Capodimonte porcelain originally referred to the name of a manufacturer, Capo di Monte, which produced fine porcelain in the early 18th century. Nowadays the term Capidomonte reflects more of a style than a type of porcelain. It is made by a variety of manufacturers in all parts of the world.
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Established early in the 18th century, in what was at the time the Kingdom of Naples, the Capo di Monte porcelain company was started by Charles of Bourbon, son of Phillip V of Spain, to produce fine porcelain that would later compete with Meissen porcelain. In the early years, the factory produced plates, vases, bowls, cups, jugs, teapots and walking stick handles. The factory continued to produce dinnerware and ornaments for 64 years. A second company was run from 1771 to 1806, when the French occupation of Naples began. Since the closure of these original factories, Capodimonte porcelain has been manufactured by other companies using the original markings.
Logos and Marks
Originally the blue crown over an "N" (Neapolitan) logo was painted or impressed on Capodimonte porcelain products. These marks were considered to be indicators of porcelain of the highest quality between 1759 and 1780. Nowadays the logo indicates a style of porcelain. It may not guarantee that the item is of high quality, or that it is even porcelain or ceramic. Typically, in addition to the logo, you will find a factory mark, or backstamp, indicating where the item was made and by whom. Original pieces included a fleur-de-lis mark or a blue crown set over a written "R." The logo is not protected, so the name CapodiMonte now indicates the item is made in the same style of the original Capodimonte porcelain. Collectors look for the backstamps that indicate a true Capodimonte piece.
Capodimonte porcelain products are often dominated by flowers: blooming roses around figures of naked babies, daisies and irises amid doves and swans, and fruit decorated bowls, candlesticks, chandeliers and tea sets. Typically the body of the item is white, and the flowers, fruit and costumes that adorn it are coloured. You may find gold added to some pieces. The delicate details in the flower petals, lace, ribbons and other materials are indicators of fine craftsmanship. In lesser quality porcelain, or copies, the detail isn't as fine. True Capodimonte porcelain is often only found through antique dealers.
Valuating Capodimonte porcelain is difficult. It has been made by one company or another for nearly 300 years, and records of what was made and when were not kept for much of that time. Any known records that were available have since been destroyed. Because it is a style nowadays, and not a specific maker of a certain product, the quality or legitimacy of the porcelain is not guaranteed. Limited edition items typically have a higher value than those that are mass produced. Pieces that have a logo and a backstamp are often easily verified by an antique dealer. Those that have no marking are likely not true Capodimonte porcelain.
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