31 July 2012

Spode and Churchill

Manufacturing the Churchill statuette, 1941
In Danny Boyle's memorable opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics there were many wonderful scenes and surprises. One reminded me of Spode when a full-length statue of Churchill came 'alive' as James Bond supposedly escorted HM The Queen over London in a helicopter.

Toby Jug, c1941
In 1941, during the Second World War, Spode made a statuette of Churchill. An image here shows a process in the manufacture of the figure, assembling different parts from the moulds, before its first firing. For some reason I rather like the marching crowd of headless ones on the left of the image.

The statuette was produced in both bone china and earthenware and was made in plain white as well as decorated. When decorated, by handpainting, it had a black jacket, pinstriped trousers and a black hat. But when it was reissued in 1965, following the death of Churchill, the trousers had no pinstripes. Possibly for reasons of costing!

The statuette was designed by Eric Olsen (more can be found about him under O on my Spode ABC) and was just one of several items produced by the company during the Second World War. As well as the statuette there was a jug featuring Churchill's portrait, ashtrays and a Toby Jug. This latter was also designed by Eric Olsen.

Two other commemorative items were produced by Spode in 1965: a covered vase for famous retailer Thomas Goode; and a bust by Oscar Nemon, produced in conjunction with him, from his sculpture commissioned by HM The Queen in 1952 or 1953. The marketing literature describes the project with an illustration of the bust and if you click the blue and white image it should open large enough to read. The bust remained in the Spode catalogue until 1974 when it retailed at £18.
Marketing material, 1965