Blue Room

Few ceramic wares have aroused so much interest and affection as Spode blue. Books are written about it, learned papers and ceramic societies devoted to it and collectors throughout the world eagerly seek and treasure specimens.
For over 200 years, ever since Josiah Spode first perfected the process of blue underglaze printing, Spode's original blue and white designs have become some of the most collectable and sought after in the history of ceramics.
Today, using techniques and designs from a wealth of authentic engravings and moulds carefully preserved in the Spode archives, many of these same designs and items are again being produced to the delight of collectors and connoisseurs.
Its continuing appeal is not surprising. Because, apart from its intrinsic beauty, the history of Spode blue is a fascinating story.

From poor beginnings, the young Josiah Spode soon proved his ability as an apprentice to become one of the most skilled potters. He quickly demonstrated not only his unique creativity, but also his acumen in recognising a market opportunity, with the development that was to transform the pottery industry forever.
From 1773 the East India Company had begun to reduce their imports of chinaware, making it difficult for families to obtain replacements and additions. Then in 1784, the enormous tax on tea was dramatically reduced, significantly increasing the frequency and enjoyment of tea drinking, which in turn, increased the demand for tea services and pots.
It was in 1784, that Josiah Spode I perfected the process of blue underglaze printing on earthenware from hand-engraved copper plates. This not only assured his fame and the future prosperity of his company, but was essential to the phenomenal growth of the English tableware industry.

The Blue Room Collection

The Blue Room Collection

For many years the wonderful collection of antique blue printed wares has given great pleasure to the thousands of visitors to Spode. Now, using traditional techniques and designs from a wealth of authentic engravings and moulds carefully preserved in the Spode archives, the same original blue and white designs first produced in the eighteenth century are being produced today, in addition to the Spode blue dinnerware patterns which have been in continuous production since the early 1800's. Absolutely faithful to the Spode blue tradition, these will become treasured heirlooms for future generations.


Initially, the patterns were reproductions of the Chinese porcelain designs, firmly establishing the popularity of blue and white themes, but others soon followed, including the earliest blue florals. Three original patterns from the period 1790 to 1820 - Blue Italian, Tower Blue and Willow - are still produced at Spode today.
These designs were not only popular in Britain, but were also being exported to the New World. Evidently Spode blue was one of the early settlers' cherished reminders of home, travelling across the great plains in covered wagons and adding a sophisticated touch to the drawing rooms of New York and Boston.
Inspired by Spodes' success with blue transfer printing, others were quick to follow. But Spode blue was and is, the original.