History of Factory Wares
The Oriental Influence
When Josiah Spode II opened a warehouse in London in 1778 he soon found that there was a growing demand for replacement pieces for Chinese porcelain services. Always a man with an eye for the market, his father began to experiment with underglaze printing on earthenware in order to produce these wares inexpensively and effectively. He perfected the process in 1784.
Spode's early patterns were all copied or adapted from Chinese originals. His most famous pattern was produced around 1790 when he took a popular Chinese design, Mandarin, and added a bridge with three people and a fence from another Chinese design. The result was the Willow pattern, which was to become the most popular underglaze blue pattern of all time.
The Willow pattern taken from a Spode Copper engraving.