Gainsborough was first introduced in 1933. It has pattern number S245. The design was based on the work of Harry Hammersley - one of Spode's famous artists. He specialised in painting fruits and flowers.

Gainsborough was one of a group of patterns, including Romney and Reynolds, produced in the 1930s developing the theme of floral studies. They have no connection with the famous artists of these names - this was merely a marketing ploy!

Printed and painted underglaze the patterns demonstrate the brilliance of Spode's colours. 

One of the backstamps used on the pattern 1933-1969
The pattern was usually produced on Marlborough shape but until 1955 other shapes were also offered particularly in the UK market where Rutland shape was a choice for hollowware. The pattern was withdrawn in December 1998, briefly brought back into production in 2000, but out of production again by 2004. The Spode factory closed in 2009.

A mention of this popular 20th century pattern and an image can be found by clicking Spode in 1956.

Game Sets or Services 
Click Spode and Turkey which includes a little information about Spode's Game Sets, also known as Game Services.
Blue Tower Game centre, Gadroon shape
1962 catalogue

Click here for my Spode & Golf page.

Spode Golf prize bowl, 1814

Another name for Portland Vase pattern. Details can be found on my P-R page.

Spode produced a transfer printed pattern called Greek - more to be added to this page later.

Greek pattern dinner ware c1806

Spode also produced many designs in the Greek style from simple border designs to massive vases in the style of Ancient Greece. See Spode and 101Ceramic Highlights for a magnificent Greek vase produced by the Spode company under the Copeland & Garrett partnership.

Grosvenor China
A backstamp for Grosvenor China whilst owned by W. T. Copeland & Sons Ltd
Grosvenor China was the trade name of a firm called Jackson & Gosling (Ltd) of Grosvenor Works, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.

Jackson & Gosling (Ltd) was established in c1866 in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent with the Longton address dating from c1909. The association with Spode began in the early 1930s when Arthur Edward Hewitt, (Ted Hewitt) of Grosvenor China, was appointed as a Director of Spode, then owned by the Copelands. Hewitt was effectively headhunted by the Spode firm.

The Spode company then purchased Grosvenor China and the combined company was incorporated as W. T. Copeland & Sons Ltd in 1932. The Chairman was Ronald Copeland, Joint Managing Directors were Ted Hewitt and Gresham Copeland, and Tom Hassall was Art Director. 

Just as sons of the Copeland family played important roles in the 20th century business, so too did sons of Ted Hewitt with Gordon Hewitt joining the Board by 1955.

It is thought that Jackson & Gosling closed in 1969 and the trade name was no longer used. The Spode archive holds very little material relating to Grosvenor China.

Groundlaying was a type of decoration which produced a beautiful, solid, even colour often used as a background colour. It was a complicated and expensive process at which the Spode factory excelled. It was very involved and therefore used in the most expensive and elegant wares in bone china.
Groundlaying a vase, c1981
In total a piece would have been fired at least 6 times. The sequence of the decoration process was as follows:
  • If a surface pattern was to be produced (ie not just a solid colour all over which you can see in the deep crimson tennis set in my Spode and Tennis blogpost) then the pattern was outline printed from an engraved copper plate in pale brown colour onto the piece.
  • The piece was then fired for the first time.
  • The pattern was handpainted over the outline in high temperature underglaze colours.
  • It was fired again.
  • The hand painting was then masked with a water-soluble resist known as 'stencil' to prevent colour covering it where it was not required. This technique was known as 'stencilling out'.
  • The first coat of ground colour was applied all over. For crimson (which is gold based) the surface of the piece was coated with oil, bossed with a silk pad, and then dusted with the colour. For blue the cobalt colour was mixed with tar and the colour powdered on by dabbing with a fine sponge.
  • The piece was fired again to 760°C.
  • A second coat of the colour was then applied to the ground.
  • It was fired again: for example blue to 1060°C, red to 950°C.
  • If required as part of the pattern, at this stage any gold print was applied to register, ie fit exactly, over the pattern.
  • The edge, foot and handle(s) were hand gilded as required for whichever the pattern was being produced.
  • The piece was fired again to 720°C.
  • Any gilding was given another coat.
  • The piece was fired again to 720°C.
  • The gilding was burnished to make it shine after firing. Burnishing tools with wooden handles tipped with agates and bloodstone were used. 
Beaded New Shape Jar, pattern 1166, c1820
The illustrated Beaded New Shape Jar of c1820, in Spode's famous pattern number 1166, is one of the most magnificent examples of this technique with the cobalt blue at the back of the design being the part which is groundlaid. Note that the vase in the images from 1981 is the same shape as that shown in pattern 1166 from about 1820.

The technique description above is adapted from my conversation with the late Robert Copeland particularly referring to an elaborate, expensive and gorgeous Spode pattern called Worcester Wheel.

1959 china catalogue
The illustration of a double page from a Spode 1959 china catalogue shows tea and coffee ware designs decorated in the technique described. Note how traditional these patterns look with a 1930s feel. Elsewhere in the same catalogue Spode does show some much more modern up to date new designs.

For more details on many pottery processes please see 'Manufacturing Processes of Tableware during the Eighteenth & Nineteenth Centuriesby Robert Copeland - click HERE for full details on my booklist. Also many works unique to the pottery industry in North Staffordshire can be found on the excellent Potbank Dictionary.