Josiah Spode founded his Spode pottery around 1770 at Stroke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. Even before Spode arrived, this area was well known as “The Potteries,” one of Britain’s most important districts for the production of porcelain.

In 1785, Spode began producing its line of blue-on-pearl china, which was to become its first success thanks to the skill of designer Thomas Minton in the early 1790s. Spode’s pieces were distinctive for the depth and richness of their blue color—the pottery refined its own cobalt to achieve the effect. This blue-and-white china remained one of Spode’s most distinctive products for decades to come, though Spode also produced a variety of unglazed lines, including basalts, redwares, and canewares.

When Josiah Spode passed away, his son, Josiah Spode II, took over the business in 1797. Spode II continued the research his father had begun into bone-ash porcelain. Potteries had experimented with adding burnt animal bone to their porcelain for a few decades, but Spode II perfected the proportions of this mix between 1797 and 1798.

A mix of between 33 and 50 percent burnt animal bone, plus equal amounts of feldspar and quartz, yielded porcelain that was extremely white, strong, cheap to produce, and translucent. This bone-ash, or soft-paste, porcelain soon spread to other British potteries, giving England the boost it needed to stay competitive in the international market. By 1820, Spode’s approach to porcelain became the standard formula for bone china. Spode’s porcelain pieces often featured elaborate painted decorations, sometimes with exotic or foreign characters in novel scenes.

With the popularity of its bone-ash porcelain, Spode became the most successful Staffordshire pottery from 1800 to 1833. Its pieces had few flaws compared to the products of other companies—its glaze did not craze, its colors did not flake. Spode produced a wide variety of lines, including tea wares, dinner wares, and dessert wares, alongside incense burners, pen trays, cabinet pieces, and more. Master decorator Henry Daniel fostered high-quality designs on Spode’s polychromatic and gilded pieces, and C. F. Hürten painted many exquisite vases.

Each Spode piece was marked with the family name alongside a pattern number in red. This pattern number started at 1 in 1800—by 1833, it had reached 5000. Pattern #1166 is particularly noteworthy for its elaborate decoration. Other noteworthy pattern lines included Willow, which was first developed by Josiah Spode I around 1790; Tower; Camilla; and London, which was copied by many other makers between 1815 and 1825. Spode also produced imitation Chinese wares. Before 1805, these pieces featured a “Spode Stone China” mark alongside a fake Chinese seal.

In 1833, William Taylor Copeland took the reins at Spode after Josiah Spode III died, and he renamed the company Copeland and Garrett. In 1847, Copeland and Garrett became W. T. ...

These small-scale figures were inspired by (and sometimes simply replicated) classical sculptures from ancient Greece and Rome, and they were finished to resemble marble. These affordable pieces allowed the general public to bring fine classical art into their homes. Copeland displayed these figures at the 1851 London Great Exhibition, where they were extremely successful and popular. Alongside the Parian figures, Copeland continued to produce fine bone china and earthenware.

Copeland’s production facilities remained at Spode’s original Staffordshire location. In 1970, the company’s name changed back to Spode Ltd., which became Royal Worcester Spode Ltd. in 1976. Royal Worcester Spode experienced severe financial difficulties in the 2000s and was purchased by Portmeirion in April 2009. Portmeirion has continued to use the Royal Worcester Spode name in its product line.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Steve Birks' super deep site is a tribute to a bygone era, chronicling how a pottery center of excellence (they did… [read review or visit site]

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

This gallery showcases highlights from the 5,000 items in the museum's ceramics collection dating from 1500-1900. I… [read review or visit site]

Ceramics at The V&A

Ceramics at The V&A

A great reference on ceramics from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Learn about different ceramics techniques and st… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Copeland Spode " Italian " Large Serving Platter Blue Transfer Design AntiqueSpode Blue - Set Of 4 Dinner Plates 10 1/2" - Italian Design - Made In England8 Spode Christmas Tree Dinner Plates, 8 Bread & Butter PlatesSpode Blue Italian Devonia TraySpode Blue Italian TeapotRare Antique Marked Spode Hunting Scene Bat Print CupSet Of 4 Spode Christmas Tree Soup Plates8 Spode Dinner Plates The Hunt Pattern By J.f. Herring10" Imari Style Copeland Spode Dinner PlatesCopeland Spode Black Bird Pattern Plate 10.5” Gadroon EdgeSpode Blue Italian (camilla) Dinner Plate (set Of 4)10" Imari Style Copeland Spode Dinner PlatesSpode Blue Italian Bowl Soup/rice/dip Nut Candy Sugar Bowl Made In EnglandSpode England Water Pitcher 48oz Christmas Tree Pattern S33224 Very RareExcellent Vintage 42 Pc Set Of Spode China In The Irene Y6470 PatternCollection Six Miniature Cabinet Cups & Saucers Spode Royal Worcester Scottish C.1800 Antique Chelsea Or Spode Hand Painted Floral Vase W/reticulated Top RimWarwick Ioga A.53 Vase - Brown With Red Flowers - AlbanySet Of 4 Spode Blue Italian 16 Ounce MugsSpode Blue Italian Handled Sugar BoxSpode Rust Floral Chintz Ribbed Gold Trim Porcelain Open Salt CellarSet Of 4 Spode Romney Copeland Cream Soup Bowls, Double Handle, English ChinaSpode Blue Italian Pattern Large Pitcher EucBeautiful Vintage Spode Sterling Rimmed Dinner Plate 12 1/2"Spode S3422 Woodlands Pattern PitcherLot Of 4 Spode Christmas Tree Dinner Plates 10' New Never Used Spode Blue Italian Jumbo Cup And Saucer5" Spice Jar - Spode Blue Room - Continental Views Design - Made In EnglandSet Of 8 Spode Christmas Tree Soup PlatesSpode Copelands Red Tea Cup Saucer Raised White Flowers Pink Roses 1930Spode Blue Room PlateVintage Copeland Spode 10.25" Plate Full Cry J F Herring Horse Fox HuntVintage Copeland Spode 10.25" Plate Going To Halloa J F Herring Horse Fox HuntSpode England Woodland Platter PheasantsWarwick Ioga A.64 Vase - Acorns On Branch - Buba Spode Blue Italian Miniature Chamber Pot - Discontinued And RareSpode Christmas Tree Set Of 4 HighballsSpode Christmas Tree Salad Servers SetCopeland Spode Seasons Pattern 20 Pc Dinner Service 1 Bowl Missing (19 Pieces)Antique Copeland Spode Dishs & Plates Waring & Gillows C1891Spode Trade Winds Square Open Vegetable DishSpode Christmas Tree Peppermint TeapotSpode Pink Tower Older Stamp Jam Jar Cover3 1/2 Ins Copeland EnglandCopeland Spode China Buttercup Gravy Boat Attached Saucer (old Mark)2 Spode Blue Italian Mugs - Made In England19th C Copeland Spode's Tower Small Pottery VaseSpode Christmas Tree Salt And Pepper Shakers, England, Free ShipSet Of 4 Spode Christmas Tree Highball Glasses Spode Christmas Tree Sweet Jar Copeland Spode's Tower Blue Soup Bowl - Gold BorderWilliam Yeoward - Fine Bone China Plate/charger - Gorgeous Purple Color!Spode Bomboniere Blue Italian Room Collection Minature Collectors Plate Cherub03j Spode Christmas Tree Meat Serving Fork Decorative Handle In Original BoxSpode Christmas Tree Square Chip N DipSpode Blue Room PlateSpode Archive Collection Tower Jumbo Cup & Saucer Set Cranberry Mug RareSpode Christmas Tree Canape Forks Appetizer Stainless Steel Flatware S/4 RareVintage 4 Pc Copeland Spode Buttercup Dinner, Side, Cup & Saucer 1945Copeland Spode England Green Basket Set Of 6 Dinner Plates 10 1/2 "Vintage Spode Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Mug. 1952 - 1977. Boxed, Untouched

Recent News: Spode China

Source: Google News

Tristram Hunt: The rise and fall of a pottery tycoon
Stoke Sentinel, July 21st

It was a firm boasting not one but two of the world's most celebrated traditional homeware manufactures who, between them, boasted over 500 years of craftsmanship in the production of Munster's finest crystal glass and the Potteries' exquisite bone...Read more

New Sheffield museum display gives visitors a glimpse of China
The Star, July 13th

stoneware bowl made in China's Zhejiang province, a Chinese porcelain tea caddy dating from the 1700s and an 1875 plate in Willow Pattern, the ubiquitous English design attributed to Thomas Minton and Josiah Spode which appropriated many Chinese ...Read more

Horse brasses spring saleroom surprise
Nafferton Today, July 12th

Dee Atkinson and Harrison's live online antique and fine art auction on the 4 July attracted international interest from China, Europe, USA and Ireland. The start of the sale was delayed by 30 minutes because of technical problems, with the online...Read more

Her Majesty's photo album: Meet the little girl who became our Queen, July 11th

For her sixth birthday in 1932 the people of Wales presented her with a child-sized thatched cottage. It has been loved by every royal generation since and stands in the garden of Royal Lodge, Windsor. The tiny kitchen with stove, mangle and Spode...Read more

From hotel to home
BDlive, July 6th

Built villa-style with verandas and both a guest and an office wing, Jeanne's collection of Royal Doulton and Spode china splashes colour throughout the house. The "pub area" stretches to an elegant mirrored bar, a 21st-century smoking-room with ...Read more

Fourth of July events planned
Coos Bay World, July 3rd

John Hubbard will be auctioneer for the live auction beginning at 7 p.m. Wine and cheese will be served and there are many high end items including antiques, rare books and pictures, a large set of Spode Christmas Tree China, furniture and services...Read more

How Middleport, one of the UK's oldest china factories, was saved
Financial Times, June 27th

The names of local manufacturers echoed down the years and across the oceans: Wedgwood, Spode, Royal Crown Derby, Royal Worcester – symbols of Stoke-on-Trent's hallowed place as one of the great success stories of the industrial revolution. ... In...Read more