22 June 2012

Spode and Barbecue

It is summertime in the UK and we should be enjoying long, hot, dry summer days. We are not! It is cool, wet and windy but it still seems the right time to write about Spode's Barbecue pattern.
Pattern number S3252 (detail)
The design was produced on an unusual triangular shape called Tricorn. (For more information on the shape just click here for my Spode ABC and find the entry for Tricorn). Introduced in 1957 Barbecue pattern is perhaps not what you might expect from its name. The pattern comprised a series of four plates with comical pictures which were entitled No Comment. Each of the 4 designs had its own pattern number indicating that these plates could be sold individually so, for example, they were not part of a tea set or dinner service - only plates were made.

Pattern number S3244 depicted a lamp post and dog's paw prints; S3251 depicted a cockerel bemused by a hen with ducklings; S3252 depicted a black cat being propelled to the moon by an old boot; S3253 depicted steeplechase with a monkey as jockey on a kangaroo.

Pattern number S3244
Pattern number S3253 (detail)
I find these designs slightly odd but charming. Why the pattern should be called Barbecue, with the addition of No Comment, I have no idea! The Shorter Oxford Dictionary on Historical Principles records that the word barbecue was first used in the 17th century so it was not a new word in the 1950s for Spode to latch onto for this new pattern. Perhaps barbecues became fashionable at this time (I haven't researched this) and these triangular plates with a quirky design were thought to be appropriate.

The backstamp included the word BARBECUE as if written on a fence. The pattern was not made for long, being discontinued in the early 1960s. The black and white photo shows the pattern featuring the lamp post and dog's paw prints this time on a round shape - probably April shape - the new and modern Tricorn shape was not a success in all countries to which Spode exported.
Barbecue backstamp