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In praise of tobacco

No, this is not what it sounds like! I am not praising the unhealthy habit of smoking - in fact I have never smoked one cigarette in my life - but this is about the Imari Tobacco leaf pattern by Spode, one of the favourite patterns made by this great porcelain factory.

Spode first brought this pattern with the number 967 out in 1806, and this magnificent tea service was made in about 1810. You can clearly see that this was inspired by the Japanese Imari style, which started to be imported to the West in the 18th Century. Once British porcelain factories started to create their own patterns, they quickly copied the Japanese originals and created their own concoctions of it; some more faithful copies than others.

This Tobacco leaf pattern is a very beautiful one that has been precisely copied from Japanese originals. You can see a garden landscape with fences, a large bamboo tree, beautiful blossoming bushes and in the foreground a large tobacco plant, sometimes also called a cabbage. The name of this pattern varies: Imari Tobacco, Tobacco Leaf, Cabbage Leaf. Whatever name you choose, it is one of the most popular Spode patterns of the early 19th Century, and is still made by other potteries today.

This beautiful tea service has provenance too: it came from the collection of Frank Herrmann, a famous collector who focused on large services like these. It consists of a teapot with cover on a stand, a sucrier with cover, a milk jug, a slop bowl, a plate and four teacups and saucers. I have several extra teacups too, so you can extend the service if you like.

I must mention the milk jug... it has a crude but extremely functional 19th Century repair of staples and metal wire, painted over with gilt paint. In my eyes it looks charming, and importantly, it is entirely stable, making the jug fine for use. The only other damage consists of a few small cracks to the teapot, but luckily it does not leak, so even that doesn't really matter if you want to use it.

Where to find things

You can find all my tea and coffee services here, and all my available stock here. If you always want to see the latest additions, follow me on Instagram... I post pictures and a story several times a week.

Happy weekend, and get out and pick some spring flowers! 🌸🌼🌹


This week's new treasures:​



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