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.
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Estate Sale Roundup: February 28-March 2: Cowboy up and head out for this ...Austin Chronicle, February 27th
You will also find an extra large set of Franciscan Desert Rose; a set of Copeland Spode Mayflower china; a set of Blue Ridge Lenox china; Oklahoma Sooner yearbooks and Georgetown high school yearbooks; a large selection of other books with some...Read more
Asheville area art openings, receptions and classesBlack Mountain News, February 22nd
any time at Opportunity House, 1411 Asheville Hwy., Hendersonville. Techniques that include making a pinch pot, coil construction, throwing objects on potter's wheel, glazing techniques with a bonus of making handles for pottery pieces. Supplies...Read more
Estate Sale Roundup: February 21-23: This town has something for everyone ...Austin Chronicle, February 20th
Furniture includes Vejle & Stole Danish Modern drawleaf table with custom tablepad and matching china cabinet; Conant Ball bedroom set including a double dresser, headboard, and night stand; Another mid-century modern bedroom set with triple dresser...Read more
Hilco and Caird sell stakes in pottery brands Denby and SteeliteFinancial Times, February 18th
Portmeirion, the Aim-listed company that bought Spode and Royal Worcester out of administration in 2009, is understood to have expressed an interest. Separately Caird Capital last month disposed of its 17 per cent stake in Steelite International, the...Read more
From Spode to sparkle: Danie Mellor's survey to tourartsHub Australia (subscription), February 13th
They encourage us to look behind Mellor's signature blue-and-white designs inspired by English Spode china which he fuses with tableaux of native Australian flora and fauna. Are they kitsch, are they beautiful - what is it that makes people flock to...Read more
Estate Sale Roundup: February 14-16: Look for treasures around every corner to ...Austin Chronicle, February 13th
Kitchen" find a mid-century breakfast set with four yellow chairs and butcher block laminated table with matching server; great pine desk with hutch; vintage china; cookware, table linens, glassware, Pyrex, Corningware, Frankoma, and Russell Wright...Read more
Kitchen spy: Stephanie AlexanderGood Food, February 11th
My mother's Spode English bone china. She saved up for this and purchased it at the Primrose Pottery Shop. Anyone over the age of 60 would remember it. Whenever I have lots of people over the Spode comes out. My beautiful tablecloths; they are a great ...Read more
Potter Hewitt's talk, demos at WCU postponedAsheville Citizen-Times, February 11th
Born in Stoke-on-Trent, England, Hewitt is the son and grandson of directors of Spode, makers of fine china. In the early 1970s, he decided to He and his wife, Carol, moved to Pittsboro in 1983 to set up their pottery studio. Hewitt specializes in...Read more