Spot the frog! 🐸
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This week I have another gorgeous dessert service: a Spode "Imperial" dessert service with the famous Frog pattern. But before we get onto the frog, why "Imperial"?
In the very early 19th Century, there was a real fever for developing new types of china. Josiah Spode developed the first stable recipe for bone china shortly before 1800, and soon there were several varieties of "stone china", a more rocky, very strong and cheaper material that was better for blue and white decorations.
Different factories came up with their own patents, which often contained very doubtful claims - it is more likely that they made those up in order to fight off the competition! Ironstone, stone china, new stone china... in 1820 Spode came up with "Spode's Imperial" china, a very strong earthenware that was whiter than any other earthenware.
These stone china and earthenware china bodies were perfect for dinner services for the rising middle class - they were just as strong as porcelain, but much cheaper to make, so they could be offered at a lower price. The newly wealthy middle class could now splash out on fabulous dinner parties, just like the much wealthier upper class. And as people's taste in design was still conservative, may preferred the old Chinese-inspired designs over the new English floral designs - you can see this in the pictures here.
This beautiful and very striking service was made in about 1828 in Spode's Imperial china, and it carries the wonderful Frog pattern. Can you spot the frog? The cool thing about this pattern is that the entire formation of rocks, plants, flowers and water looks a bit like a frog - and then there is that little frog jumping around 🐸
This pattern was first brought out in full colour in 1821 for the inauguration dinner of King George IV, and then it was repeated in this very interesting reduced set of colours: purple, plum, black and gilt.
Enjoy your weekend!
This week's new treasures:
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