Antiques expert Allan Blackburn takes a look at Copeland Spode pottery...
Last week we talked about Amphora pottery, a subject we’ve never discussed in this column before and then I realised we’ve never spoken about Copeland Spode before,
either. How can that be?
Copeland Spode is hugely popular with collectors and we have some stunning pieces in the centre, so I thought it was about time it got a long overdue mention here.
A fine example of English Pottery, Copeland Spode is the successful partnership of The Spode Family with The Copeland Family.
The Spode Family worked in the Staffordshire potteries from about 1762. Employing three generations of the family, the company continued to work on the same site for a whopping 250 years.
In the late 18th century. the company’s founder Josiah Spode produced what has since been decribed as “the single and most significant development in the history of this industry”.
He perfected the formula for bone china. He produced the first blue and white willow patterns and also developed the technique for underglaze transfer printing.
The Prince of Wales visited the factory in 1806. He was so impressed by what he saw, he asked Spode to produce a banqueting service for his coronation as George IV.
Since then, the company has held Royal warrants, as well as impressive commissions from famous names such as the Shah of Persia and even Charles Dickens.
So if you are collecting Copeland Spode, you are collecting the very highest quality china and are in good company!
Another example of their exemplary standards is that they were asked to make the dinner services for the Titanic. A special back stamp was produced and every piece was marked “Spode Copeland’s China White Star Line” to include the name of the shipping company the Titanic belonged to.
In November 2008 the administrators were called in and that would have been the end of the company had Portemeirion Pottery not stepped in.
Portmeirion had also bought Royal Worcester from the hands of the administrators, so to add Spode to their portfolio was a real bonus.
For collectors and fanatics it was great news, as it meant both these household names could continue their production.