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Spode Online Exhibition

You are invited to attend a very special exhibition  of Spode Ceramics—from the comfort of your home.  A unique Web-based interactive experience in the field of ceramics, this online exhibition was launched on October 23, 2010, and is available to you at http://spodeceramics.com.  While focusing on the blue printed patterns of Spode from c. 1784–1833, the exhibition will allow you to explore the wider world of the Spode family history and business as well as offer ways to discover more about life in the Staffordshire Potteries of that period.  The site is dedicated to the memory of Robert Copeland, whose life-long commitment to the study of the Spode and Copeland family pottery businesses and to the field of ceramics in general served as the exhibition’s inspiration.

As potters to the Royal Family and to the world, the creative genius of Josiah Spode, father and son, made an enormous impact on both Georgian society and the history of ceramics.  Their unique blend of innovation, technical expertise and entrepreneurial skill led to the two most significant achievements in English ceramics: underglaze blue printed earthenware and what soon became the standard English porcelain—bone china. This non-commercial site is the single most comprehensive source for Spode blue printed pottery available to visitors from around the world—and is free of charge. 

Set in a context that explores Spode’s history and illustrates the Staffordshire pottery industry, the central printed pottery database allows users to search every known Spode pattern and many shapes and colored versions as well as the source prints and original Chinese porcelain designs that served as inspiration for Spode’s designers.  Of special note is an interactive version of Spode’s 1820 Shape Book. Visitors will be able to virtually turn the pages of this rare document of which only two copies are known.   From 1785 or so until the Spode family ceased potting in 1833, hundreds of blue printed patterns were introduced, themes changed with the prevailing fashions, new colors were introduced, and printed books were used as pattern sources. All of this information can be freely accessed at the click of a mouse!

The project was spearheaded by the Transferware Collector’s Club (TCC) in partnership with Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, Delaware, USA and The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.  Citrus Studios, Santa Monica, CA, were selected to design and develop the site.   It was funded by a generous donation from transferware collectors Klaus and Marcia Zech and a research grant from the Transferware Collectors Club.

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