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Posts from the ‘Italian Makers’ Category

Fratelli Fanciullacci Freize Vase

This striking FF vase c1950s came into my hands recently. The piece features a band around the pot of stylised reclining nudes, in the style of ancient Roman friezes.

With each piece of pottery in this design the frieze was hand carved, making each piece different and unique. Other examples of this FF design can be seen in Mark Hill’s book “Alla Moda” on p118.

The frieze has been overpainted with a clear glaze, showing the natural flesh clay colour underneath.

The remainder of the surface is a cream coloured glaze with tightly incised sgraffito lines. Inside is a clear glaze on the naturally flesh coloured clay. It is about 25cm tall.

Fratelli Fanciullacci c1950s

Fratelli Fanciullacci c1950s

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Zaccagnini, Italy

Zaccagnini, Italy

There were a number of incarnations of the Zaccagnini company, Italy. The large vase in the image below would have been made by “Urbano Zaccagnini Artistic Ceramics” which operated from 1958 to the mid 1960s.

The Zaccagnini name is very well known in the United States, but not so well known or seen here in Australia. In the U.S. much of the Zaccagnini output is referred to as being in the “Hollywood Regency” style – highly decorative, often with a bit of “bling”. The company is also well known for its collectable Disney characters which were made for Disney by “Zaccagnini SpA” from the 1930s.  In addition Zaccagnini is well known for its animal figurines and ceramic statuettes.

Zaccagnini seems to have reached its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, and it is the work from this era which seems to be the most coveted (and thus expensive to buy) – you will often find beautifully simple Modernist works from this era by Zaccagnini on places like 1st Dibs.  It is a maker, however which is often easily mis-attributed if there is no makers mark – as there are so many similarities between Italian makers during this era.

Zaccagnini Vase


Zaccagnini, Italy Bowl

Zaccagnini, Italy Bowl via “apythagorasplace” etsy

Zaccagnini, Italy Vase

Zaccagnini, Italy Vase Cypher on above piece.


There is a brief history of this important Italian maker on THIS website which also has images of many of the backstamps and cyphers used.

Here is a (google) translation of the entry:

The ceramic factory “Ugo Zaccagnini & Figli” was founded by Ugo Zaccagnini, a former employee of “Richard-Ginori”, in Sesto Fiorentino in 1905. The first production of the company is focused on the production of majolica and earthenware type, often inspired by the ancient Della Robbia models.The company, with which the five sons of Zaccagnini Urbano, Pietro, Prisco, Adele and Enrichetta collaborate, moved to Florence in 1912 where he began a production of more volumes presenting at numerous editions of the Triennale and the Milan Trade Fair. at the Florence Crafts Exhibitions. In the 1930s the sculptor L. Contini collaborated with the manufactory.

Among the important ceramists who worked for the manufacture we also remember the sculptor Fosco Martini who, around the mid-thirties, made many interesting ceramics depicting animals and the majolica painter U. Ciardella. In 1936, after the death of the founder, the factory changed its name and became “Società Anonima Ceramiche Zaccagnini” with its headquarters in Piazza Pier Vettori 10, Florence and the role of managing director and artistic director was entrusted to the major of the heirs Urban. In the same year, thanks to the capital introduced into the company by the industrialist Aristide Loria, the company became a joint-stock company and invested in modernization and production capacity.

In 1937, more than 120 employees work in ceramics and in the factory, and the factory begins to export its products to the United States. In the second half of the Thirties the collaboration with the manufacture of numerous artists including: Mario Bandini, Ottorino Palloni, Maurizio Tempestini, Gino Pozzi and Leopold Anzengruber.At the end of the Thirties, Walt Disney entrusted “Zaccagnini S.p.A.”, which in those years was based in Piazza Pier Vettori 10 in Florence, the ceramic construction of the characters of their cartoons.

In 1950 some of the company’s ceramics, including a series of dishes, were exhibited at the Italian Crafts Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

In the fifties an artistic line inspired by abstractionism, called “Swedish”, was included in the production.

In 1958, Urbano Zaccagnini left the family factory and founded the “Urbano Zaccagnini Ceramiche Artistiche” which remained active until the mid-1960s.

The “S.p.A. Zaccagnini” is still active until the year 2000.

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Bertoncello, Italy

Bertoncello Italy

Bertoncello Ceramiche was founded in Schiavon, Vicenza, Italy c1956.

For many years it was run solely by a Mr. Lini and Giovanni Bertoncello (1930-2011), but by the 1970s had a staff of around 30.

Giovanni was the creative force behind the forms and glazes, supported later by a Mr. Boatto – a Venetian teacher.

Sadly not a lot is known about the company because all its catalogues and archives were destroyed when the company closed in 1999. Fortunately due to its popularity and volume made, it is still relatively easy to get hold of.

The forms of Bertoncello pottery are often very sculptural and geometric and look like smaller studies or maquettes for massive modernist sculptures that are yet to be built. This sculptural appearance of many pieces was enhanced by the use of feet which subtly raise the piece off the surface on which it sits.

Bertoncello Italy

Bertoncello Italy


Bertoncello Italy

Other types of pottery such as homewares, figurines and novelty items were made, often in bright colours such as red or orange – but it is the sculptural modernist looking vase forms which Bertoncello has become best known for. Read more