19 February 2018

Spode and a Spring Crocus

Dessert plate, earthenware, Spring Crocus, c1815
Backstamps on dessert plate
This is a Spode dessert plate from about c1815. It is decorated with a Spring Crocus from 'Curtis's Botanical Magazine' of 1787 illustration 45. The common name of the plant, rather than the botanical name, is printed on the back of the plate along with an impressed Spode backstamp.
Illustration 45 from 'Curtis's Botanical Magazine' 1787
The plate shown here was part of a service; every piece in a large dessert service featured a different botanical subject taken from the 'Curtis's Botanical Magazine'.

For this design the dessert service was produced on earthenware, transfer printed first with the plant and then with the leaf sheet pattern, which in this design, is called 'Thyme' sheet. The botanical subjects were then hand coloured. During the manufacturing process it meant that each piece of the service was fired in a bottle oven at least 4 or 5 times.

A word about the word plate. Over the years, when I wrote up my various research articles about the botanical sources for Spode patterns I had to be very careful with the word plate!

Plate could have 3 distinct meanings: plate as in a ceramic plate; plate as in a book illustration; and plate meaning copper plate i.e. the engraved copper from which the pattern was printed in the transfer printing decoration process.

More on my blog post 'Spode and Botanical Designshere.

27 December 2017

Spode and a Cress Dish

Cress dish & stand, c1805
This Spode item is very specific. It is a footed cress dish and stand. This would have been used to serve watercress in the early 1800s.

Made in a fine earthenware body called creamware, the design is an elegant, classical, repeat border pattern in pinkish red and black - all of which is handpainted.

The design was recorded as pattern number 687 and dates from about 1805.

I love the shape as well as the very lovely pattern of what is simply an arrangement of drain holes. This allowed any water to run off from the freshly-washed watercress. The little claw feet on the dish raised it above its stand so it does not sit in a puddle.
Detail of piercing
The cutting of the holes is done by a technique known as piercing where the intricate pattern of holes was cut by hand. You can find out a lot more about the technique by visiting my Spode ABC - click/tap HERE>.