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”)

Thepotteries.org

Thepotteries.org

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    

Stunning Antique Copeland Spodes Italian Pattern Porcelain Footed BowlSpode Christmas Tree Child's Tea Set Early 19th C Spode Coffee Can Pattern 1922 'the Beggar At The Gate' C1810-20Vintage Wt Copeland And Sons Spode Florence Pattern Vegetable Dish No LidSpode Pink Tower Rectangular Covered Vegetable Server, Rare12 Pc. Spode Blue Room Collection Italian Clifton Persian Bird Jugs Coffee Pot +Copeland Spode Pink Tower Square Plate, Rare(7) Vintage Spode Buttercup Mugs EnglandSpode Marlborough Sprays 4 Dinner Plates The Spode Blue Room Collection "tower" Jumbo Cup, Mint Condition!!Spode Disney's Celebration Christmas Tree Bev Mug New In Box. 2003Spode Stafford Flowers Narcissus & Crowea Rimmed Soup Bowl - New W/ TagCopeland England Spode's Tower Blue 7.5" Vegetable Serving Bowl Old MarkSpode Disney's Celebration Christmas Tree Childs Set New In Box. 2003Spode Disney's Celebration Christmas Tree 9" Fancy Square Plate New In Box. 2003Spode Fine English Porcelain Christmas Tree Disney Showcase Collection Plate4 Spode Jewel 10 3/4" Dinner Plates Heath & Rose5 - Spode Copeland Rosebud Chintz Cream Soup 2 Handled Cup & Saucers C. 1950'sSpode Marlborough Sprays Square Vegetable Bowl8 - Spode Copeland Rosebud Chintz 5 1/2 Dessert Bowls C. 1950'sSpode Copeland Rosebud Chintz 13 1/2" Serving Platter C. 1950'sSpode Copeland's China England Demitasse Cup And Saucer Green With Gold TrimCopeland Spode George Maquolo Mermod & Jaccard St. Louis History Set Plates 12Spode Sieur De Monts Spring Acadia National Park Bar Harbor Maine Plate ShermanC. 1888 Copeland Spode 'spotty Face' Toby Jug ExcellentSpode China Marlborough Sprays Coffee Pot 6 Vintage Spode Bone China Ray Harm American Songbird Plates Spode Cranberry 'archive Collection' Girl At Well Large Bowl Compote 10" EnglandSet Of 2 Spode Christmas Tree Grove 6" Salad Soup Appetizer Bowls HolidaysSpode Christmas Tree Peppermint Heart Bowl 8" C1938 S3324-a13Spode Blue Room Collection Floral Dinner Transferware PlateSpode Archive Collection Georgian Series Botanical Saucer Cranberry Red EnglandSpode Archive Collection Georgian Series Floral Saucer Cranberry Red EnglandSpode Cowslip Dinner Plate S713 Copeland - 10 3/8" Made In EnglandVintage Copeland Spode Florence Dinner Plate + Cup And Saucer Rare Vintage Copeland Spode Chaplet Muffin Covered DishFloral Haven By Spode Teacup & Saucer New! Easter Mothers Day Gift Spode Spode's George Iii Blue Salad Plate 686428Vintage Spode Fine Stone Queen's Bird Y4973 Bottle With Lid J 149 - 6" Tall6 Square Luncheon Plates Spode’s Cowslip Copeland Wicker Spode 8.5 Inches Nice!Copeland Spode Colonel White Gray And Gold Trim TeapotSpode Queens Gate English Bone China Serving Pieces Bright White With Gold GiltNew Set Of 3 Spode Woodland 6" Bread & Butter PlatesSpode :: Set/3 Cups/saucers Blue Room Collection Botanical England Nr!Spode's Jewell Billingsley Rose Pink Gravy Boat W/ Attached Underplate1820 Spode Porcelain Handpainted 967 Imari Pattern Taper StickSpode Gloucester Blue Sugar BowlSpode Woodland Hunting Dogs Single Mug S3422 Flat Coat Pointer Spode Blue Room Collection ~ Portland Vase ~ Two (2) Dinner Plates ~ EnglandSpode Copeland Rosebud Chintz 11" Jubilee Serving Platter C. 1950'sSpode Eloise Blue Lunch Plate 8" ~ Excellent11 - Spode Copeland Rosebud Chintz 6" Bread Plates C. 1950'sSpode Blue Room Collection Dinner Plate "floral" Blue White England10 - Spode Copeland Rosebud Chintz 8" Salad Plates C. 1950'sCopeland Spode Blue Tower Oval PlatterHammersley Bone China Mint Dish, SpodeAntique Copeland Spode Porcelain - Japanese Inspired Floral Vase - Lovely!Bulk Lot Of Small Dishes Inc Clarice Cliff Royal Doulton Limoges Burslem Spode Copeland Late Spode England 658632 Tea Cup Saucer Chinese Rose Base Dragon UsedSpode - Christmas Tree - Gravy Boat And Detached Underplate - Made In England