[edit]

The company was founded in 1953 by three brothers, Juan, José and Vicente Lladró, in the village of Almàssera near Valencia. Starting with items such as vases and jugs, it wasn't until 1956 that they started producing the sculptures for which they are now most famous. Enthusiasm for the items produced by the Lladró brothers saw their small workshop expand several times until eventually they moved to Tavernes Blanques in 1958.

  • 1962, the brothers open the Professional Training School at their site in Tavernes Blanques to share their knowledge and experience. It still operates today keeping alive the vision and philosophy of the brothers by imparting it to a new generation.
  • 1969, on October 13, the City of Porcelain is opened by the Spanish Minister for Industry. It took 2 years to build and was designed to provide the best environment that encourages the artistic development of works produced. Currently over 2000 people work here.
A set of Lladró figurines
  • 1970, Lladró begins to use a new material, gres, for its sculptures. It has earthy colours and is used frequently in natural themes.
  • 1973, Lladró buys 50% of the North American company Weil Ceramics & Glass.
  • 1974, the first blue emblem, consisting of a bellflower and ancient chemical symbol, appears on the base to show the origin of the sculpture. The Elite Collection is also launched.
  • 1984, Rosa, Mari Carmen and Juan Vicente Lladró joined the company. One child of each of the founding members. They underwent a long apprenticeship before they were permitted responsibility in the company.
  • 1985, the Collector's Society is formed. The first annual sculpture, called "Little Pals", can fetch several thousand dollars at auction due to the small number of members able to purchase it in the early years.
  • 1986, Lladró forms an alliance with the Mitsui Group creating a subsidiary called Bussan Lladró based in Tokyo
  • 1988, on September 18 in New York the Lladró Museum and Gallery is opened on 57th Street in Manhattan.
  • 1993, Lladró receives the Principe Felipe award for internationalisation.
  • 2001, Lladró Privilege, a new customer loyalty programme, takes over from the Lladró Collectors Society.
  • 2004, Lladró Privilege Gold, a new level of loyalty programme within the Privilege program.
  • 2011, Lladró Privilege Society changes into Lladro Gold, Privilege name is dropped and only one level of membership is offered.
  • 2013, Lladró Expands into the lighting market with Belle De Nuit, a collection of chandeliers, lamps and sconces.
  • 2013, Lladro Releases the first piece in their new Dazzle collection which uses a geometric black and white design.

Technique[edit]

Lladró figurine called "En sus pensamientos"

The manufacturing ingredients are kept under tight guard. The process is detailed in a number of Lladró publications and is fully on view for tour groups and individuals at the City of Porcelain. Lladró figurines are made out of an original blend of hard-paste porcelain, which gives the products their unique porcelain characteristics. The glaze ingredients also add to the look of the figures and are an industry secret.

Marketing[edit]

Lladró figurines are given an additional title in English as well as the Spanish original, however these names are frequently not translations (figurative or literal) but new names that are more likely to appeal to an English speaking audience. An area for some confusion is that the names of the pieces can change throughout their run so the same figurine may end up with several titles.

Popular culture[edit]

  • In an episode of the sitcom Will and Grace (season 7 episode 12, "Christmas Break"), Will's mother Marilyn (portrayed by Blythe Danner) had a collection of Lladró, her favorite being 'Ouisan, the bashful geisha.' She was described as being priceless; the humour of the episode revolved around the fact that Grace had broken her and was fearful of Marilyn finding out, as she was very precious to her (she declared she would "wait until April and pour bleach on her (the culprit's) roses").
  • In The Nanny (season 5 episode 5), Fran's paternal aunt Freida contemplates on whether she may or may not hire Niles as a butler. She decides that she should because she wants someone to dust her Lladró collection. Nonetheless, she pronounces it wrong ("Lardo") and makes a smart remark about it to Fran's mother Sylvia ("You can pronounce it, I can afford it").
  • In Big Love Roman Grant's wife Adaleen has a large Lladró collection.
  • In Russell Brand Radio Show (BBC Radio 2 episode), Russell refers to the chink of his hard buttocks hitting the porcelain seat of the toilet as 'making the sound of two Lladro figurines kissing'.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]