Archives For China History

Spode Blue Italian

January 28, 2014

 Ever wanted to know more about Spode Blue Italian china?

According to this blogger:

Tilman Lichtenthaeler, a Spode collector and researcher, carried out an architectural quest to trace the building types in an attempt to unravel the mystery of the source of the Italianscene. He found there is no one place in Italy that corresponds to all the features included in the picture. The scene is a composition made up of several elements. The ruin on the left, although architecturally incorrect, might have been based on the Great Bath at Tivoli, near Rome. The row of houses along the left bank of the river is similar to those of the Latium area near Umbria, north of Rome. The castle in the distance is of a type which occurs only in Northern Italy in the regions of Piedmont and Lombardy.



 The suggestion is that a travelling artist from Northern Europe made sketches of the scenes he encountered as he made his way through Italy. On his return home the sketches were combined into an attractive scene which, later, Spode used and chose to call the Italian Pattern. It is not possible to date this. There may even have been a print from a painting and then another painting taken from the print by a different artist…..





According to Wikipedia, Blue Willow is a distinctive and elaborate pattern used on ceramic kitchen housewares. The pattern was popular in 18th century England, designed by Thomas Minton around 1790 and has been in use for over 200 years. The design was inspired by the china England imported from China during the late 18th century.  In order to promote sales of Minton’s Willow pattern, various stories were invented based on the elements of the design, the most popular of which is this romantic fable:

Once there was a wealthy Mandarin, who had a beautiful daughter. She had fallen in love with her father’s humble accounting assistant (Chang), angering her father (it was inappropriate for them to marry due to their difference in social class). He dismissed the young man and built a high fence around his house to keep the lovers apart. The Mandarin was planning for his daughter to marry a powerful Duke. The Duke arrived by boat to claim his bride, bearing a box of jewels as a gift. The wedding was to take place on the day the blossom fell from the willow tree.  On the eve of the daughter’s wedding to the Duke, the young accountant, disguised as a servant, slipped into the palace unnoticed. As the lovers escaped with the jewels, the alarm was raised. They ran over a bridge, chased by the Mandarin, whip in hand. They eventually escaped on the Duke’s ship to the safety of a secluded island, where they lived happily for years. But one day, the Duke learned of their refuge. Hungry for revenge, he sent soldiers, who captured the lovers and put them to death. The gods, moved by their plight, transformed the lovers into a pair of doves (possibly a later addition to the tale, since the birds do not appear on the earliest willow pattern plates).




Blue Willow makes beautiful broken china jewelry and we have lots of it! See blue willow in our