Abstract: After Foreign Fashions: Ceramics Import Substitution and Privileged Manufactuers in the Venetian Republic, 17th-18th Centuries

Giovanni Favero


This contribution aims to trace the changes which took place in the manufacturing of ceramics in the Venetian area from the seventeenth to the eighteenth century, highlighting the mechanisms that enabled local production to adapt to European market trends. In the latter part of the sdeventeenth century, the urban guilds of <i>boccaleri</i> became simple importers of valuable foreign products, while private manufacturers producing fine <i>majolica</i> in small and medium-sized towns on the mainland were granted privileges and exemptions. However, the rapid evolution of the market and the products themselves during the eighteenth century challenged the trade policy of the Republic, which favored these local enterprises in order to hamper the import of foreign wares. Local manufacturers responded to the changing tastes of an increasing domestic demand imitating foreign majolica styles, and later china and crockery. What investments were needed to promote an industry where labor skills were the decisive factor? What was behind the change in taste and demand for ceramics in the turbulent century of the Enlightenment? Which were the logics of the Republic's industrial policy? These are some of the problems which this study will try to solve following the ups and downs of this industry during three centuries.