29 May 2017

Spode and London

Trade Card, 1825 British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings
Recently I was delighted to hear from Judy Rudoe of the British Museum who kindly let me know about a Spode trade card in the museum's collection. It was great to share information with each other about this little piece of paper. I intended  this post to be a short blog showing the trade card but it has grown a bit... it is surprising how much can be gleaned from a single trade card of 1825.

I have written about the Spode company's London business on this blog before, in a post about the company's showrooms. You can find it here: Spode and Showing Off. But there is more detail to discover about the London business with this trade card.

Josiah Spode II (1755-1827) set up Spode's London business in 1778. Josiah Spode II was the eldest son of the company's founder, Josiah Spode I (1733-1797).*
Josiah Spode II (1755-1827)
Spode's Portugal Street premises
If you look at the front of the trade card you can see that the London business is in Portugal Street to where it had moved in 1794. It had begun at 29 Fore Street - 'the chief shopping street in the northern part of the City [London] until the mid-19th century'.**

By the date of this card, 1825, the business was called 'Spode, Copeland & Son'. I found this very interesting because of the style of the company name. Who exactly are these individuals involved with Spode's London business?

'Spode' is Josiah Spode II (1755-1827).
In 1825 he was back in Stoke running the manufactory and his eldest son, William Spode, had been running the London business with William Copeland. However William Spode had retired in 1811 - a wealthy young man - and Spode II had taken over his son's role in the partnership with William Copeland in 1812. It is Copeland who would have had most of the responsibility in London whilst Josiah Spode II concentrated on Stoke.

'Copeland' is the William Copeland (1765-1826) mentioned above, who had worked, from a young age, for Spode II in London, from about 1784.
He probably began as a traveller or salesman in tea - a perfect link to pottery and porcelain. He rose through the business to eventually become a partner and to be a trusted friend of the Spodes. From a humble background, he too became wealthy from his hard work which had led to success and respect in the business. He was ambitious and wealthy enough to eventually purchase the Leyton estate.

'Son' is William Taylor Copeland (1797-1868) who was the son of William Copeland mentioned above. William Taylor Copeland was admitted into the London business in 1824.

William Copeland (the father) died in January 1826. Following this Spode II and William Taylor Copeland entered into partnership in April 1826.
William Copeland
So from these details it can be seen that the 'Spode, Copeland & Son' style for the London business had just a short date range as the company name from 1824 to 1826.

On the trade card you may also have noticed that the company is described as 'Porcelain, Earthenware and Glass Manufacturers'. Spode manufactured porcelain, now known as bone china, and earthenware but it is not thought they ever manufactured glass. This would have been bought in from a reputable manufacturer/supplier to sell on to their customers.

There is also the important fact that they were 'Porcelain, Earthenware and Glass Manufacturers TO THE KING'. Great marketing! This was HM George IV and the Spode company had also supplied him with wares of all sorts prior to his coronation whilst he was HRH Prince of Wales.
Reverse of the trade card British Museum, Department of Prints and Drawings
The reverse of the trade card has been used as a receipt. It reads: 'Recd. July 9th 1825 of Mrs Chandos Leigh One pound five shillings as per Acct. for Spode etc £1.5.0 Wm Davey'.

I wonder what Spode goodies Mrs Chandos Leigh bought? Here are some of the wares which Spode produced in the 1820s which Mrs Chandos Leigh may have seen in London. They include designs for teawares (full size and miniature or 'toy'), dessert wares, dinner wares and ornamental wares.
Part toy teaset & tray, pattern 3157, c1821
Dessert tureen stand, Felspar porcelain, pattern 4130 c1825
 Incense Burner, bone china, pattern 3798, c1824
'New Shape French Jar', bone china, c1823
Dish, earthenware, Geranium pattern, transfer printed c1818
Jug, sprigged stoneware c1820
By 1833 William Taylor Copeland was the sole owner of the Spode company (the London business and the Stoke manufactory). The Spode family was no longer involved following the deaths of Josiah Spode II in 1827 and Josiah Spode III (his second son) in 1829. The Copeland family owned Spode longer than anybody else. You can also visit my page Who Owned Spode? for more information.
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*Many people seem to merge all the Josiah Spodes plus Spode, the company, into one - it can get very confusing... and to me seems a little unfair on the individuals.

Of course in their lifetimes the several Josiah Spodes were never known by the suffixes I, II, III & IV. For example they were referred to as Spode the elder and Spode the younger. On the death of Spode the elder this suffix would shift...

Please see my blogpost A Confusion of Spodes for a little more clarification on the various Josiah Spodes.

**The London Encyclopaedia

Thanks as ever to Robert Copeland and  Peter Roden - see my booklist.

25 April 2017

Parian: 'The Bride' and 'The Mother'

Parian bust of 'The Bride' 1861
In the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge there is this wonderful photograph of a Copeland parian bust, 'The Bride', from their collection.

It is a stunning piece of ceramic manufacture in a body called parian. The fabric folds seem almost real. In about 1845, Copeland's parian, then a new ceramic body, was described by sculptor John Gibson RA (1790-1866) as 'Decidedly the best material next to Marble'.

'The Bride' is also illustrated in 'Parian: Copeland's Statuary Porcelain' by Robert Copeland. There are several excellent books on parian ware but this has to be the go-to reference book about parian figures from the Spode factory. In it Robert Copeland explains that 'the original marble sculpture of this subject [The Bride] was executed by Raffaele Monti for the Duke of Devonshire and was known as the 'Statue Voilee'. Monti's figure also seems to be known by many other names on the web...
'Statue Voilee' by Raffaele Monti now at Chatsworth House 
On October 11th 1860 Alderman W. T. Copeland, then owner of the Spode company, paid Monti £10 for 'a model of a small veiled head representing The Bride, and the copyright of it'.

In 1871 another parian bust was made called 'The Mother'. This was also from an original marble sculpture by Raffaele Monti (1818–1881). It is interesting to see that negotiation was made directly with the well-known and revered sculptors for various parian figures from W. T. Copeland. Papers relating to the arrangements are in the Spode archive.

'The Mother' was sold as a companion to 'The Bride' - not a matching pair but two associated subjects usually referred to as 'Companions'.
Parian bust of 'The Mother' c1871 in the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
Parian bust of 'The Mother' from Copeland's book
Cover to Robert Copeland's excellent book on parian
Frontispiece of my copy of the book with Copeland's lovely dedication 

06 April 2017

Spode's pattern 2789

Dessert plates, bone china, pattern 2789 c1819
Knowing my interest in botanical subjects on early 19th century Spode wares, a correspondent kindly told me about two square dessert plates which were up for sale online*.

These bone china plates from Spode were once part of a large dessert service, made for use, not simply for display. In the early 19th century Spode dessert wares were particularly fine; produced in the most expensive, fashionable styles; and sold to the wealthiest of customers.**

Pattern 2789 was first recorded in about 1819. It has a border design of mainly cobalt blue and gold - a combination of 2 of the most expensive materials for decoration - with a touch of red. The centres are handpainted with a pair of botanical subjects. Every piece of the service would have had a different pairing of flowers making for an amazing sight when laid out together with all its matching serving pieces.
Backstamp on the convolulus plate  - note the form of the figure 8 in the pattern number 2789
My original correspondent wondered if the flower subjects were taken from Curtis's Botanical Magazine which I have studied over the years, matching the magazine illustrations to Spode patterns. When I started doing this research at the end of the 1990s I used the original 18th century Curtis's Botanical Magazines, which are in fact books, in the Spode archive.
A volume of Curtis's Botanical Magazine 1780s
It was painstaking work, carefully turning pages, lifting the tissue covering the print to see if a flower matched a Spode piece. Many years on these magazines are now online. Hoorah! I use the fantastic Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) digitisations here. You can follow BHL on Twitter @BioDivLibrary.

It is still painstaking work but much quicker and much easier to share. A simple botanical subject on a Spode piece is fairly straightforward to find. You can see this in the example of the daffodil or, as Curtis describes it, 'Narcissus Major or Great Daffodil'. Here the Spode design of about 1808 is a direct copy of the magazine illustration of 1788.
Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Vol 2 plate 51, printed and hand coloured 1788 
Spode dessert plate, bone china, pattern 1100 handpainted centre with gilded border c1808
It gets more difficult for me to identify the source of the flowers when the Spode designs are more stylised, rather than a true botanical subject, such as in pattern 2789 featured here; and also the fact that 2 unrelated flowers are put together on each piece.
Dessert plate, pattern 2789, Tagetes and Bluebell
Curtis's Botanical Magazine Vol 5 plate 150, 1791
Dessert plate, Tagetes and Bluebell (detail)
I spent a long time looking at the illustrations in Curtis's Botanical Magazine online to see if I could find matching subjects for these 2 dessert plates but was only partly successful. I looked through the first 12 volumes and found a Tagetes, described by Curtis as 'Tagetes Patula. Spreading Tagetes, or French Marigold', which could be the source of one of the flowers but did not find the bluebell it is paired with.
Dessert plate, pattern 2789, Convolvulus and probably Delphinium
I also found the probable source for the Convolvulus described by Curtis as 'Convolvulus Nil or Azure Convolvulus'. I did not find its pair which I think is a Delphinium.
Curtis's Botanical Magazine Vol 6 plate 188, 1792
Dessert plate Convolvulus and Delphinium (?) (detail)
I confess I was rather relived there were only 2 plates to research, not a whole service of dozens of pieces...

Teawares were also produced in this pattern again with each piece having a pair of flower subjects. The flowers are as you would expect on the saucers but for the coffee cup and teacup the design is adapted so a flower appears on the outside of the cup - one on each side.
L-R: Coffee cup, saucer and teacup, pattern 2789
Saucer, pattern 2789
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*With thanks to Jayo Emms Antiques England for the images of the 2 dessert plates which inspired the blogpost.

**For more about dessert wares from Spode on this blog please use the Search box/page and enter dessert.