02 June 2012

Spode and Derby Day

Plate featuring Epsom Racecourse on Derby Day 1847
It's Derby Day in June. This is an important day in the racing calendar.

I know what you are thinking: can there possibly be a Spode connection? Yes, there is. A great design which features Epsom Racecourse on Derby Day!
Plate, detail of the Epsom stand
The detail of the design from 1847 shows the great skill of the Spode engravers. This plate was produced at Spode under W. T. Copeland (operating as Copeland & Garrett). It features the crowds, most in top hats, watching the races in and around the extended stand at the new racecourse which I believe were laid out that year. It was also the year the first direct rail link reached the town.

It is fitting the design was produced at Spode under the ownership of W. T. Copeland as, amongst his many interests, he was a racehorse owner and breeder. One of his horses was called Prime Warden unashamedly celebrating the fact he served as Prime Warden of Goldsmiths' Company. I wonder if he had a horse running at Epsom that year?

The pattern was printed underglaze in green on earthenware with the pretty border design of Field Sports pattern.