Spode's design is called Indian Sporting which was introduced in about 1815. It is a multi-scene pattern with a different image for each of the different shapes within a service. Transfer printed, it required many different hand-engraved copper plates to produce a whole set of tableware. This may well may have been a challenge for Spode's engravers who had probably never seen some of these exotic animals 'in the flesh'. The piece used by Eglin was the 10 inch plate printed with a scene called, by Spode, 'Death of the Bear'.
|Left: Eglin 2011; Top Right: Spode plate 'Death of the Bear' c1815 (detail); |
Bottom Right: Source print c1807
This seems a popular design for modern artists to use as inspiration. The same Spode early 19th century plate was used by Phoebe Cummings in the British Ceramics Biennial 2013 who created an installation adjacent to an example of the Spode piece.
|After the Death of the Bear, 2013. Clay, cement, steel, wire, and polythene, 7 x 5 x 3.5 meters. |
View of work at the British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke-on-Trent, 2013
It may seem odd to us today to see images of dead and dying animals on our dinnerware but it seems to have been quite acceptable, not only in 1815, but throughout the 19th century as well as into the 20th. Spode produced several patterns featuring hunting scenes. There were also patterns which featured dead/dying birds (these in some of the most expensive combinations of ceramic body, colour and decoration) and cock fighting. Many of these designs would just not be acceptable nor desirable today.
|A backstamp from Spode's Indian Sporting pattern c1815|
Indian Sporting pattern was reintroduced in the late 1990s by Spode as part of 'The Blue Room Collection'.
|Spode sauce tureen and stand featuring 'The Dead Hog'.|