Spode’s Blue Italian service is possibly one of the most globally successful tableware designs of all time. Now produced by Portmeirion at their Stoke-on-Trent factory just a few yards from Spode’s original, it’s hard to imagine any other earthenware that is so instantly recognisable. So we at Magellan – fans and collectors of the design as were our families before us – are proud to celebrate Blue Italian’s 200th anniversary in 2016.
What is the Blue Italian design?
The central design is of a finely detailed 18th century Imari Oriental border, encompassing a serene Italian countryside scene in tones of deep blue on cream.
Where did the original design come from?
You might ask – but you’d be disappointed if you expect an answer for it is lost in the mists of time – a mystery, if you like. In the days before the copyright act, it was possible to copy from the paintings of the great masters and possibly that’s what happened here but who knows?
When was Spode established?
Josiah Spode I established the brand in 1770 in Stoke-on-Trent, perfecting the technique of blue under-glaze transfer printing allowing his factory to produce hundreds of blue and white ceramic designs. Thus history was made.
When did Blue Italian emerge?
Spode’s Blue Italian first saw the light of day in 1816, released by Josiah’s son & successor, Josiah II, swiftly earning a global following which continues to this day, some 200 years later.
How is Spode marking the 200th anniversary?
They’ve launched a 200th anniversary collection, inspired by historical Blue Italian pieces. The range includes a hot beverage pot, biscuit barrel, 2-piece fruit strainer, 4-piece entertaining set, platter and bowl. A more contemporary adaptation of the Blue Italian design has also been released to mark the occasion. Giallo features a watercolour version of the Italianate scene with a yellow border.
Many congratulations Spode – we hope you continue production for another 200 years at the very least.
Contributor: Sue Lowry – imagery courtesy of Spode UK apart from images 4 and 6.
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