29 May 2017

Spode and London

Trade Card, 1825 British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings
Recently I was delighted to hear from Judy Rudoe of the British Museum who kindly let me know about a Spode trade card in the museum's collection. It was great to share information with each other about this little piece of paper. I intended  this post to be a short blog showing the trade card but it has grown a bit... it is surprising how much can be gleaned from a single trade card of 1825.

I have written about the Spode company's London business on this blog before, in a post about the company's showrooms. You can find it here: Spode and Showing Off. But there is more detail to discover about the London business with this trade card.

Josiah Spode II (1755-1827) set up Spode's London business in 1778. Josiah Spode II was the eldest son of the company's founder, Josiah Spode I (1733-1797).*
Josiah Spode II (1755-1827)
Spode's Portugal Street premises
If you look at the front of the trade card you can see that the London business is in Portugal Street to where it had moved in 1794. It had begun at 29 Fore Street - 'the chief shopping street in the northern part of the City [London] until the mid-19th century'.**

By the date of this card, 1825, the business was called 'Spode, Copeland & Son'. I found this very interesting because of the style of the company name. Who exactly are these individuals involved with Spode's London business?

'Spode' is Josiah Spode II (1755-1827).
In 1825 he was back in Stoke running the manufactory and his eldest son, William Spode, had been running the London business with William Copeland.

In July 2020 I found the lovely 'Wm Spode & Co' trade card shown below, in the V & A Collections online. I can date it to between 1805 and 1811.
Trade Card, 1805-1811 Wm Spode & Co
William Spode retired in 1811 - a wealthy young man - and Spode II had taken over his son's role in the partnership with William Copeland in 1812. It is Copeland who would have had most of the responsibility in London whilst Josiah Spode II concentrated on Stoke.

'Copeland' is the William Copeland (1765-1826) mentioned above, who had worked, from a young age, for Spode II in London, from about 1784. He probably began as a traveller or salesman in tea - a perfect link to pottery and porcelain. He rose through the business to eventually become a partner and to be a trusted friend of the Spodes. From a humble background, he too became wealthy from his hard work which had led to success and respect in the business. He was ambitious and wealthy enough to eventually purchase the Leyton estate.

'Son' is William Taylor Copeland (1797-1868) who was the son of William Copeland mentioned above. William Taylor Copeland was admitted into the London business in 1824.

William Copeland (the father) died in January 1826. Following this Spode II and William Taylor Copeland entered into partnership in April 1826.
William Copeland
So from these details it can be seen that the 'Spode, Copeland & Son' style for the London business had just a short date range as the company name from 1824 to 1826.

On the trade card you may also have noticed that the company is described as 'Porcelain, Earthenware and Glass Manufacturers'. Spode manufactured porcelain, now known as bone china, and earthenware but it is not thought they ever manufactured glass. This would have been bought in from a reputable manufacturer/supplier to sell on to their customers.

There is also the important fact that they were 'Porcelain, Earthenware and Glass Manufacturers TO THE KING'. Great marketing! This was HM George IV and the Spode company had also supplied him with wares of all sorts prior to his coronation whilst he was HRH Prince of Wales.
Reverse of the trade card British Museum, Department of Prints and Drawings
The reverse of the trade card has been used as a receipt. It reads: 'Recd. July 9th 1825 of Mrs Chandos Leigh One pound five shillings as per Acct. for Spode etc £1.5.0 Wm Davey'.

I wonder what Spode goodies Mrs Chandos Leigh bought? Here are some of the wares which Spode produced in the 1820s which Mrs Chandos Leigh may have seen in London. They include designs for teawares (full size and miniature or 'toy'), dessert wares, dinner wares and ornamental wares.
Part toy teaset & tray, pattern 3157, c1821
Dessert tureen stand, Felspar porcelain, pattern 4130 c1825
 Incense Burner, bone china, pattern 3798, c1824
'New Shape French Jar', bone china, c1823
Dish, earthenware, Geranium pattern, transfer printed c1818
Jug, sprigged stoneware c1820
By 1833 William Taylor Copeland was the sole owner of the Spode company (the London business and the Stoke manufactory). The Spode family was no longer involved following the deaths of Josiah Spode II in 1827 and Josiah Spode III (his second son) in 1829. The Copeland family owned Spode longer than anybody else. You can also visit my page Who Owned Spode? for more information.
*Many people seem to merge all the Josiah Spodes plus Spode, the company, into one - it can get very confusing... and to me seems a little unfair on the individuals.

Of course in their lifetimes the several Josiah Spodes were never known by the suffixes I, II, III & IV. For example they were referred to as Spode the elder and Spode the younger. On the death of Spode the elder this suffix would shift...

Please see my blogpost A Confusion of Spodes for a little more clarification on the various Josiah Spodes.

**The London Encyclopaedia

Thanks as ever to Robert Copeland and  Peter Roden - see my booklist.