Blue Italian

The period during which the young Josiah Spode developed his skills was one of great experimentation in the Potteries as new ceramic materials were tried in the search to manufacture white tableware. There was still a demand for the Chinese painted blue and white designs, which had become increasingly scarce and could not be reproduced in quantity by hand on the cream coloured ware of the time.
That was dramatically changed by Spode's perfection of the underglaze printing in 1784, involving the use of hand-engraved copper plates and tissue paper transfers. Already familiar with blue painted decoration, he immediately began to create patterns in the Chinese idiom.
Spode not only proved himself a master of reproducing Chinese designs sympathetically, but also a veritable genius in creating new, original blue and white patterns, such as Tower, Blue Italian and of course, the famous Willow pattern.

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One of the classic tableware patterns, Blue Italian, created shortly afterJosiah Spode's perfection of blue underglaze printing, has  been in continuous production since 1816. Perfectly framed by the 18th century Chinese border, the
central scene of Roman ruins from a mid 17th century ink and wash drawing, still requires the most skilled hand engraving to create its remarkable sense of space and atmosphere.

Blue Italian Pricelist


Perhaps the archetypal blue and white pattern, the famous Willow design was developed by Spode in about 1790 from a Chinese pattern called Mandarin. To this he added other features from his familiarity with Chinese originals. He probably added the bridge with three people to create human interest, the fence - a common Chinese motif - to balance the composition and the tea-house which derives from a Chinese piece, a shard of which was later re-discovered when excavated on the Spode site in 1969.
Although much copied by others, inevitably to an inferior standard, Spode's design was and still is the original Willow pattern.

Also featured in the collection, from this very early period, is the Blue Tower pattern. First produced in 1814, it reflects the interest in Italian landscapes at the time.
In continuous production since 1816 - Blue Italian is undoubtedly one of the all-time classic tableware patterns. The central scene is thought to be ruins near to Rome. In the interpretation of design, the remarkable sense of space and atmosphere, particularly the elegant integration of the figures into the scene, demonstrate how the outstanding techniques of engraving were established at Spode