Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori: Lladró — The Spanish collectible

Photo courtesy of Dr. Lori A LladrŰ figurine

Lladró was founded by the three Lladró brothers, Juan, José and Vicente, in 1953. The founders formed the family company in the village of Almácera, Spain, near Valencia. After more than 50 years, the Lladró family remains at the helm of the world famous pottery manufacturing firm.

The characteristic and unmistakable style of Lladró figurines relate to the elongated figures of the Mannerist period in Spanish art history, circa 1515-1600. The Mannerist artists include the famous Spanish master, El Greco, and his many followers who produced works of art featuring figures with elegant body forms. Lengthy necklines, expressive arms and long legs were all typical of the Spanish Mannerist style and this tradition is continued via the collectible Lladró figurines.

Lladró values have skyrocketed over the years. Of course, in locales such as Spain and the Caribbean islands, Lladrós are marketed and sold from the hundreds of dollars level to upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. The larger and more complex the sculpture, the more valuable it is.

Lladró pieces have a distinct form and color palette of soft blue, grey, off-white and pink. In 1971, a logo was created that represented the link between art and science, the basis of all Lladró creations in fine porcelain. The logo joined an ancient chemical symbol with a stylized version of a very popular bellflower from the local Valencian region. This flower is incorporated as both a tribute to nature, the mother of clay, and to the region of Spain where Lladró was born. The finishing touch to this corporate logo is the Lladró name printed below the art/science symbol.

When caring for Lladró figurines, the first consideration is their fragility. It is the delicacy and the firm’s attention to detail which makes these pieces so valuable and revered. The details on these figurines are very fragile and when cleaning them, time and patience are crucial. Don’t submerge the pieces in soapy water as they will become slippery and may break when handled. It is best to be diligent about removing surface dirt or dust from these delicate works of art. It is best to remove even the small amounts of dust from your Lladró every week or so rather than to let dirt or dust build up on your collectible.

If you are cleaning your fragile figurines, be sure to sit down at a table and clean. Don’t stand up, try to balance or hold the object in your hand and clean the piece. This is a recipe for disaster.

Take your time, don’t allow distractions, and clean slowly using soft, white cotton cloths, dry cotton swabs, and dry sable hair paint brushes. Don’t use any commercial cleansers or soapy water. Slow and steady will keep these pieces in good condition for the long term. Remember, these are valuable and beautiful works of art.

If you display your Lladró figure in a curio cabinet or china closet, be sure to open the doors regularly and let some of the heat escape. Some glass display cabinets retain heat and this heat will damage your Lladrós and all of your collectibles for that matter. It’s a good idea to open display cases every month or so.

Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author and award-winning TV personality Dr. Lori hosts antiques appraisal events worldwide. Dr. Lori is the star appraiser on Discovery channel’s hit TV show, Auction Kings. Visit www.DrLoriV.com, www.Facebook.com/DoctorLori or call (888) 431-1010.