A large, 10", triangular orange and white ashtray with a touch of green and an antlered animal motif. Probably produced by the Italian ceramics company FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI in the '60s or '70s.

FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI (THE BROS. FANCIULLACCI) had its origin in the environs of Florence, with a family whose ties to the Italian ceramics industry extend back to the 1700s. The Fancullaccis had collaborated with the world-famous Richard-Ginori porcelain company, ever since the 1737 founding of that company's factory in Sesto Fiorentino (a municipality of Florence). Indeed they were so invested in the plant that, when its founder Carlo Ginori died in 1757, they tried to wrest away control from his son Lorenzo, then a minor. The attempted coup was thwarted by Carlo's widow, Mariana Garzoni Venturi, who acted as interim manager until Lorenzo came of age.

Arguably the most artistically important Fanciullacci to be employed at Ginori during the 18th and early 19th centuries was Giovanni Battista Fanciullacci. He joined the concern as a miniaturist and porcelain painter in 1759 and rose to head the painting department in 1772. He was named factory director in 1806, before retiring some two decades later. 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 for a time was the factory director for Ginori, established a pottery of his own in nearby Capraia Fiorentino: Ceramiche Capraia. The new company confined itself originally to the production of simple, utilitarian, table- and kitchenware. Rafaello was joined by his son Demetrio (1841-1895) by the late 1870s, and subsequently 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 officially changed to the Brothers Fanciullacci, or FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI.

In 1911, operations were moved from Capraia to Montelupo on the other side of the Arno. The decision was taken with the arrival of the Florence-Pisa railroad. With this new line in place, the firm had easy, inexpensive means of getting its products to vital cities across Italy. The relocation proved to be such a boon to business that by 1914 the company had over 1,000 different molds, making its range of offerings one the most appealing in 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. This was the golden age for FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI. The family was in sync with the pulse of the Italian people as well as that of consumers in America, the company's main export destination. Work was produced in the latest styles almost immediately upon their first appearance: Raffaellesco, Istoriati, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Futurism, Cubism, Modernism, and Avante-Garde.

FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI was one of the few ceramics factories that was able to keep its doors open for the duration of WWII. At the war's end, Colorificio, the parent company of Bitossi Ceramiche, assumed control of the firm. The family was allowed to operate the business with very little oversight. By the end of the 1950s, work had resumed at full speed. New international markets were found, and they soon accounted for something like 90 percent of production.

Disaster struck on November 4, 1966, with a major flooding of the Arno. It was the worst flood in more than 400 years. Many died and many art treasures and ancient manuscripts were lost. FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI was hard hit. Priceless molds, many dating back to its founding, were lost and all of the kilns were destroyed. Raw clay inventories and finished export stockpiles were wiped out. The company shut down operations for over a year; many of its most talented artists and craftsmen left to find other work.

Some production was shifted to a new, temporary plant in Florence while the Montelupo site underwent renovations. However, output and quality both suffered dramatically. FRATELLI FANCIULLACCI made a brave attempt to reestablish itself, but it was never able to recreate the genius that had previously allowed it to shine. The company ceased all operations in 1988.



Production Period/Year – 1960s

Designer – UNKNOWN

Design Period/Year – 1960s

Origin – ITALY


Materials – CERAMIC


Condition – Excellent vintage condition. May show minor traces of wear consistent with age and use.

Dimensions – 10" W × 10" D × 2" H

Quantity Available – 1