24 June 2014

Anyone for Tennis?

Spode made beautiful and specialist wares for use at tennis parties which were all the rage for the well-to-do in the late 1800s.

If you think you know what a 'tennis set' is, think again...

Here is a beautifully painted and gilded bone china tennis set from the 1870s. It is the best quality bone china from Spode, under the Copeland ownership. It is hand painted to resemble a leaf, gilded, and the gilding on the saucer is chased. This is a very high quality and technically brilliant object made by the Spode factory at this time. The design is made specifically for tea and dainty sandwiches!

Tennis set from the Met Museum c1871
Many patterns are recorded for tennis sets in the Spode archive in the pattern books. They are mostly in the D Books at the height of the fashion in the 1870s. Often a pattern number, prefixed with D, will appear painted on the base of the pieces.

You can find out more about Spode and Tennis by clicking here.

And click here for another image of a tennis set.