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The term "capodimonte" is an often misunderstood and just as often misrepresented. Literally, capo-di-monte means "top of the hill or mountain". The Royal factory was established by King Charles on the top of a hill. Originally, capodimonte meant that it was porcelain manufactured by this one specific factory which was destroyed in the early nineteenth century. Today, there are, I have been told, over four hundred capodimonte factories. You would find large and small firms producing a wide variety of products. The quality and quantity of these factories varies just as widely. Yet, all of these items could rightfully be termed capodimonte.

It is no longer restricted to the once Royal factory which the crown stamped on each piece commemorates. Instead, it now refers to a style of porcelain that originated in the early to mid eighteenth century in Naples, Italy. I will later compile a page outlining the short history of the original capodimonte. For now, it is enough to say that you will find many versions of the original. On a televised auction a few months ago, I learned that there was a factory in Germany producing capodimonte. I, myself, purchased a typical capodimonte carriage with horses that had the standard capodimonte crown stamped on the bottom right alongside the "Made in Japan" sticker. Unfortunately, I have also encountered pieces being passed as capodimonte made in Italy when in fact they were "made in China". So now at least, when you see "made by Capodimonte" advertised, you will know that it is a style not a specific manufacturer.

John Diaz

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