Born to an agrarian family, Juan, Jose, and Vincente Lladro were first introduced to the arts by their mother. The early years of the brothers’ lives were spent working the family farm in Alcemera, Spain. Early in life, Juan and Jose showed a keen interest in painting while Vincente demonstrated talent in sculpture. Rosa Lladro, their mother, wanted only the best art education for her children and enrolled them in the San Carlos de Valencia School of Arts and Crafts. During this time, the brothers worked as apprentices in the Valencian Tileworks Co.
In 1951, the brothers began their professional careers by working with the highly reputed Victor de Nalda. The Victor de Nalda firm produced Spanish tableware of the highest quality. In the meantime, the brothers continued working the family farm. It was during this time that the three brothers built their first kiln and began producing classical figurines, trinkets, candelabras, and porcelain flowers that could be adhered to decorative lamps. This first kiln was built in their back yard. The brothers were intent on producing the finest porcelain available in Spain. However, their small furnace made it difficult to achieve temperatures hot enough to glaze and perfect porcelain sculptures. Wanting to continue their experiments with porcelain figurines, the brothers realized that a new kiln was needed. After two years, the brothers left their day jobs, borrowed 2,000 pesetas from a friend, and founded Lladro Porcelain. With the borrowed money, the brothers built a kiln that would burn hot enough to glaze porcelain.
Over the next 15 years, Lladro Porcelain grew steadily. In 1958, the Lladro brothers opened their first factory. The three brothers invested in new furnaces, a skilled labor force, an export program, and chemists to aid in producing the unique glazes and porcelains from which their figurines are made. During the 1960’s, Lladro Porcelain’s customer base grew rapidly and many celebrity customers began collecting the warm and touching figurines.
Realizing the unique quality of their product, the Lladro brothers established the Lladro Collectors Society. In 1986, Lladro released their first Collectors Society piece, “ Little Pals.” The figurine became and instant sales success and Lladro has released a collector’s society piece every year since. The Collectors Society pieces are not sold as new on a retail market. Instead, Lladro only offers them to members of the society. Those who are not members of the Lladro Collectors Society must wait to buy these pieces on the secondary market. Replacements carries many of these highly sought after pieces including “School Days” (1988), “My Buddy” (1989), “Can I Play” (1990), “Picture Perfect” (1991), and “All Aboard” (1992). To see our list of availabile Lladro Figurines, click here.
Always looking for ways to grow their business, the Lladro brothers introduced a line of annual Christmas bells. The first bell was released in 1987 and remains very highly sought after by collectors. In 1988, Lladro began a line of annual Christmas ball ornaments. Demand for these small pieces grew rapidly. In 1992, Lladro introduced their line of annual Christmas ornaments. Unlike the annual Christmas bells and balls, this line was to be a collection of miniature Lladro figurines. Each of these Christmas collections are still being produced today.
Lladro Porcelain remains a unique and successful porcelain crafter. Realizing that their children would one day inherit the company, the brothers established the Lladro Permanent Council. This council is made up of the Lladro brothers, their children, and the senior staff of Lladro Porcelain. The Permanent Council oversees the goings-on of the factory, the production of each figurine, and the apprenticeships that are still part of the creative process. Each week, the council meets to discuss and plan the future of the Lladro Porcelain. By creating such a group, the Lladro brothers have ensured that the company will have a future marked with tradition, warmth, and family.