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 h...
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. Copeland, and then W. T. Copeland and Sons in 1867. During this period, the company began producing Parian ware, its line of statuary porcelain busts and figures.
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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£72k repairs planned for Spode WorksThis is Staffordshire, May 23rd
Extensive refurbishment work has been carried out to the site's China Hall and at the former visitors centre, which houses the British Ceramics Biennial and the Spode Museum Trust, over the last three years. The Prince's Regeneration Trust is also...Read more
Prince Charles to showcase projects in Stoke-on-Trent visitThis is Staffordshire, May 14th
His Royal Highness will point towards the ambitious £8.5 million project at Middleport Pottery before enjoying a tour of Burslem and its historic buildings. He will be joined by politicians and business leaders from the region. Main image for...Read more
Meldungen: ReiseNews IIBerliner Morgenpost, May 11th
"Unser Archiv ist weltweit einzigartig", sagt der Leiter und Tourismusforscher Hasso Spode. Lange Zeit war unklar, ob das 1986 an Faszinierende Mitmach-Illusionen aus China" heißt der Titel der Sonderschau, die vom 29. Juni bis 10. November zu...Read more
Korky Vann: In Salisbury, Prime Finds Sells Antiques For CharityHartford Courant, May 10th
Instead, you might find a baby grand piano, vintage wicker garden set, pink glass art deco chandelier, delicate Spode china, classic roll top desk, wrought iron baker's rack or a mahogany dining room set — all in near-perfect condition and artfully...Read more
Firms fired up for the British Ceramics BiennialThis is Staffordshire, May 9th
And organisers are forging links with pottery companies, craft producers and tourism agencies in a bid to maximise the impact of the 2013 showcase. .... “At last, something the council is spending money on that is worthwhile and on the Spode site as well...Read more
UK ceramics industry undergoes revivalFinancial Times, April 26th
Portmeirion, the Aim-listed company that bought Spode and Royal Worcester out of administration in 2009, has moved some of the production of its Spode Blue Italian range back from China. But, at the same time, it is also selling strongly in Asia. Its...Read more