What is Spode China?

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Spode is an English brand of dinnerware and homewares started in 1770 and still in operation today. They are renowned for bone china, but have included other pottery, stoneware, and earthenware pieces since their start. 

There are Five Periods of Spode China:

  1. First Spode Period spans 1766 – 1833. There are over 5,000 “standard” patterns from this period. Since so much innovation happened while the company was young, the style varies widely from simple earthenware glazes to intricately gilded patterns on deep backgrounds.
  2. Copeland Period‘s first part ran from 1833 to 1900. The Spode company was run by the Copelands for this epoch. Continuing in their prolific designs, over 35,000 new patterns were introduced during this time. Colorful transfers distinguish some of the new styles of this time.
  3. Copland Period’s second part ran 1901 to 1966. Figurines and transfers became more popular there, including scenes like hunting. Bone china continued to be manufactured.
  4. Second Spode Period runs from 1966 to 2008. Dinnerware was undergoing vast transformations during this time as automation made the costly processes of engraving and hand-painting. While the processes left little visible changes to the final product, the labor invested was hugely different. At the end of this period, production was even outsourced to China (for roughly one year).
  5. Present day period starts in 2008 and marks the return of Spode to English manufacturing. Present period Spode refocused on high quality and less widely distributed china. They’ve kept many of the traditional and most successful patterns in production. 

Spode Bone China

What is Bone China?

Bone china is created from treated (or calcined) and pulverized animal bone mixed into a base. 

Originally made by hand in grueling work, transitioning bone chine into larger-scale manufacturing was competitive. Perfecting the formulas and methods for bone china, called soft-paste porcelain, was part of becoming a premier china purveyor. 

What’s Spode Bone China?

Although Spode did not invent bone china they are credited with perfecting the method and ingredients for manufacturing bone china. Although not provable, their formula for bone china was at the center of their marketing success, beginning in the early 19th century. 

While hand-mixed bone china had ground bone ash with it other bases, Spode made the process simpler for industrial manufacturing.

What is Stone-China?

Having perfected bone china for industrial manufacturing, the next formulation that set Spode apart was “stone-china”. This early stoneware replaced the bone ash so that it was not technically porcelain. However, this was originally developed to be more translucent than it evolved into as an alternative to bone china. 

Spode’s Blue Italian Fame

Another area of distinction for Spode was their 1783 innovations in an under-glaze blue transferring of print. The development lead to the launch of the Blue Italian Range, launched in 1816, which is still in production. 

Learn about different types of china including English bone china and Aynsley china.

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