In 1816, Spode launched a new set of chinaware called Blue Italian also known as Spode Italian and this collection placed Spode on the map as the leader in the ceramic industry. It is one of Spode’s most collected ranges up until its production in 2009 and is now famous not only in Europe but also in America.
The popularity of blue and white china was widespread in Europe and the UK in the 1700s. The demand for imported china was high and the pieces very expensive. In 1784, Josiah Spode mastered the art of reproducing these sought after blue and white designs and he set the standard for all English porcelain.
The inspiration for the Italian pattern has been the source of much research and speculation over the years. Unlike many of the classical scene patterns of pottery in the 1800s, the origin of the Italian pattern was not certain. Tilman Lichtenthaeler, a Spode collector and researcher carried out research in an attempt to trace and unravel the mystery source of the Italian scene which comprises of several made up elements, the ruin on the left, row of houses along the left bank of the river and the castle in the distance.
He found that there is no one place in Italy that holds all of these elements together and surmised that a travelling artist made the sketches of the scenes he encountered as he travelled his way to Italy. These scenes all together would become the Italian Pattern.
From the time of its production, the Spode Italian pattern was an immediate success. In the early 1800s, most of the pieces produced in the pattern were on asparagus servers, enormous soup tureens with ladles, cruet sets and huge meat dishes, clearly items designed for the wealthy. A catalogue from Spode in the 1920s and 1930s records over 700 different shapes available. The Italian pattern was produced in black and from 1954 to 1962.
The Blue Italian pattern is considered a design icon, with its scenic Italian countryside elements mixed with the Imari Oriental border. It resulted in a piece of art that is intricate and elegant.
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