This is a very striking part dessert service consisting of a high footed comport, three one-handled serving dishes and nine plates. This service was made by Josiah Spode in about 1828. 


Spode was the great pioneer among the Georgian potters in England. Around the year 1800 he perfected the bone china recipe that has been used by British potters ever since, and he was also the leading potter behind the technique of transferware, making it possible for English potters to replace the Chinese export china, which had come to an end around that time, with their own designs. This was fundamental to a thriving industry that would last for about 150 years and provide half the world with their tableware. 


This set was potted in the "Spode's Imperial", an improved type of very strong earthenware that Spode brought out in 1820. This earthenware is whiter than previous versionsand it rings like porcelain.. 


The service is decorated in a bright purple/plum and gilt version of the Frog pattern. The initial Frog pattern, a copy of a Chinese pattern used in the 18th Century, was brought out by Spode in various colours in 1821 and was used for the inauguration dinner of King George IV in July 1821. The pattern number of this was 3248; this is a simpler version of the same pattern brought out a number of years later. 


The decoration consists of a formation of rocks, flowers, foliage and water, with a little frog jumping up from the water onto one fo the plants. What is interesting about this pattern is that the entire formation reminds one of a sitting frog, while on the top right hand you can see the little frog jumping. The rims are a play on water and dense foliage in a rather abstract way. The colours are various shades of purple/plum and gilt. The plates have gadrooned rims, which was fashionable in the late 1820s.


All items are marked in underglaze blue with "Spode's Imperial". Most have the pattern number painted on in red.


CONDITION REPORT The set is in good condition, with several minor flaws. The comport has one side of one of the handles professionally repaired - this is not obvious at all, but it means it should be washed quickly without soaking the item. There are a few small nicks off the underside of the rims of three of the plates. A majority of the items is crazed to some degree (a few are uncrazed); two of the plates have some discolouration but the other items are still nice and white. There is some rubbing to the gilt, as can be expected of a service of this age.


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 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: Comport 34.5cm (13.5") X 23cm (9") and stands 13cm (5") high; serving dishes 23cm (9") X 21cm (8.5") and stands 5cm (2") high; plates 23cm (9") diameter and 3cm (1.25") high.


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.

Spode's Imperial part dessert service, Frog patt. 4233, ca 1828

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