Josiah Spode I was born in Stoke-on Trent in Staffordshire in 1733. His father died a pauper when he was aged 7 and he then he commenced work in a pottery becoming an apprentice potter at age 16. Spode had worked for the firm Turner and Banks in Stoke-on-Trent and returned to become manager in 1764. The firm became known by his name in 1770 and he became sole owner in 1776. Spode developed the technique for Underglaze Printing in 1784. He also introduced “Spode China” later to be generally known as Bone China, a combination of clays and powdered cattle bones. The Willow pattern was developed from an original Chinese pattern in about 1790. His son Josiah Spode II had become active in the firm by 1784 and they were joined by 19 year old William Copeland. Josiah Spode I died in1797 and was succeeded by his son.
Josiah Spode II, his son William Spode and William Copeland formed a partnership in 1805. The Spode pattern books were introduced and there are now over 75,000 patterns recorded. The firm was appointed “Potter and English Porcelain Manufacturer to HRH the Prince of Wales” in 1806. William Copeland died in 1826 and was succeeded by his son William Taylor Copeland. Josiah Spode II died in 1827 and was succeeded by his son Josiah Spode III who died in an accident two years later. Ownership then reverted to WT Copeland who recognized the past with factory marks indicating “Late Spode”. In 1833, WT Copeland formed a partnership with Thomas Garrett, the firm becoming Copeland and Garrett. In the 1840s, the firm developed Parian Ware. The partnership was dissolved just 14 years later in 1847 and the firm became WT Copeland.
Copeland’s four sons became partners in 1867 and the firm became WT Copeland and Sons. WT Copeland died the following year. The firm flourished in the latter half of the 19th century and into the 20th century with famous artists from England and Europe working for the Copeland family. The family continued to develop the company for the next 100 years. The firm purchased the pottery of Jackson and Gosling, makers of Grosvenor china, in 1931. To celebrate its 200th anniversary1970, the name of the firm reverted to its first founders to become Spode Limited. The firm was acquired by the Worcester group in 1976 to become Royal Worcester Spode Limited. The Hammersley and Palissy companies were also incorporated. It continues to trade producing a wide range from earthenware to fine bone china.
Copeland and Garrett Imari Bowl Copeland Spode Cactus Bowl
Copeland Spode Backstamps and Datemarks
There have been over 300 recorded backstamps from about 1770 to the present. They fall into four main time periods and some representative marks are shown:
1770 - 1833 - Early Spode
1833 - 1847 - Copeland & Garrett
1847 - 1970 - WT Copeland
1970 - Present – Spode
If “England” is on the mark then it was manufactured after 1890.
These were introduced in 1870 and continued to 1957 for earthenware and 1963 for bone china. A letter indicated the month of manufacture and two numbers underneath indicated the year. The month letters are:
January J July L
February F August T
March M September S
April A October O
May Y November N
June U December D
Thus T over 96 would date the piece to August 1896.
More recent marks are complicated.
Pattern Number Datemarks
Spode period – 0001-5350
Copeland and Garrett period - 5351-7747
Copeland period 1847 – 7748 to 9999 then D0001 to D9999
Copeland period 1874 – 1/, R or Y numbers
Copeland period 1939 – 2/, W, S or O numbers
For full details, refer to 'Spode and Copeland Marks and Other Relevant Intelligence' by Robert Copeland.