This is a stunning pair of two lidded potpourri vases made by Copeland in 1891. Potpourri vases were used in the 19th Century to fill with scented materials to freshen up the air inside the home. These vases have outstanding bases with parian putti (or cherubs) squeezing grapes.


Copeland Spode was one of the most prominent potteries right from the start of English porcelain production in the late 1700s to the demise of the industry in the 1960s. In fact it was the founder Josiah Spode who was responsible for the recipe for bone china that made English china production so successful in the two centuries to come. Their items are of exceptionally high quality and many of the designs have become iconic. In the 19th Century, Spode first partnered with salesman and tea trader William Copeland, who later bought the Spode family out and continued the factory into a new area of successful design and innovation. The factory changed names frequently, always involving the name Spode, Copeland, or both. These potpourri vases are from the period when the factory identified itself as Copeland.


These two potpourri vases were made in 1891 from two different kinds of porcelain: the lids, bodies and feet are made of bone china, and the putti at the stems are made of parian porcelain.


It was Thomas Battam, the Art Director of Copeland, who first developed the recipe for what came to be known as "Parian" porcelain. Figures had always been glazed because British biscuit porcelain tended to get dirty when left exposed. In Germany they brought out beautiful unglazed hard porcelain figures though, and Battam decided to find a recipe that could achieve the same in Britain. He developed a hard vitruous porcelain that is ideal for making figures, and as soon as it had been brought out in 1844-1846, Minton copied it and called it "Parian" - after the Greek island Paros, which is where the Greeks got their marble from for their famous figures.


These potpourris consist of a body, glazed and very finely painted with flower arrangements and musical instruments and scrolls; pierced reticulated and gilded lids, sturding feet and of course the beautiful putti or cherubs, who busy themselves with squeezing grapes. The items are screwed together and marked on the base.


CONDITION REPORT  In fabulous condition without any damage, repairs or significant wear other than some very slight rubbing. There are some small firing imperfections on the underside of the base, which are from production and have no impact on the items.


Antique British porcelain 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 technically imperfect results. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines or develop crazing over time, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the maker's recipes, probably unknown at the time of making. Items have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear, and gilt can have signs of slight disintegration even if never handled. I will reflect any damage, repairs, obvious stress marks, crazing or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks, stains and gilt disintegration can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account.


There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can easily see with the eye; a glazing line is a break in the glazing only; hairline is extremely tight and/or superficial and not picked up by the finger; and a crack is obvious both to the eye and the finger. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!


DIMENSIONS 33cm (13") high, 15cm (6") wide


SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK, mostly by Royal Mail 2nd Class for the UK and International Tracked and Signed for the rest of the world. I am happy to combine shipping charges on multiple items - please contact me to discuss. In principle I do not make a profit on shipping although for simplicity's sake I charge flat shipping fees. If the fee charged greatly exceeds the actual cost I will gladly refund you the difference - at the same time if it is slightly lower I will gladly make up the difference. In some countries shipping will end up significantly more than the expected fees and I will contact you to discuss our options. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING SHIPPING COSTS AND OPTIONS.

Copeland potpourri vases, parian putti squeezing grapes, 1891

  • Your item will be shipped after receipt of funds, unless agreed otherwise in writing. 


    We will ship your items within a maximum of 2 working days after payment (usually quicker). We cannot be held responsible for delivery times once the item has been shipped as this is at the shipper's discretion and, in case of international delivery, can be subject to customs delays, weather, holidays and/or political instability.


    If your delivery failed to appear or was damaged in transit, please let us know as soon as possible and, in case of damage, provide us with pictures of the damaged item and/or packaging. Cut off dates for this are 14 days after shipping, or 2 days after a damaged delivery. We will need to comply with shippers' regulations in order to follow up the issue, but it is vital that you let us know what is wrong as soon as possible. We will do anything we can to follow up faulty deliveries but cannot be held responsible if we have not been notified within the required time period. 


    We always aim to have happy customers so if you have an issue with or questions about your item, please contact us and we will do anything we can to resolve the issue with you! 

  • Cancellations can only be accepted before the item has been shipped. Once an item has been shipped, the transaction cannot be cancelled anymore.

    Returns need to be requested within 2 days of receipt of the item and completed within 14 days from the date they have been agreed in writing.

    If you want to return an item because you changed your mind, you will be responsible for the return shipping. For international deliveries, this will need to be a fully tracked shipping mode. The item is expected to be received back in the same state it was sent - any damage due to insufficient packaging will be your responsibility. We will only pay for return shipping if we have mutually agreed that the item did not satisfy your expectations. A refund will be made immediately after receipt of the item.

    You are subject to the EU Consumers Rights Act, which protects your rights buying over the internet.


    We always aim to have happy customers so if you have an issue with or questions about your item, please contact us and we will do anything we can to resolve the issue with you! 

Covid-19 - we are open for business! 

We can ship normally to most destinations, but some are currently closed.

For the time being we have had to raise shipping prices as shippers are now charging more.

As we are living under lock down and can't always reach our stock, lead times will be a little longer than usual.

For now, please bear with us as we do our best to get your parcels to you as quickly as we can! 

If needed we are happy to hold your parcel for you until the end of the pandemic.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss and thank you for your business - it is a vital support for our business! 🙏

© 2020 by Gentle Rattle of China, London UK  

copyright on all images and text

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