31 May 2011

Titanic Spode

Dessert plate, pattern R4331, White Star Line badge in detail (below) for Oceanic Steamship Navigation Company

On BBC Radio 4's early headline news 31st May 201) it was announced that it was the 100th anniversary of the launch of the ship RMS Titanic from Belfast. Ten months on there was disaster for crew and passengers on board this ship, which is well documented, as it sank on its maiden voyage.

Through its ships chandlers the White Star Line, who owned
RMS Titanic, commissioned all sorts of items to furnish their ships from carpets to chandeliers, furniture to bed linen and of course ceramics.

The Spode company manufactured wares which have been found to have been on the RMS Titanic during exploration of the wreck site. There is no record in the Spode business archive mentioning the ship and associated wares but it is now known that some of Spode's most expensive patterns were chosen for this magnificent ship.

It was not unusual for the Spode company and, later, the Spode museum to be unaware of where pots produced at the factory ended up. The Spode company often dealt with a 'middle man', in this case a ships chandler. It is likely the latter organised a stock of all sorts of items from which the required pieces would be called off when a new ship was commissioned. 

It is an odd quirk of fate that without the terrible disaster for this magnificent ship and interest in its story many decades on then few would be aware of the Spode services and other decorative arts associated with it.

For more information about Spode, other pottery manufacturers and their associations with links with RMS Titanic please consult the excellent website from Russ Upholster Jr and his detailed research. Also there are some great pieces available on this specialist dealer's website Luxury Liner Row. 

There is also more information on this blog just click or search for Spode & RMS Titanic.