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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
The Bowes Museum: Ceramics
Ceramics at The V&A
Clubs & Associations
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Spode China
Source: Google News
Plan unveiled for hotel and wedding chapel at Spode Works in StokeStaffsLive, November 27th
She said: “The restoration and reuse of the former Spode pottery site is an important element in the regeneration of the wider Stoke Conservation Area. “This will bring a renewed character to Spode.” A decision on the plan is expected to be made in...Read more
Hampden Heights woman feeds a Greek armyReading Eagle, November 26th
"This isn't Norman Rockwell," Maria Care announced as she bustled around the kitchen in her mother's Hampden Heights home Thursday morning. "This is my big, fat Greek Thanksgiving." It was the calm before the incoming tide, which would see nearly 40 ...Read more
What's Ahead for Tuesday Morning Corporation After Today's Huge Increase?Voice Chronicle, November 26th
Steiff stuffed animals, Royal Dalton china and giftware, Farberware cookware, Martex bathtowels, Samsonite luggage, Spode china, Madame Alexander dolls and many others.” Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Tuesday Morning Corporation ...Read more
Shop local: Black Friday deals at area businessesGreensboro News & Record (blog), November 26th
Replacements, Ltd., (1089 Knox Road, McLeansville) the world's largest retailer of old and new china, crystal, silver and collectibles, is offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for the first time. The specials include a set of eight Spode...Read more
More than just a meal: Patterns help bring memories to the tableThe Daily Nonpareil, November 22nd
As the holidays draw closer and you're pulling out your old family recipes, putting down the tablecloth and sorting through your seasonal decor, one last-minute worry might not be such a hassle anymore. Southwest Iowa shares a tradition steeped in ...Read more
Once-pricey heirlooms losing their valueColumbus Dispatch, November 22nd
Evolving tastes, changing demographics and technology have conspired to reduce the value of china, crystal, furniture and other once-pricey heirlooms that have been handed down from generation to generation. “I have these ... While collectors might...Read more
Spode works £1.7 million development - how would you like to see the garden grow?Stoke Sentinel, November 19th
CERAMIC displays, benches and children's activities are just a few ways the garden at a former pottery could be brought back to life. The land at the former Spode Works, in Stoke, is due to undergo a major restoration project as part of Stoke-on-Trent...Read more
Connecting past & presentCamas Washougal Post Record, November 17th
There, visitors will see replicas of Spode China, popular at Fort Vancouver from the 1830s to the 1850s, included in the wall and tile designs. “The China collection is really important to the museum and we are dedicated to sharing it with visitors...Read more