The scalloped shape and exquisite detail in the hand painting make our museum feature, a tureen, platter, and ladle in the Spode Florence pattern, truly special. Our museum pieces feature an intricately rendered gray scrolls design with turquoise center. Florence must have been quite successful for the Spode company, because it was produced in a number of color variations, including blue with brown scrolls and yellow and blue centers with rose-colored scrolls. Another variation features blue, green, and red designs with gray scrolls. (You’ll note on the backstamp that the pattern name, Florence, is prominent. You’ll also note the “W.T. Copeland & Sons” imprint. When founder Josiah Spode’s grandson, Josiah III, was killed in an accident in 1829, the Spode pottery business was sold to the family of William Copeland, Josiah I’s London business partner. Spode wares bear the “Copeland” imprint until the mid-1960s.) While we do not have a precise date for the manufacture of the turquoise variation, our records indicate that the blue-center variation of Florence was produced from 1937 to 1972.
Spode promotional material from August 1957 provides interesting perspective on the origins of the Florence pattern. “From the carefully drawn and colored illumination of an Italian Renaissance manuscript - done by some forgotten monk – Spode artists took the graceful scrolls and soft coloring of Florence. The Charlotte shape, with its sparkling reverse swirl and scalloped edge, was named for Queen Charlotte, who used silver of this type. Florence is correct for any period from the Traditional styles of the 18th Century to the present.” The Spode promotional team certainly got it right - Florence is an elegant and timeless pattern. (As an aside, the Spode catalog offered an individual 5-piece place setting of Florence for $12.10. Granted, those are U.S. dollars in 1957, but still!)
Spode is one of the most popular lines we carry, and for good reason. Founder Josiah Spode opened the doors of his porcelain factory in 1780. Under his careful guidance, the Spode factory introduced two important breakthroughs in the development of English ceramics. The first was a formula for bone china that is still used today. Using bone ash, Spode was the first English china manufacturer to achieve higher firing temperatures, resulting in non-porous, beautifully detailed, and longer-lasting china. The company’s second important achievement was perfecting the "underglaze" decorating process – also in use today. Spode developed ways of applying intricate designs to china that would last for years without chipping, scratching, or fading. Spode’s addition of bone ash to the composition of his china and his methods for decorating it were both achieved economically – at prices the English middle class could afford.
While our Spode Florence tureen, platter, and ladle are not for sale, Replacements, Ltd. carries other variations of the Florence pattern that are available for purchase, as well as a broad range of china and collectibles, not only from Spode, but from many other English and American makers of fine china. Be sure to browse our web site.