Nowadays, the term Capo-di-Monte (with or without hyphens) is applied to a popular Italian style of porcelain items & decorative ceramics, characterized by their high-relief surface detailing. Colors are usually bright against a light background and the shapes are quite regular. Porcelain figurines in this style also abound and resemble the Meissen style.
Most common themes are Neoclassical or Mythological motifs and encrusted Floral ensembles, collectively also inspired by the prevalent Renaissance spirit of the period it was first introduced. Portrayal of Puttiand Cherubs is a dominant feature of most examples. Highly ornate and impressive, they are very collectible and are primarily used for display, although several Capo-di-Monte ware is functional as in tableware & dinner service sets.
Capo-di-Monte's journey as a company, which is credited for the proliferation of this style around the 17thC, is quite long and steeped in tradition. A brief account of its history can be summed up as follows (from our Ceramics marks guides):
- The original CAPO DI MONTE factory was located near Naples ca 1743 - 1759
- Another factory where Majolica Pottery Artisan F. BRANDI had his studio since 1654 within Naples was founded by Ferdinand IV (son of Charles III, King of Spain) in 1771 and was named NAPLES ROYAL PORCELAIN FACTORY - FABRICA REALE FERDINANDEA - Directors & Artists include CARLO COCCORE (ca 1784 - 1808) - GIORDANO (ca 1790s) - DEL VECCHIO (ca 1800 - 1808)
- All production stopped in 1806 and gradually all assets of the company were sold to GIOVANNI POULARD PRAD of Doccia (near Florence) and the factory closed completely in 1834
- Independently, a factory was opened in 1737 by CARLO GINORI [d.1757] in Doccia and many of the original CAPO DI MONTE molds were acquired and transferred to GINORI ca 1811 - 1835
- Around the same period, GIULIO RICHARD (with others) founded a factory in Milan in 1841 that was later renamed SOCIETA CERAMICA RICHARD in 1873
- Eventually, GINORI merged with SOCIETA CERAMICA RICHARD in 1896 and formed SOCIETA CERAMICA RICHARD-GINORI
- Filed bankruptcy in 2013 and was acquired by GUCCI, who maintains all assets and rebranded all products in their name
Original maker's marks used by this company have been copied and imitated profusely, especially their Crowned N
logo in countless formats or variations. Members of our Ceramics marks guides
, will find all related logos or back-stamps used on Capo-di-Monte items for accurate identification, including both original and later copies or forged marks. Attributing Capo-di-Monte items correctly is also important in determining age as many 19th or early 20thC Capo-di-Monte issues are considered valuable and collectible in their own right, partly due to their age, but also because of their quality and immense beauty. Their aforementioned and famous Crowned N mark
and the original Fleur de Lys
impressed or hand-scribed marks have been mimicked extensively by many companies worldwide since the 18thC, including by many newer Art Ceramics studios in Italy, who often use the original name of Capo-di-Monte in some sort of adaptation, and of course on recent imports from the Far East.
Items with the original genuine Capo di Monte marks are EXTREMELY
rare. However, antique or vintage specimens in that style, for example those made by Ginori or companies in Germany, France and elsewhere by reputable porcelain factories, and which are by far the most commonly encountered models in today's antique fairs or through dealers, are of exceptional quality and very desirable with collectors. These fetch consistently high prices at auction and sell quickly. For newer examples, condition and decorative value have the greatest impact on pricing. Below are some examples from our Pricing Guides database