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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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