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This is a beautiful Spode dinner plate made between 1816 and 1833. The plate is made of pearlware and decorated with a superbly executed blue and white transfer print of the famous "Castle" design.

 

Blue on white decorations were done in East Asia for many centuries, and were made popular in the West by the Dutch Delftware potters in the 17th Century. In about 1800, the famous Spode factory in Staffordshire created a transfer printing process that could mass produce beautifully decorated blue and white wares, making this a very common and desired choice of tableware for the two centuries to come. Potters all over Britain quickly started to make use of this new technology and copied the famous Spode patterns. These printed patterns varied widely in their quality; these plates are of superb quality in every aspect.

 

The image is a rustic and fanciful depiction of an Italian scene that includes the entrance to a castle, a river with a bridge and swans, various travellers, a shepherd with his cows, and in the distance an aquaduct. This image is a copy of a print of the Gate of San Sabastian on the Appian Way in Rome, from Merigot's :Views of Rome and its Vicinity". The pattern was created in 1806 but the mark on the back of this plate is from between 1816 and 1833. The border of the plate is a direct copy of a Chinese Imari design from 1736, and the combination of the two is a wonderful and unexpected combination.

 

Although the "Castle" design is still made today and has been popular ever since it was brought out in 1806, these early transfer prints were done with extreme care and have much more depth and poetry than the modern copies. You can see how things in the background are a little hazy, the clouds seem moving, and the trees have a wonderful diversity of foliage. Later on, the copper plates used for these transfers were made with less care and the images became flatter and coarser. This particular plate is a little fainter and fuzzier than usual, which points to the fact that the copper plate must have been a little worn and the plate would probably have been sold a little cheaper for it.

 

The plate is marked with the blue "SPODE" mark that was used between 1816 and 1833.

 

CONDITION REPORT The plate is in perfect antique condition with no damage, wear or crazing.

 

Antique British china is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. British makers were also known for their experimentation, and sometimes this resulted in