17 July 2012

Spode and The Olympics?

As the 2012 Olympics are in the UK this year I have been trying very hard to link Spode with this major international event! Regulars to my blog will know I try to be topical and I confess this has almost defeated me. But defeat is not what the Olympics are about so here goes...

In 1955 Spode produced and elegant modern design by Harold Holdway called Olympus with pattern number S2933. As well as being very modern for Spode this design was also produced on the newly invented Murray Curvex machine which was researched, invented and developed at Spode with Guy Murray. The work on this new type of printing was so secret it had a code name... yes really. It was Harps.
Engraved copper plate, chromed, for Olympus
Olympus plate at the V & A
Olympus is a beautiful design illustrating Holdway's great skill at elegant simplicity. It was produced on a two-tone green and white earthenware of Flemish Green and Imperial. This two-tone range in these colours was called Fortuna. (A bit more about Fortuna can be found on my Golf page and on my Spode ABC).

I believe the copper plate shown here can be seen with engraving tools from the Spode Museum in Room 143: Making Ceramics at the V & A in London.

Statue of Jupiter Olympus plate, Gadroon shape c1950s
Another pattern by Spode in 1898 has a tenuous connection. It is called The Seven Wonders of the World, thankfully often shortened to Wonders. Printed on earthenware the pattern was produced in different colours with different borders and on different shapes. It became popular again for some reason in the 1950s (see the black and white image). The original design was registered with the British Patent Office with number 317544 on 20th April 1898.

The 7 centres were recorded by Spode as The Great Temple of Diana; The Statue of Jupiter Olympus; The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus; The Colossus of Rhodes; The Pyramids of Egypt; The Walls and Hanging Gardens of Babylon; and Thee Pharos of Alexandria (spelling as in the Spode Archive).


1962 Perth backstamps

Commonwealth Games, Perth Tankard, 1962
The closest I can get to an international sporting event is a Spode tankard made for the Commonwealth Games in 1962. It was produced on Spode's stone china stone china body called, by this period, Fine Stone. It also had an additional backstamp specially designed for the event.

This specially commissioned commemorative item was also designed by Harold Holdway. I love it!