The Royal Factory of Capodimonte, established in Naples, Italy, in 1743, is a testament to the grandeur of the Bourbon dynasty.
A Royal Beginning
Founded during the reign of King Charles VII, who later became Charles III of Spain, and his wife, Maria Amalia of Saxony, the factory was a symbol of royal ambition to rival the renowned Meissen porcelain of Saxony.
Where is the Capodimonte factory?
The Capodimonte factory was originally located in Naples, Italy, near the Capodimonte Palace. Today, the former factory serves as a museum, preserving and showcasing the most famous artefacts of the Neapolitan tradition.
The Capodimonte Difference
What sets Capodimonte Figurines apart is its unique "suppleness". Unlike the hard-paste porcelain of Northern Europe, Capodimonte's soft-paste porcelain was the result of a unique blend of various types of clays from Southern quarries, mixed with feldspar, but devoid of kaolin.
This distinctive mixture allowed for the creation of intricate miniatures, true works of art meticulously crafted by the brush tip.
The Artisans of Capodimonte
The factory was home to a host of skilled artisans, including Vittorio Schepers and Giovanni Caselli, along with the Florentine sculptor Giuseppe Gricci.
Their collective expertise led to the production of a wide variety of pieces, including the highly popular nativity figurines of the 18th century. The factory's artistic director, Domenico Venuti, founded a school of art that produced exquisite tableware and precious vases, now housed in the Museum of Capodimonte Collection.
Is Capodimonte Made in Spain?
While the founder of the Capodimonte factory, King Charles VII, later became Charles III of Spain, the original Capodimonte porcelain was not made in Spain. It was made in Naples, Italy.
However, when King Charles III moved to Madrid, he took artists and workers from Capodimonte with him, leading to the establishment of the Royal Factory of Porcelains of Buen Retiro in Spain.
The Legacy Lives On
Despite the factory's closure following the Napoleonic invasion of 1808, the legacy of Capodimonte porcelain lives on. Today, the former factory serves as a museum, preserving and showcasing the most famous artefacts of the Neapolitan tradition.
Capodimonte porcelain continues to be a symbol of excellent craftsmanship, its artistic products still crafted by expert hands, and admired globally.