19 February 2018

Spode and a Spring Crocus

Dessert plate, earthenware, Spring Crocus, c1815
Backstamps on dessert plate
This is a Spode dessert plate from about c1815. It is decorated with a Spring Crocus from 'Curtis's Botanical Magazine' of 1787 illustration 45. The common name of the plant, rather than the botanical name, is printed on the back of the plate along with an impressed Spode backstamp.
Illustration 45 from 'Curtis's Botanical Magazine' 1787
The plate shown here was part of a service; every piece in a large dessert service featured a different botanical subject taken from the 'Curtis's Botanical Magazine'.

For this design the dessert service was produced on earthenware, transfer printed first with the plant and then with the leaf sheet pattern, which in this design, is called 'Thyme' sheet. The botanical subjects were then hand coloured. During the manufacturing process it meant that each piece of the service was fired in a bottle oven at least 4 or 5 times.

A word about the word plate. Over the years, when I wrote up my various research articles about the botanical sources for Spode patterns I had to be very careful with the word plate!

Plate could have 3 distinct meanings: plate as in a ceramic plate; plate as in a book illustration; and plate meaning copper plate i.e. the engraved copper from which the pattern was printed in the transfer printing decoration process.

More on my blog post 'Spode and Botanical Designshere.