A beautiful pair of matching table lamps by FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI for Elbee Imports.  The striking sgraffito motif features a parade of stylized, bowing chimeras (perhaps some other sort of fantastical beast) on the lamp's orange belly band as well as several geometric flourishes drawn into a foamy white glaze on a gray ground.  The glazing style and design are both characteristic of the FANCIULLACCI items that were produced exclusively for Elbee.

FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI (Fanciullacci Bros.) sprang from a family whose name has been tied to the ceramics industry since the 1700’s.  According to the history of the world-famous Richard-Ginori porcelain company, the Fanciullacci family collaborated with that firm ever since the 1737 foundation of its factory in Sesto Fiorentino, a municipality of Florence.  Indeed the Fanciluaccis were so invested in the factory that, upon the death of founder Carlo Ginori in 1757, they tried to wrestle control from his son Lorenzo, then a minor.  The attempted coup was thwarted by the boy's mother Mariana Garzoni Venturi, who acted as interim manager until her son came of age.  The most artistically important member of the Fanciullacci family to be employed at Ginori during the 18th and early 19th century was arguably Giovanni Battista Fanciullacci.  He joined the concern as a miniaturist and porcelain painter in 1759.  He rose to head the department in 1772, and was named factory director in 1806.  He retired in 1825.  His works are rarely seen today but are highly coveted by porcelain collectors.

In 1862 (conflicting reports have the year as 1858) Raffaello Fanciullacci (1803-1881), who himself had served as the Ginori factory's director, established a pottery of his own in Capraia Fiorentino, another municipality of Florence:  Ceramiche Capraia.  The new company confined itself originally to the production of simple, utilitarian, table and kitchenware.  By the late 1870's Rafaello was joined by his son Demetrio (1841-1895) and later by Demetrio's four sons Ilario (1862-1924), Giovanni (1864-1933), Amadeo (1863-1933), and Alfredo (1880-1961).  By 1880 the pottery's name had been changed to the Brothers Fanciullacci, or FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI.

In 1911 FANCIULACCI's operations were moved (within metropolitan Florence) from Capraia to Montelupo on the other side of the Arno.  The decision was taken with the arrival of the Florence-Pisa railroad.  With the new line in place, the firm had an easy, inexpensive, means of getting their products to vital cities across Italy.  Relocation proved to be such a boon to business that by 1914 the company had over 1,000 different molds, making their range of offerings one the most appealing in the Italy and the pottery the area's largest employer.  During the first half of the 20th century the firm slowly branched out into a rich repertoire of artistic products.  The family understood the pulse of the Italian people as well as that of consumers in America, the company's main export destination.  Works were produced in the latest styles as soon as they appeared:  Raffaellesco, Istoriati, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Futurism, Cubism, Modernism, Avante-Garde.  At the end of World War II, Colorificio, the parent company of Bitossi, took control of FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI but allowed the family to operate the factory with very little oversight.

On November 4, 1966, the Arno flooded.  It was the worst flood in more than 400 years.  Many people died and many of the art treasures, ancient manuscripts, and monuments of Florence were lost.  FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI was hard hit.  Priceless molds, many dating back to company’s founding, were lost and the kilns were destroyed.  Inventories of both raw clay and finished export products were wiped out.  The company closed down operations for over a year and many of its most talented artists and craftsmen left to find other work.  Some production was shifted to a new, temporary factory in Florence while the Montelupo site was being renovated.  Output and quality both slipped dramatically after 1966.  FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI made a brave attempt to reestablish itself but never seemed able to recreate the genius that had previously allowed it to shine.  The company ceased all operations in 1988.

Production Period – 1960-1969

Country of Origin – ITALY


Attribution – WELL-KNOWN

Materials – CERAMIC


Condition – GOOD (fully functional, but shows signs of age: scuffs, dings, faded finishes, minimal upholstery defects, and/or visible repairs)

Additional Condition Details – see photo of one lamp base; new shades.


Height (in.) – 34.0

Diameter (in.) – 19.0

Quantity Available – 0