21 November 2017

Spode and Bang Up Pattern... or the pattern with a funny name

Soup plate, stone china, 'Bang Up' pattern 2886 c1820 (Lovers of Blue & White)
Here's an oriental pattern from Spode with an odd name. Sometimes it is easy to find a reason for a pattern name, or at least to take a stab at why it was called what it was, but this one is still a bit of a mystery.

'Bang Up' pattern was first introduced by Spode in about 1820. It was recorded with pattern number 2886 and, like most records in the pattern books, no name was mentioned with the paper entry. The pattern is oriental in style but, unlike other Spode patterns of the early 1800s, a Chinese porcelain original is not known. The origin of the name remains puzzling.

The pattern was usually printed and then handcoloured. Some versions had added gilding.

Comport, stone china, 'Bang Up' pattern 2886 c1820
Comport, looking down. Note how the central design in the panel is adapted to follow the shape
'Bang Up' proved to be a very popular and successful pattern for Spode and several versions of it were produced over the next 100 years or so. It would seem the pattern is known by the name 'Bang Up' whether it has the panel around the central spray of flowers with a bead at the edge as in pattern 2886; or if these are omitted as in other versions such as patterns 3504 and 3690.
Soup plate, stone china, pattern 3504 c1823
Pattern 3690 is a combination of two Spode patterns - it has the 'Bang Up' centre and 'Ship' border.
Soup plate, stone china, 'Bang Up' pattern 3690 c1823 (Lovers of Blue & White)
Interestingly the design enjoyed a revival in the late 1800s and again in the 1930s. Some of these later versions are mentioned below.

Pattern 2/4074 was introduced in about 1895. It was similar in design to 'Bang Up' with pattern number 3504 of about 1823 but was produced on earthenware on 'Gadroon' shape. This version was available until about 1960.
Dish (meat dish/platter), earthenware, 'Gadroon' shape, 'Bang Up' pattern 2/4074

Backstamp on dish, pattern 2/4074
Pattern S2374 on earthenware on 'Camilla' shape was introduced in about 1938. The body had a 'Royal Jasmine' glaze. It was printed in blue, hand coloured onglaze. The 1938 catalogue, whilst still unsure of the name, includes a seemingly randomly chosen date for the pattern of 1808. Its marketing blurb includes:

'Here, in an oddly named design, the artist has evolved in truly Eastern style a glorious medley of conventional flowers, bright and gay, to please the most fastidious taste of any period.'
'Bang Up' earthenware, pattern S2374, 1938
Pattern W6 was introduced in 1939. It was on fine stone - a more modern name for Spode's stone china. It was again similar to pattern 3504.

Sometimes the border of the pattern was used alone with a badge or coat of arms replacing the central panel. The panel shape was also used in pattern number 2/6750 introduced in about 1915 but with a completely different design in the centre.

24 September 2017

Spode Patterns in the Very Early 1800s

Saucer, pattern 312 c1803
I rather like Spode designs from the very early 1800s. So here is a look at a few of them produced on the then new bone china. By 1804 around 600 patterns had been recorded in the pattern books. The books are in the Spode archive.

Each design was recorded with a unique number. Dates of Spode pattern introductions are always approximate at this period as dates rarely appear in the pattern books. The dates given here are based on the meticulous research of Robert Copeland.
Cup & saucer, Bute shape, pattern 309 c1803 
I have chosen to show some patterns mostly on teacups, coffee cups or coffee cans.

All are bone china.

All are handpainted & gilded (unless otherwise stated). This gold decoration is... well... gold! There used to be a specific gold safe at the Spode factory in Stoke.
Spode plate (detail), pattern unrecorded, gold border, c1800
All were fired in bottle ovens multiple times for the many separate firings they required during manufacture.

These wares were produced for people who were well-to-do; wealthy enough to be able to afford this very fine and highly fashionable ware and wealthy enough to have the accompanying lifestyle. Customers included HRH The Prince of Wales, later HM King George IV, as well as many other royal families worldwide. In 1806 Spode II was appointed 'Potter & English Porcelain Manufacturer to His Royal Highness'.

These early bone china designs are elegant and of high quality. Sometimes I think they look surprisingly modern.
Teacup, London shape, pattern 312 c1803
Pattern 312, pattern inside cup
Pattern 312 has a beautiful design of roses & forget-me-nots in gold cornucopia. It is a deceptively clever design which is painted and gilded inside the cup leaving the outside plain - Spode's stunningly white bone china set off with simple, elegant gilding. As you drank your tea the pattern was revealed and prior to that, if taken without milk, shimmered through the tea. The translucency of the bone china was as important in these fine wares as its whiteness and the sumptuous decoration.

Whilst Curator at Spode I once had a go at painting inside a cup. I found it was actually impossible. Well, obviously not really, but it helped me understand further the skills on a pottery factory and why apprenticeships were so long.

A saucer in pattern 312 is shown at the top of this blogpost. Usually, at this date, only 1 saucer was provided per teacup and coffee cup/can. This worked perfectly as the two drinks were not generally served at the same time and with no well in the saucer it could take the 2 different sizes with no problem. Today (2017) saucer, teacup & coffee cup/can are often put together and described as a 'trio'. The word, though, is not one used in the early 1800s but more of a marketing word to sell antiques, particularly where large tea services have been split up.
Backstamp on teacup pattern 312
Teacup, Bute shape, pattern 319 c1803

Coffee can, Bute shape, gilded tassels, vines & grapes, pattern 329 c1803
Typical Spode handle gilding, pattern 329
Teacup, Bute shape, pattern 330 c1803
Teacup & saucer, Bute shape, sepia & gold, pattern 333 c1803
Backstamp for pattern 333
Coffee can, Bute shape, pattern 499 c1804
Teapot stand, pattern 522 c1804. More HERE>
Teapots were not always provided with a tea service as customers often chose to use a solid silver one. However if a teapot was provided it almost certainly had matching teapot stand.
Coffee can, Bute shape, pattern 555 c1804
Coffee can & saucer, Bute shape, bat printed & gilded, pattern 558 c1804
Coffee can, pattern 558 in more detail
Saucer, pattern 558
I am illustrating pots here but, of course, the pattern records were made on sheets of paper. The patterns were illustrated on various shapes and types of ware. The pattern sheets were later bound into books. There were several copies made but all the sets have not survived. The copies produced were likely to have been: a master copy, a copy for use on the factory and copy for Spode's London business.

On the factory the Spode pattern books were kept secure as they were regarded commercially sensitive. Those which remained at Spode were kept in the Pattern Safe with limited access until the late 1990s. These are the ones now in the Spode archive.
Pattern Safe 2007