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This is a beautiful true trio made by Spode in about 1805. It bears the beautiful Japanese-inspired Imari pattern no. 715 that is called the "dollar" pattern, which was first introduced by Spode in 1804.


The set consists of a teacup, a coffee cup and a saucer; in the early 19th Century that is how cups and saucers were sold. As you would never drink tea and coffee at the same time, why invest in a separate saucer?


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. Spode porcelain is regarded as one of the highest quality porcelains around; for a soft-paste porcelain it is surprisingly hard and fine, and has a wonderful bright white colour.


The pattern on this set is called "Dollar" pattern, a very famous pattern that was used by English potters in the 18th and early 19th Century. It is obvious why it is called “dollar” - but its origin is less obvious! It is thought that this pattern was derived from a very old Chinese pattern depicting a tree with elaborate foliage that hides a Chinese character representing longevity or happiness. Traditionally, this went with a an image called “Taotie”, which was used on very ancient bronze vases from about 1,000 B.C. This consisted of a mask, which in itself consisted of two dragons facing each other. This image was thought to be used to avert evil. These Chinese patterns came to the West on Chinese export porcelain, and when English painters started to copy the patterns, they just looked at their decorative quality and started copying them without a clue what they meant. So the Longevity tree became a three-dimensional serpent-like shape, and the Taotie became a nice flower with two leaves next to it (the flower being the mouth of the mask, and the leaves the eyes). So an ancient Chinese pattern was copied by English painters and then called “dollar pattern” by Americans - and violà, here we have a beautiful example of globalisation!


The set is marked with the red handwritten SPODE mark.


CONDITION REPORT The set is in excellent antique condition without any damage or repairs and very minimal wear. Both cups have some light crazing on the underside, the saucer is free from crazing.


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 (diameters): teacup 8.1cm (3.2"); coffee can 6.5m (2.5"); saucer 13.6cm (5.35").

Spode true trio, Dollar pattern no. 715, Imari, ca 1805



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