Ceramic Cheer – part I

Fratelli Fanciulacci Italian Modernist Ceramic Two-Handled Vase (LEO Design)

While it’s not an ornament—and not strictly “Christmassy”—the Italian vase above, made by Fratelli Fanciullacci, is a bauble of good Holiday cheer.

In 1862, Raphael Fanciullacci opened a ceramics workshop in Florence where he made kitchenware and other utilitarian tableware.  Business grew, Raphael branched into more aesthetic, decorative pieces, and, before long, his son (and four grandsons) had joined the company.  In 1880, Raphael changed his company name to Fratelli Fanciullacci, “The Brothers Fanciullacci.”

Things went well for the Florentine brothers, growing and continuing to stay ahead of (and help set) design trends.  From the 1930’s into the 1960’s, Fanciullacci reached it’s high-water mark, and was considered one of the premier ceramics workshops in Italy.  They employed many talented ceramicists, including Aldo Londi before he was hired-away to Bitossi.  In fact, the owners of Bitossi purchased Fratelli Fanciullacci after World War II.

On 4 November 1966, Florence’s River Arno flooded, inundating the city with up to 13 feet of water and mud.  It was the city’s worst flood since 1557—and it destroyed countless antiquities, works of art and architectural treasures.  Amongst the casualties was the Fanciullacci workshop—whose kilns, molds, clay, finished works, and all records were destroyed.  Even worse, because the pottery could not operate for a year, they lost their talented designers and craftspeople who sought work elsewhere while the workshop was closed.  Fratelli Fanciullacci did eventually re-open but things were never the same.  By 1988, after years of struggling, the company shut-down for good.

The two-handled red pot, shown above, is classic Modernist Fanciullacci.  It was made in the early 1960’s, before the flood.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.


For the Holiday season, LEO Design is open daily from Noon ’til 10:00 pm.