active: 1764 - 1812
A shrewd businessman and imaginative entrepreneur, Geminiano Cozzi created the most successful porcelain factory in late eighteenth-century Venice, despite accusations of illicit conduct, espionage, and betrayal by his contemporaries. A banker, Cozzi first became involved in the ceramics business as a partner in another porcelain factory. When the owners returned to Germany, Cozzi founded his own factory in the first and second floors of a palazzo and was soon offered financial support by the Venetian board of trade. Inventive and clever in his marketing tactics, Cozzi quickly cultivated demand for his wares among the fashionable upper classes. Influential friends published articles in a Venetian newspaper describing the factory and praising its works. In May 1767 the enterprising Cozzi distributed a handbill inviting "ceramists adept at wheel-throwing, modeling, and painting [to his factory] for suitable and profitable recompense." Hiring potters away from rival enterprises brought anger and litigation from their owners but did not stop Cozzi. The fashion for drinking tea, coffee, and chocolate from porcelain cups in Venice's new coffeehouses, along with the general popularity of porcelain during the 1700s, fueled tremendous demand for Cozzi's wares. In addition to producing soft-paste porcelain, his factory also constructed kilns for maiolica and creamware, less costly ceramics available to a wider public.