05 December 2012

Spode and Christmas 2012

Cup & saucer,
Christmas Tree pattern, unknown date
Backstamp 2009
It's Christmas time again so here is a reminder of where to find information about the history of Spode's famous and iconic Christmas Tree pattern and other Christmas designs from Spode. Click here to take you to my Spode & Christmas page.

And here's another reminder of a great statistic: in the last quarter of 1999, Spode's Christmas Tree pattern was recorded as the largest selling casual dinnerware pattern in the USA. Proof  surely that a design specifically produced for the American market in 1938 worked! In 2012 the pattern was still in production and Portmeirion, who by then produced Spode's Christmas Tree pattern, described it on their webpages as the 'world's favourite festive dinnerware'.
Backstamp early 1940s
Christmas Tree pattern was originally intended to be marked on the back with the greeting 'Wishing you a Merry Christmas 1938' along with the company's usual backstamp; but such was the immediate success of the product this was not used very much. It would have limited sales to a gift item for one year. The pattern's extraordinary success meant it was extended to a full range of tableware quickly and there was no need for such a message to be printed on the pieces. In fact the pattern book record is annotated in red handwriting saying 'Greeting Cancelled Sept. 1938'. So, generally, pieces do not have the inclusion of this greeting on the reverse but there was nothing to stop retailers and other customers asking for it to be added. The engraving was already made and it was easy just to cut the 1938 off the thin tissue transfer before applying it to the pot, as in the illustration here of the back of a plate from the 1940s. This also shows the pattern number painted in red: S2133 - they are not always easy to read!

Another Spode Christmas design is shown here designed by Christopher Boulton - it is lovely to see the designer and even the engraver acknowledged in the backstamp. 
Plate, Coupe shape,
Away in a Manger, 1957/8