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History of Capodimonte Porcelain

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The etymology of the word "CapoDiMonte" predates Biblical times and Biblical languages. The earliest references demonstrate CapoDiMonte to be the position that is above the pinnacle of a mountain. The Greek Septuagint interprets the reference CapoDiMonte as "Above the Mountain", interpreted to be God and/or the voice of the Almighty, above the highest of human reach, therefore; ... above the highest point of a mountain top.

Capodimonte porcelain is the finest and most perfect grade of Italian artistic pottery and one of the most appreciated handicrafts for its craftsmanship and detailed qualities. The name Capodimonte (Top of the hill) is mainly binded to the city of Naples and, particularly, to the kingdom of Charles III of Bourbon who, in 1743, built on the hill near to the royal palace, just called Capodimonte, a factory to produce porcelain that can reach the glory of the best European factories, first of all the Meissen factory. The production, firstly identified with the Bourbon lily then, under Ferdinand IV with the famous crowned N, ends near 1820.

In the period between the two World Wars, while the area surrounding Naples maintained mainly the flower production, around Milan the tradition bounded forward. In the fifties, the inspiration of famous sculptors like Borsato, Cappe, Fabris, Maggione, Cazzola, Pezzato, Scapinello, De Martino, and Merli sustains mainly the figurine tradition. A trend develops also in Veneto, between the cities of Vicenza and Bassano, cradle of Palladio and fertile ground of artists and artisans. As heiress of a school that from over 200 years is bringing to the world the taste and inventiveness of Italian porcelain. Capodimonte Arte’ is representing today an example of continuity, search and innovation in the tradition, having melted the creative Neapolitain fantasy together with the formal and chromatic originality of Veneto.

The origin of Capodimonte porcelain dates back to the early eighteenth century and geographically to the Kingdom of Naples. The father of Capodimonte porcelain is considered to be Charles of Bourbon (1716-1788) son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Italian, Elizabeth Farnese. Charles was coronated King of Naples and Sicily on August 3rd, 1734 in Palermo Cathedral becoming Charles VII (1738-1759). In 1738 he married Maria Amalia daughter of the King of Saxony, Augustus III of Poland and granddaughter of Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland and founder of the first European hard paste porcelain factory in Meissen in 1710.

It was from this union that Charles’ interest in porcelain production in Naples first sprang. His desire was to create a porcelain production of a quality comparable with the factory in Saxony, whose methods and ingredients were only known by the chemist Bottiger. Charles initially allocated a small building in the Royal Palace to be dedicated to porcelain production under the direction of Giovanni Caselli and the chemist Livio Ottavio Schepers, who had originally worked at the Neapolitan Mint.


In spite of many efforts, including those underhand, the formula for porcelain remained a mystery. From the many investigations Charles finally concluded that the conditions in this little building were not suitable for porcelain production because there was not sufficient space for the ovens and driers. In 1743 Charles then commissioned the construction of a new factory in the Royal Wood of Capodimonte, the architect being Ferdinando Sanfelice.




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(305) 573-1330
Garrett Hart, Vice President
CapoDiMonte, Inc.
3428 Ehrlich Rd.
Tampa, FL 33618




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