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    

Early 19thc Spode Porcelain " The Rookery Dorking" Handpainted & Gilded DishEarly 1800s Spode Pearlware Blue Transfer Greek Pattern Oblong 12" Pedestal BowlAntique (early 1800's) - Spode Porcelain - Gilded Coffee Can - Very GoodCirca 1810 Spode Porcelain 967 Imari / Japan Pattern Sugar SucrierCopeland "spode's Italian"teapot-23.5cms Long And 12.5cms HighAntique Spode - Cup & Saucer - Gilded Imari Pattern Number 1588 - Very GoodSpode Blue Colonel - Two Cups Saucers And PlatesSpode England Christmas Tree 3" Butter Pat Dish Plate Lot Of 4 Beautiful Spode Stafford Flowers Fine Bone China Candle HolderSpode England Christmas Tree 3" Butter Pat Condiment Tea Bag Plate Lot Of 3C1880 Copeland Spode For Tiffany & Co. Demitasse Cup & Saucer Gilt Birds, BambooVintage Spode Copeland China Plates,9" England,9 Piece, Floral ,pink / Gold RimSpode Blue Italian 11" VaseLate 18c Finely Painted Portrait Miniature Painting Of Gentleman In Fitted Box Woodland Harvest Spode Serving Bowl Platter Exclusive For Williams Sonoma 2006Spode Christmas Tree 'butter' 'cheese' Spreaders---newSpode "woodland" Porcelain 12" Dinner Plate - Red GrousePair Of Spode Sabbath Shabbat Candlesticks 2004 Judaica Collection New UnusedSpode Albany England Yellow Blue Floral Set X 6 Large Dinner Plates 10 1/2"Spode Wicker Dale 2/4088 Milk Pitcher Chelsea Wicker Exc Cond No Reserve Spode Wicker Dale 2/4088 Footed Fruit Bowl Chelsea Wicker Exccond NorsvSpode Albany England Yellow Blue Floral Set X 4 Large Soup Cereal Serving BowlsCopeland Spode, Cobalt Blue, Mallard No 30 Dinner Plate In Wild Bird Series2 Spode Buttercup Butter Pats Older Backstamp 3 3/8"Lot Of 2 Spode Copeland The Hunt Plate Drawing The Dingle & The HuntsmanCopeland Spode "buttercup" Teapot W/o Lid & Gravy - See DamageThe Spode Blue Room Collection 4" Small JarSpode Christmas Tree Figural Salt And Pepper Shakers - New In BoxSpode Stafford Flowers Iris & Sphaerolobium Porcelain Shell DishElegant Vintage “spode” Davis Collamore & Co. Limited Tea Cup And Saucer Two Copeland Spode Soup Plate Antique C. 1876 Imari Diamond Registration Mark Spode Pink Tower Beaker Spode Italian Blue Nwot Large 16" Serving Platter ~ Impressive!Spode Copeland Blue Fleur De Lis Set Of 4 Dinner PlatesSpode Marlborough Sprays Multi-colored Floral Mugs - Set /11 Vintage Spode Christmas Plates Blue Room 1,2, And 3.England Spode Shanghai 4-pc Cream Soup Cups Copeland's R-5321 Insects ButterflySpode Woodland Hunting Dogs Dog Black Labrador Dinner Plate Made In EnglandOld Copeland Spode England Teapot - Portland Vase PatternSpode Pink Tower Sandwich Tray W/handlesSpode Copeland " Pets Farm " Child 3 Pieces Set - Exc++Spode Blue Italian Coasters1900's Spode Colonel Miniature Or Child's Cup & Saucer Bone China TurquoiseSpode's Billingsley Rose Cup & Saucer Old Pink Mark Excellent!!Spode Christmas Tree Baby First Christmas Set 1991The Spode Archive Collection Red Transferware Plate Georgian Series WoodmanSpode Christmas Tree Peppermint Cake Plate And Server NwbSpode Blue Italian Spectacular 17.5 Pint Dairy JugSet 3 Copeland Spode "mayflower" 10 1/2" Dinner Plates 2/8772Copeland Spode Chelsea Bird Exotic Embossed Flowers Black Covered Teapot3 China Soup 2 Handles Copeland Spode Style Chelsea Wicker Eggshell EnglandVtg Spode Christmas Tree S3324 R 5.5"t Porcelain Spill Vase & S3324-a5 CupSet Of 2 Spode Penny Lane Daisy White 7 1/2" Plates S3740Spode Marlborough Sprays Lidded Casserole With Handles 2 QtSpode Miniatures Made In England Spode Oval Vase Baroda Gold Rim Y8252-c Bone China England Blue Red1 Copeland Spodes Tower Pink Boullion Soup Cup & 3 Saucers Old MarkSpode Pink Tower Egg Cups, Set Of Two2 Spode Baking Days 7" Bowls, Nice!Fine Vintage Spode Blue Italian Design Cup And Saucer. #1.

Recent News: Spode China

Source: Google News

Jane Alexiadis: Souvenir and commemorative lustreware
San Jose Mercury News, May 21st

As early as the 1750s, potters -- including Josiah Wedgewood, Thomas Whieldon and Josiah Spode -- had built businesses in and around Staffordshire that produced earthenware and decorative items. The quality of these inexpensively ... Your collection of...Read more

Ceramic tribute to Stoke-on-Trent's brave soldiers
Stoke Sentinel, May 18th

The British Ceramics Biennial will return to one of the city's iconic creators of pottery when dozens of artists set up at the one-time Spode factory later this year. And the six-week ... For the first time the festival will make use of Spode's China...Read more

ceramics industry in battle over heritage
Financial Times, May 17th

are manufactured. Fiskars last week paid $437m to buy the Wedgwood pottery group of companies from KPS Capital Partners, the US private equity group, to strengthen its presence in the US, European and Asian markets. ... Many of the best-known UK...Read more

15 free or cheap family days out in North Staffordshire
Stoke Sentinel, May 17th

Staffordshire and the surrounding areas have so much to offer, from stunning countryside to huge attractions and of course our pottery heritage. So there's a lot of inspiration for a day out with your friends and family - but it doesn't have to come...Read more

How Kate Hudson transformed her Wimpole home
Cambridge News, May 15th

Wherever you look – to a shelf in the hallway, the dresser in the kitchen, the mantel in the drawing room – you'll see an elegantly composed tableau of vintage pieces: a Spode jug of flowers here; a well-loved wooden toy horse there. "I have a bit of a...Read more

Tuesday Morning Lifted to Hold at Zacks (TUES)
The Legacy, May 13th

Lauren bed linens, Waterman pens, Limoges hand-decorated boxes, Steinbach collectible nutcrackers, Steiff stuffed animals, Royal Dalton china and giftware, Farberware cookware, Martex bathtowels, Samsonite luggage, Spode china, Madame Alexander ...Read more

Tuesday Morning Upgraded at Zacks (TUES)
sleekmoney, May 11th

Lauren bed linens, Waterman pens, Limoges hand-decorated boxes, Steinbach collectible nutcrackers, Steiff stuffed animals, Royal Dalton china and giftware, Farberware cookware, Martex bathtowels, Samsonite luggage, Spode china, Madame Alexander ...Read more

New £19m masterplan is THE vision for Stoke's Spode site
Stoke Sentinel, March 10th

MORE than £19 million could be spent on bringing an historic pottery factory back to life. Stoke-on-Trent City Council has unveiled a new 15-year vision for the Spode site in Stoke town centre, which will involve student flats, artists' studios...Read more