18 November 2010

Recommended Reading 1 - 'Spode and His Successors' by Arthur Hayden

'Spode and His Successors: A History of the Pottery Stoke-on-Trent 1765 - 1865'; by Arthur Hayden; published by Cassell & Company; 1925

This book from 1925 is regarded as a standard work on Spode history. Some incorrect or misleading information has now been updated by more recent authors on the subject with new research but this older publication should not be ignored. At the time of publication the start date for the Spode company was then thought to be around 1765 and so the dates in the title made a neat century for this study.

Most dates of patterns and objects are now thought to be newer than Hayden recorded but on the plus side old documents whose whereabouts are now unknown are reproduced in this book so it contains important information. It also has charming loose leaf colour plates of pattern book pages and ceramic pieces of note. Hayden's style is authoritative yet readable and the preface sets out his aims. His bibliography shows the depth of his research consulting documents and books from the late 18th century up to the 1920s.

He dedicates the book to 'the Potters of Staffordshire....'

Not many realise that this book was commissioned by the Spode company, then under the ownership of the Copeland family. It was used by the company as a marketing tool and as a gift to special customers and retailers and should be approached with this in mind. Some copies which now come up for sale have a dedication from the Copeland directors in the front.

A recent acquisition of papers (collection number SMT 2003.1) into the Spode archive includes correspondence between Arthur Hayden and Ronald Copeland during the development of the project of this book and is yet to be studied in detail.

Arthur Hayden was already a well-established author specialising in books on pottery and the frontispiece of this book says 'by Arthur Hayden, Author of Royal Copenhagen Porcelain and Chats on English Earthenware etc'

A copy of this book is available to read in the Spode archive now deposited at the Stoke-on-Trent City Archives.

I would recommend this as a 'good read' for anyone interested in Spode.