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Capodimonte porcelain as it is known today was first made in the early 18th century in Naples under the patronage of Charles of Bourbon (1716-1788), the son of King Philip V of Spain and his Italian wife Elizabeth Farnese. Following his marriage, Charles was crowned the King of
   Naples and Sicily in 1734 in the Palermo Cathedral. The first European hard past porcelain was created at the porcelain factory at Meissen in 1710, and Charles wished to create a comparable porcelain production capability in Naples during his reign. He recruited production director Giovanni Caselli and the chemist Livio Ottavio Schepers to help him create a Neapolitan porcelain works in a room in the Royal Palace. Repeated efforts to create the right formula for the paste and the complex drying techniques needed failed to render success, and Charles concluded that a new facility was needed that would offer more room for state of the art ovens and driers. Construction soon began on a new factory in the Royal Wood of Capodimonte in 1743 under the direction of the architect Ferdinando Sanfelice. 

The other inhibiting factor to Neapolitan success in porcelain production was deemed to be the inferior clays they were using, so the search for suitable materials continued until deposits of kaolin similar to that used by the Chinese for centuries were discovered in the province of Catanzaro. Livio Schepers son Gaetano perfected the mixing techniques and proportions necessary to make hard past porcelain, so full production could now begin. Charles ordered the finest brushes and painting equipment as well to decorate his porcelain as well as gold to use in the gilding so Italian production could rival the best being produced in Europe at the Meissen factory. The finest Neapolitan artisans were employed in the workforce and included Giovanni Caselli (miniatures), Maria Caselli (flowers and landscapes), Giuseppe della Torre, luigi Restile, and Giacomo d'Avolio (military and animals), Nicola Senzapaura (cities and villages), and Giacomo Nani (fruits and still lifes). Capodimonte production during these early years was incredibly varied and included vases, plates, bowls, teacups and tea & coffee services, jugs, snuff boxes, canes, and more. When Philip V of Spain died in 1759, Charles then became the King of Spain and adopted the name Charles III (1759-1788). To the dismay and consternation of the Neapolian public, Charles demolished the Capodimonte factory and moved all the production equipment and artisans from Napes to Spain where he founded a new porcelain factory at Buen Retiro outside of Madrid.

Charles' son Ferdinand (1751-1825) became the new King of Naples and subsequently also took the title of King of the Two Sicilies. Distraught at his father for eliminating all traces of porcelain production capability from Naples, Ferdinand sought to establish a new porcelain factory at Portici in 1771 and through the remnants of equipment and diaries that Charles left behind Ferdinand and his associates tried to reverse engineer the secrets of making fine porcelain. Established under the direction of Brigadier Ricci and succeeded by Thomas Perez, production commenced in Portici and the directors began rebuilding a stable of talented artists and painters which included Francesco Chairi, Saverio Grue, and Francesco Celebrano. Production at Portici was small relative to the original factory in the Royal Wood of Capodimonte, but the quality was high and was used by the royal family and visitors to the court. Domenico Venuti became the director of the factory in 1779 and found more original castings from King Charles' pioneering efforts, and Venuti used these molds including plaster copies of Grecian busts to create new wares as well as establishing a special Academy of the Nude in 1781 to specialize in porcelain castings of the human form and attracting well known Italian sculptors such as Costanzo Angelini. In 1782, Ferdinand produced a special dinner service for his father, now Charles III of Spain, which was elaborately decorated with images of vases and pictures from the Herculaneum excavations which he had found buried in the Royal Palace of Portici. However, Charles was still obsessed with his efforts to monopolize the European production of fine porcelain, and he returned the gift to Ferdinand sight unseen. Future efforts to create gifts for the royal courts of Europe were more successful, particularly an Etruscan dinner service for King George III of England in 1785 which was presented along with a publication which detailed the decoration of the service and their origins in the excavations at Nola, Herculaneum, Pompei, and King Tasconte of Etruria watching the gladiator games.

Ferdinand fled to Palermo, Sicily in 1798 to escape the encroaching French invasion and the Neapolitan revolution, and the porcelain factory was looted and largely destroyed despite the efforts by directory Venuti to save it. Upon the collapse of the revolution in 1799, Ferdinand returned to Naples and sought to resurrect the porcelain factory and rebuild its workforce. Rebuilding was slow and was further disrupted by the invasion of Napoleon's brother Giuseppe Bonaparte in 1806, and Ferdinand once again fled to Palermo. The French had little interest in Neapolitan porcelain production, and they sold the factory and its contents to a group of local businessmen led by Giovanni Poulard-Prad. After successive French stewards who reigned in Napes were ultimately vanquished, Ferdinand once again returned to the throne in 1816 and took the title of Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies. Poulard retained control of the porcelain factory, but production quality and quantity declined and he was forced to sell the buildings and equipment which had once comprised the royal factory. Their innovations were soon almost forgotten, innovations which included their Bisquit which did not turn red with age as did Saxony and Sèvres production, miniatures, and their sculptures based on ancient excavations.

The Capodimonte crown mark and the Neapolitan N which were the marks of the royal porcelain factory in Naples were allowed to lapse, free for any to use as is the case today. As such, these marks are no longer indicative of production at the royal factory and in modern times have come to represent only ceramics production which is in the style of Capodimonte. While there are a few Italian factories that remain true to the high standards of original Capodimonte production, many lesser works are also so marked today so collectors should be cognizant of quality and the backstamp that can help reveal a work's history.

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