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These sheets could be used on their own printed in a plain colour.

Or they could be used as a 'background' to sprays of flowers or birds etc. First the main pattern, in this case the bird and flowers, is printed from an engraved copper plate and then transferred in position on the pot.

The Spode Company donated its massive archive of factory documents dating back as far as the 18th century, its pattern books, its store of engraved copperplates and its ceramics collection to the Spode Museum Trust which was established in 1987.

Many of the items in the ceramics collection were assembled by the Copeland family in the 1920s and the 1950s.

In 2009, when the factory closed, the entire collection was removed from the site and placed into storage.

The uniqueness of the Archive is due to a large extent that over two centuries successive Spode managements kept many documents and archive items that others might have thrown out. The Spode Museum has a definitive collection of items painted by this celebrated ceramic artist, ranging from exhibition pieces to an extremely rare plaque showing a Victorian cricket match.

Patterns like these could also have colour added and were then recorded in the pattern books with a unique pattern number - for example pattern 1864 of about 1813 which was a version of Sunflower, handpainted over the blue print in natural colour,s with a stunning red background.

A sheet pattern is a design which is not engraved to specifically ‘fit’ different objects.

However the Pattern Safe records, papers which were traditionally housed in a secure safe (the size of a small room) on the Spode factory site, are completely catalogued and the Research Files are substantially catalogued. If I can't visit in person can someone help me with my questions? The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service is committed to the provision of free personal access to the records and information in its care.

If you are not able to visit their Reading Room and wish them to undertake this research on your behalf, then they are happy to do so for you.

They continued to catalogue the papers; continue with ongoing specialist storage, care and conservation work and making the papers accessible to the public. The Stoke-on-Trent City Archives describes the collection thus: 'Stoke-on-Trent City Archives holds on deposit the archive of the Spode Museum Trust which not only includes the archive of the Spode factory, but also the files of research on all aspects of the company created by the company’s Historical Consultant, Robert Copeland and by the last curator of the Spode Museum, Pam Woolliscroft [me! We also maintain our own comprehensive library on Staffordshire and British pottery.' You can visit the Reading Room at the Stoke-on-Trent City Archives and consult the sources listed below, which may amplify or confirm material that you can view for free on the web.

Excitingly, in early 2014, following a project led by Archivist, Louise Ferriday, the first part of the catalogue went live and can be accessed on the Archive Service’s online catalogue - click HERE. The very large Spode archive is not yet fully catalogued.

(It is image 10 if the link takes you to the front of the slide show).

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Read the fascinating histories of the time- honoured art of fine china production. 
30-Dec-2018 10:07

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Dating spode