Lladro is without a doubt one of the most famous and easily recognized Spanish brands. Its connection to culture, luxury and Spanish art is universally known. The Lladro figurines are now the signature product of a multinational enterprise that has never stopped being a family business.
History of the Lladro Figurines
Lladro, a Spain-based company in Tavernes Blanques, Valencia, is the original home of the famous porcelain figurines. Three brothers – Juan, José and Vicente Lladro – founded Lladro as a family business in 1953. The production of Lladro figurines put the village of Almàssera on the map.
At first, the company started with items such as jugs, serving platters, and vases. It wasn’t until three years after the foundation that they started producing the sculptures that made them famous. The great demand for the items produced by the Lladro brothers caused their small workshop to expand several times. Eventually, they decided to move production to Tavernes Blanques in 1958.
Lladro Figurines Popularity
To this day, the manufacturing ingredients of the famous sculptures are kept under guard. However, the sculpting and manufacturing process is detailed in a number of Lladro publications and can also be viewed at the City of Porcelain (the brand’s workshop). Hard-paste porcelain is the main material for the making of the Lladro figurines.
Before you start looking for Lladro figurines, be aware that, in addition to their original Spanish names, they are also given an additional title in English.
Why is this important? Because of the double-name shtick – and the fact that the names are frequently not translated but adapted to appeal to an English-speaking audience – you might become confused. The names of various pieces in the Lladro collection can change throughout their run. Therefore, the same figurine might end up marketed under several different titles.
According to the official Lladro website, “Lladro’s work is varied, in continuous evolution and is the expression of everything good and beautiful about life.”
Innovative Techniques and Expansion
Even during the beginning of their production, the Lladro company had already established a new technique that moved on from a three-layer process to a single layer one that resulted in beautiful pastel tones.
As the company became more famous, the brothers came up with the official logo which incorporated the name “Porcelanas Lladro.” After more people became acquainted with their sculptures and the export market grew, “Spain” was also included into the logo (sometime in in the 1960s).
By this time, the Lladro figurines with their oversized style and pastel hues had become quite famous. In 1969, Lladro opened the doors of its City of Porcelain, offering an office and workshop to the company, along with leisure space and sport facilities for the employees.
During the 1980s, the Lladro company continued to expand both in-land and overseas. In 1986, a Lladro museum and gallery space opened in New York City. Starting with the 1990s, several Lladro pieces became valued additions to the collections of world-renowned museums, including the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Famous Lladro Porcelain Series
In the 1970s, the brothers launched a new “Gres” porcelain line. New sculptures were made with this new porcelain, larger than before. They featured a beautiful matte finish and a pleasant earth-tone palette. Lladró also switched to a simpler blue mark on the base of its sculptures during this time, featuring a distinctive bell-shaped flower.
The series called “Flowers of the Season” is another remarkable technical achievement of Lladro. Launched in 1982, the collection can be easily recognized by the bouquets of tiny hand-sculpted flowers.
In 1985, the Lladro Collectors Society was established, around the same time as the release of a limited-edition series. The original release of the series featured a sad clown with puppies’ heads peeking from his pockets. It was called “Little Pals.”
Lladro has expanded the art of porcelain with new techniques, notable developments, and creating processes that have revolutionized the world of ceramics as we know it. Today, the most famous Lladro figurines include its romantic couples, the biblical and nativity scenes, and the valuable Don Quixote series.
Now that you know a bit about the amazing back story of the Lladro figurines, check our list below and shop for some of the most amazing Lladro collectibles you can own.
One of the most beautiful Lladro figurines, this little girl comes in gentle pastel colors and with a tiny basket of roses. Wind blows in her porcelain hair; the statuette is handmade of genuine Lladro fine porcelain in Valencia, Spain. The innovative Lladro technique allows for small details – such as the little girl’s face and the flowers – to be quite realistic.
From the children collection created by Lladro, this little girl is particularly peaceful, holding a kitten in her arms while another tiny cat looks up anxiously at her. The little statue is handcrafted with fine porcelain and painted by skilled artisans in the City of Porcelain, Spain.
Part of the most famous porcelain series, this statuette depicts a larger-sized newly married couple. Both of them look lovingly at the ring on the bride’s left hand. The item is particularly interesting due to the glaze finish that makes the couple glow beautifully. A perfect gift for anniversaries or weddings.
This item features an elegant woman caught in the middle of a flowing dance. This exquisite dancer striking a sophisticated pose was handmade and painted in Valencia, Spain. The flawless finish was achieved in a kiln. Makes for a fabulous addition to any collector’s prized art collection.
Part of the retired series, this statuette went through an exquisite process before looking like this. At first, the surface of the piece was carved with delicate motifs, such as the lovely kittens and the flowing dress in its final appearance.
The face on the sculpture got its expression through handcrafting, and the tiniest details were delicately created before the finish touches were added. After the figurine is painted, a glossy finish is added with the help of a coat of varnish. The result is the crystalline look so characteristic of Lladró’s creations.
Another delicately crafted sculpture, this mid-sized figurine depicts four little ducklings following their mother. According to Lladro’s website, a figurine of this size might need between 15 and 20 molds (nearly 300 for the more complex pieces) before the final design is ready. Then, sculptors use liquid porcelain paste to pull together the fragments resulting from these molds. This process ensures the sculptor obtains an exact reproduction of the original model.
This item features striking details, including the amazing outfits of Romeo and Juliet. The beautiful grapevines are surprising due to their intricate looks and amazing pastel colors. This Lladro figurine is designed to embellish the beauty of any home.
Usually, the Lladro sculptures all undergo the test of fire. Once a sculptor finishes crafting a figurine, the piece remains for approximately 24 hours in a kiln heated at over 1300º C. During this time, the porcelain vitrifies, the varnish crystallizes and the true Lladró colors come out of hiding.
The “Nurse” figurine is absolutely beautiful – and it’s not just us saying so, but customers as well. It depicts a delicate portrait of a stoic, hard-working nurse. Thanks to the kiln’s heat, the sculpture features a flawless finish.
The team of craftsmen working on Lladro art creations is quite large, enabling the items to be this unique: it starts with designers, painters, and ends with ornamentalists and flower artists. All of them pool their expertise to create pieces featuring the highest technical and artistic quality.
From Lladro’s City of Porcelain, the “Spring” figurine captures “all the beauty and innocence of childhood in this colorful glazed figurine of a precious little girl.” With the same flawless finish, the piece displays one of the most differentiating and valued features of the Lladro brand: flowers. It is worth noting that sculptor create each blossom petal by petal, following a very delicate process. The result is wonderfully unique and unrepeatable creations.
This crisp and luxurious Lladro sculpture will sweep you away. It shows a young woman walking against the wind, with a basket of flowers gracefully spilling over. The delicate blossoms beautifully complement her flower-adorned hemline. Handcrafted in the original Lladro workshops in Spain, the porcelain is in beautiful pastel.
It’s amazing to see the original technique of the Lladro brothers being preserved over the years. On one hand, we can visit exhibitions and buy items for our own collections. On the other hand, we can be sure of the sculptures’ authenticity thanks to that very same preservation.
Do you own any Lladro figurines? If so, which ones?