Societa Fonografica Napoletana

Societa Fonografica Napoletana (Italy) / c. 1909

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Design: The very beautiful Art Nouveau design, with its curving floral lower border, shows a young woman listening to the song of mermaids frolicking in the Bay of Naples, two of whom are playing small harps, with a smoking Mount Vesuvius in the background; the flowers in the woman's hair are the same as those appearing in the border. At the foot is another harp, of distinct design.

The label name is lettered in a condensed, high-waisted style typical of the Art Nouveau era. The shading is very delicately done, becoming lighter at the centre of the design.

History: Italy's first record label, founded in 1901 by Raffaele Esposito to promote Neapolitan singers and folk music. The first recordings were made in Germany, but from 1905 onward all production took place in Naples. Label scan courtesy of collector Helmut Janisch of Germany.

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