Sargadelos ceramics came about as a result of the enlightened initiative of Antonio Raimundo Ibáñez in the early years of the nineteenth century, with the inauguration of a chinaware factory in the parish of the same name in the local council of Cervo 8Lugo) in 1806. Born in the Asturian district of Los Oscos on 17 October 1749, Antonio Raimundo Ibáñez was a relevant figure in the early industrialisation of Galicia. From an early age his entrepreneurial spirit led him to become involved in groundbreaking activities, such as the exploitation of trade routes between Ribadeo and Cádiz or the Baltic Sea, leading to him create the 'Royal Maritime Company' in 1788.
Investing his profits, and with the protection in Madrid of Godoy, the prime minister of Carlos IV, he was able to build a large ironworks in Sargadelos, and guarantee its viability thanks to a contract with the government to produce ammunition in 1794. Its kilns also produced many of the pipes, chains, hydraulic wheels, kitchen implements and other tools used in eighteenth-century Spain. They also produced a series of beautiful sculptures, public fountains and decorative balustrades that may still be seen today in some of Galicia's cities.
A short time afterwards, his business empire would expand with the construction of a chinaware factory, with the first test pieces appearing in 1806. The project allowed Raimundo Ibáñez to further develop his refined taste for the arts, at the same time as taking advantage of a gap in the market resulting from the disappearance of imports of 'Bristol' chinaware from England. This initiative was supported by part of the infrastructure from the ironworks, and above all the excellent quality of the kaolin clay deposits found close to Sargadelos.
In 1955, the interest shown in the pieces made at O Castro led to the creation of a similar project in Argentina. The 'A Magdalena' Porcelain Factory was built 100 kilometres from Buenos Aires, where production continued for more than thirty years. This trans-oceanic project also awoke the interest of Galician intellectuals who had been in exile in Argentina since the end of the Spanish Civil War in working towards recovering the economic and cultural situation of Galicia, which took shape in 1963 with the creation of the 'Laboratorio de Formas' (Laboratory of Forms). Meanwhile, in 1960 O Castro built a new plant, incorporating designs with abstract and geometric motifs taken from Galician Romanesque and Baroque art, or forms that in some way shared similarities with the formal symbolism of Romanesque art.
In 1963, Cerámicas do Castro and the Laboratorio de Formas signed an agreement for the creation of the Carlos Maside Museum, Ediciós do Castro and other institutions focusing on recuperating the historical memory of Galicia. In 1968, work began on building the factory in Cervo (Lugo), after the creation of the 'Cerámica de Sargadelos' company, with the first pieces appearing shortly afterwards. The goal of this new stage was to restore the spirit of the old Sargadelos, its ethical concept as a company, far removed from any speculative temptations.
Sargadelos had been conceived as an association that used its own resources, enhancing them in order to satisfy genuine needs. The company with the greatest energy and prestige of our industrial past still maintained this essential virtue, which needed to be recovered. And so, Cerámica do Castro and the Laboratorio de Formas de Galicia set underway a series of projects that took shape in an experimental sector in 1968, and with the inauguration of the circular Sargadelos plant on 10 May 1970. The design concept of the new Sargadelos was clearly differentiated from the previous stage, with modern concepts more in line with the differences and essential nature of the Galician character.
What's it worth? Take a look at this Sargadelos price guide: sold listings for a value indication.