Copeland Porcelain: A Continuation of Spode’s Legacy

Copeland porcelain is a brand of fine china, porcelain, and luxury accessories that originated from the Spode factory in England. The Copeland period dated from 1833, when William Copeland and William Garrett took over the Spode business from the Spode family. They continued to produce high-quality and innovative porcelain wares, such as tableware, vases, figurines, and clocks. In this blog post, I will give you a brief overview of the history of Copeland porcelain, from its origins to its development.

The Origins of Copeland Porcelain

The Spode factory was founded by Josiah Spode I in 1770 in Stoke-on-Trent, the heart of the English pottery industry. Spode was a master potter and a pioneer of the ceramic industry, who invented or perfected the bone china and the underglaze blue printing techniques. Spode’s bone china was a type of hard-paste porcelain that was made from kaolin clay and bone ash, and fired at high temperatures. It was white, translucent, and durable, and became the standard for English porcelain. Spode’s underglaze blue printing was a technique that allowed for the transfer of intricate designs from engraved copper plates to the porcelain surface, before glazing and firing. It was inspired by the Chinese and Japanese porcelain, and produced some of the most popular patterns, such as the Willow Pattern and the Blue Italian. Spode’s porcelain was highly sought after by the royal and aristocratic families, as well as the middle and upper classes, who appreciated its beauty, quality, and affordability1

Josiah Spode I died in 1797, and was succeeded by his son, Josiah Spode II, who ran the factory until his death in 1827. He expanded and improved the factory, and hired talented artists and designers, such as John Flaxman, William Copeland, and William Taylor Copeland, who created original and artistic decorations for the porcelain. He also diversified the product range, offering not only tableware, but also ornamental and sculptural pieces, such as vases, figurines, and clocks. He also exported the porcelain to various countries, such as France, Germany, Russia, and the United States2

The Development of Copeland Porcelain

After the death of Josiah Spode II, the Spode factory was run by his heirs and partners, until 1833, when it was taken over by William Copeland and William Garrett, who had both worked at the factory for many years. They renamed the factory as Copeland and Garrett, and later as W.T. Copeland and Sons. They continued the tradition and reputation of Spode, and produced high-quality and innovative porcelain wares, using the bone china and the underglaze blue printing techniques. They also introduced new styles and motifs, such as the rococo, the neoclassical, and the romantic, which reflected the changing tastes and trends of the 19th century. They also collaborated with famous artists and designers, such as Thomas Minton, Richard Redgrave, and John Bell, who created new and contemporary forms and decorations for the porcelain. They also received numerous awards and honors for their porcelain, such as the Grand Prix at the Paris World Exhibition in 1855, the Gold Medal at the London International Exhibition in 1862, and the Grand Prix at the Paris World Exhibition in 18673

The Copeland factory faced many challenges and changes throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, such as wars, economic crises, and artistic movements. It also faced competition from other porcelain factories, such as the Meissen in Germany and the Sèvres in France, which also produced fine and fashionable porcelain. However, the Copeland factory survived and adapted, and continued to produce high-quality and diverse porcelain products, such as the Parian ware, the majolica, and the art pottery. It also merged and acquired other porcelain and glass companies, such as Spode, Royal Worcester, and Royal Doulton. It also became a cultural institution, which preserved and promoted the heritage and excellence of Copeland and English porcelain. It established a museum, a library, and a school, which offered various exhibitions and educational programs4

The Conclusion

Copeland porcelain is a remarkable example of artistic achievement and innovation, which spans over a century and a half and reflects the history and culture of England and Europe. It is admired and valued by collectors and connoisseurs all over the world, who appreciate its beauty, quality, and diversity. It is also a living and evolving art form, which continues to produce new and original works, thanks to the talent and creativity of its artists and craftsmen. Copeland porcelain is a continuation of Spode’s legacy, which has become a national treasure and a universal delight.

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