17 January 2013

Spode and Trade Winds

Soup Tureen, cover & stand, Trade Winds Red
Like Spode's famous Christmas Tree pattern, the very elegant Trade Winds pattern was designed for the American market. It was introduced by Spode in about 1959/60 and came from an idea by George Thompson, President of Copeland & Thompson in New York. Copeland & Thompson were the main agents for Spode in the USA and vital to the success of Spode in the UK.

George Thompson had researched the US market and decided there was a demand from customers for an historical pattern of this type. The idea was accepted by the Spode company and the project to develop a design was led by Robert Copeland, who I believe was Sales Director at the time. He was later to become well-known and revered as Historical Consultant to Spode and, later, to the Spode museum.
Trade Winds leaflet 1960s.
Careful research enabled the marketing team to provide appropriate text for this leaflet
In 1958/9 the team, including Harold Holdway, Design Director, started detailed research for the project. They studied historical sailing ships amongst specialist books and manuscripts as well as visiting the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich in order to get details exact. The ships chosen for the design were mostly American, with some British. The names of the ships were also to be added to the back or underside of the finished pieces. Spode artist Dennis Emery was allocated the job of drawing out the design. The design and development of Trade Winds took place at a period when great detail was put into the background of a new Spode design. This attention to detail is probably one of the reasons why Spode patterns of this type became so successful.
Company, pattern, ships' names & gilder's marks, c1960-1970
This is a transfer printed pattern so once the designs for the it were ready and approved, engravings had to be designed for the different pieces in a service and then hand engraved by the Spode engravers for production by printing. This also included the pattern name and details of the ships' names which would be part of the backstamps. You can see just how much thought and work went into the development of a design from concept to finished product.

The pattern was produced on Spode's Fine Stone body. This body was first developed by Josiah Spode II as Stone China in about 1812. Spode renamed Stone China to New Stone when the formula was changed in 1820; the name lasted 140 years only changing to Fine Stone in 1960 when another new formula was developed to combat some production faults known as 'spit-out'.

think Spode's stone china is particularly beautiful in colour and feel. It gives a perfect 'crispness' to any moulded design and has always been of high quality.

Teapot, Lowestoft shape
Trade Winds was produced on Spode's Lowestoft shape which was designed to imitate Chinese Export porcelain of the 18th century. Robert Copeland records that in the mid-1920s the shape was introduced by Spode in collaboration with Sydney Thompson of Copeland & Thompson because, in the USA there was a growing interest in 'Oriental Lowestoft' - a name erroneously given to antique China Trade Porcelain or Chinese Export Porcelain.

There is a Chinese porcelain teapot in the Spode Museum collection which is of similar shape to Spode's Lowestoft. In the late 1920s Lowestoft shape was initially decorated with reintroduced antique patterns Spode had made in the late 1700s. These were a great success and the company produced a booklet in 1929 called Spode's Lowestoft to accompany the product.

Trade Winds with pattern number W128 was introduced in 1959/60 and printed in iron red with a gold edge. This later became known as Trade Winds Red after other colours were introduced. Each version of the pattern would have a unique pattern number allocated to it enabling accurate manufacture and reordering but the main name remained the same for whatever version except for this addition of the colour. The W prefix to the pattern number denotes a pattern produced on a stone china body. This range of pattern numbers with this prefix began in 1939; prior to that the stone china patterns were recorded amongst the other patterns. 

In 1970 two more versions of this pattern were produced: Trade Winds Black with pattern number W145 printed in black and Trade Winds Blue with pattern number W146 printed in blue. Both these pattern numbers had a gold edge. Other versions were printed in various colours with no gold edge. A full range of dinner, tea and coffee ware was produced.
Special backstamp for The Preservation Society of Newport
Trade Winds was chosen by The Preservation Society of Newport who commissioned a range from Spode of the tableware pattern with the addition of their own special backstamp for use in their historic buildings and for sale as souvenirs.

The engravings from this pattern also appear occasionally on 'fancies' - a term given to gift or ornamental ware - on bone china. The pattern was discontinued in about 1993. In 1998 a similar style pattern was produced for a short while on earthenware called Blue Clipper.
Trade Winds leaflet 1960s
1983 catalogue pages for Lowestoft shape,
Trade Winds Blue and Trade Winds Black