Possible early Spode mark?

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Possible early Spode mark?

Post by Debbie K on August 10th 2014, 1:57 am

Sorry about the incorrect post in the glass section! And sorry about being so slow about how to post the picture, I was overcomplicating it.

Hello to all of you, I am new to this forum and I hope you will be able to help me identify some china. This is part of a dessert /tea set comprising 2 plates (1deep x 9 wide), 12 small dessert plates (3/4 deep x 7 1/8 wide), 1 bowl (2 7/8 deep x 5 3/8 wide), 1 creamer (3 1/8 tall x 4 1/2 wide spout to handle x 3 wide), 12 saucers (3/4 deep x 5 wide) and 6 cups (2 tall x 3 rim to handle x 3 wide).

Some of the saucers and plates have a very small impressed mark on them (photo attached) which appears to be a cross inside a circle. After looking at literally thousands of china marks the only ones that looked anything like it were an early Spode mark, or incomplete Satsuma or MacIntyre marks. Only one of the marks is very clear, some are more blurred and some seem double marked. However, the shape of this china (quatrefoil) and the outline of the handles dont appear to look like anything Spode ever made. The quatrefoil shape seemed to be used by Coalport, Meissen and a few others, but I cant find any china that has a handle in the shape like these.

This set is entirely hand painted, and there are other marks on the bottoms; Im assuming that they are decorators initials or numbers along with a pattern number of 1110 painted in gilt. A double dotted J, 14 or 16 are painted in gilt on the bottoms.


It was purchased over 30 years ago in Portobello market. Im assuming that its English in origin, but that may be an erroneous assumption. It seems to be very fine bone china and wonderfully translucent. I dont know much of anything about porcelain, but this seems to me very high quality. Nothing I have or have seen before compares to it.

This china pattern seems to have been made by a committee; it has so much going on. Not only is it a quatrefoil; it was a slight swirl and an embossed section that looks like scales. The bowl of the cup and creamer seem to be so much more refined than the handles, and the handle have this odd protuberance in the middle of the inside of the ear.

Hope you guys can steer me in the right direction. Im wondering whether or not it is worth my while to contact the Spode Museum or Stoke on Trent archives to see if they have any record of a pattern like this. I emailed Steven Birks at ThePotteries.org who referred me to Pam Woolliscroft; I'm waiting to hear back. I also emailed a Spode expert and haven't heard anything from him. I did find a book on Early Spode at my local library; it said that the use of this type of impressed mark was made on china for the Mercers' City Guild, so I wondered if perhaps it was a special commission. I have looked at so much china on the internet that Im even dreaming about it, so Im hoping you guys will end my suffering.

Debbie K
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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by user9318 on August 10th 2014, 7:06 am

I have seen a similar type mark on very early Wedgwood jasperware, but they did also have Wedgwood impressed.
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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by Debbie K on August 10th 2014, 1:54 pm

Thanks so much! I'll go look at early Wedgwood. Since the teapot is missing and was the thing that was most likely marked, it could be anything.

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by studio-pots on August 10th 2014, 6:51 pm

Pre 20th Century ceramics are not really where my expertise lies but from the mark it would seem as if these items could be First Period Spode from around 1800. Everything else about them though suggests that not to be the case.

As you say the handles are not correct and I have been unable to find examples of any First Period Spode with handles or indeed decoration of the type here. In fact the decoration is not remotely in the same league as any Spode decoration of the First period (or any period for that matter) so I would find it very difficult to believe that they were produced at the Spode factory around 1800.

To me they look to be late 19th century and they could be produced in the UK but I kind of have a feeling that they might be European and if I had to go with a country I would say French.

Once again I have to stress that I am not an expert and it is so difficult to judge the age and quality from images but they just look like generic wares to me from the late Victorian era.

Let's hope I'm wrong.

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by NaomiM on August 10th 2014, 7:19 pm

Not a style or pattern or mark I've come across before, which makes me think they were commissioned for the American market in the late 19th - early 20th Century. And maybe made by an American company (cf. Lenox Belleek, the American offshoot of the Irish Belleek factory).

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by NaomiM on August 10th 2014, 7:23 pm

Due to various draconian import taxes in the first half of the 20th Century, a lot of decorative wares were made in-house, rather than shipped in from abroad.

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by studio-pots on August 10th 2014, 7:45 pm

NaomiM wrote:Not a style or pattern or mark I've come across before, which makes me think they were commissioned for the American market in the late 19th - early 20th Century. And maybe made by an American company (cf. Lenox Belleek, the American offshoot of the Irish Belleek factory).

Why would you think such a thing when they were bought in London around 30 years ago?

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by NaomiM on August 10th 2014, 7:54 pm

Sorry, I only looked at the pictures Embarrassed But it's still possible. I have several pieces of American porcelain which I bought in the UK.

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by Debbie K on August 10th 2014, 8:24 pm

I agree about the style and pattern; nothing I've seen even begins to suggest Spode. But it seems to me that this set must be pretty old; it has no country mark. I also agree that it could be from just about anywhere. I have searched for weeks and the only thing I found was this:url=http://servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=9&u=18960892][/url] Sorry about it being a thumbnail; it's an old UK Ebay listing that I can't access and won't enlarge. The shape is identical but the painting is different.

I keep hoping that someone will recognize the marking or pattern or something. I personally thought it could be French, too, but I can't find any French marking that looks anything like this.

I appreciate any and all input and you guys have my sincerest thanks. I was trying to discover what this china is for my mom, who is 91 today. The old man that she bought it from told her she would never find anymore like this; he may have been telling the truth. Regardless of who made it, it is unbelievable fine china. I've never seen anything this translucent and thin. Remarkable that it survived a trip in checked luggage without one piece being damaged.

Thanks again!

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by studio-pots on August 10th 2014, 10:45 pm

The decoration looks to have been done by a worker employed on "piece work" rates rather than one employed for fine decoration so the blanks could well have been produced at a different factory to where they were decorated.

If that was the case then the impressed mark could well be just an "in house" mark and not to indicate where they were made for the end purchaser.

I have checked in the "Directory of European Porcelain" by Danckert, which is perhaps the definitive book of European porcelain marks with over 4750 entries and there is no other mark other than the early Spode one like this............... so I suspect it is going to be impossible to get a definitive answer to where they were produced.

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by Debbie K on August 22nd 2014, 10:09 pm

Studio-pots:

Thanks for your reply; I've been busy the last few weeks. My husband ended up in cardiac ICU and then we both caught the flu so I didn't check in regularly.

Since I last posted, I came across these marks randomly searching thousands of pictures of porcelain on the internet. The last mark is a early Spode mark.





Clearly, the mark on mine looks more like the Wedgwood mark than anything else, but the literature seems to indicate that Wedgwood was always marked Wedgwood, so it looks like I'm back to square one yet again.

Thanks again!

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by denbydump on August 22nd 2014, 10:35 pm

I think you may be reading too much into this mark, I know I've seen many similar
marks on 19thC earthenwares, eg large blue & white items, often fully marked, with
the manufacturer. I think it is just a potters or batch mark, the other numbers being
the decorators/ pattern marks. I would just put it down as one of many unmarked,
but well made 19thC china teasets I've seen over the years.
Further research would be on the shape and particularly the handle.
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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by studio-pots on August 22nd 2014, 10:38 pm

Wedgwood & Co. in your first picture were a completely different company to Josiah Wedgwood (& Sons Ltd) or the company usually referred to as Wedgwood. They were middle range producers rather than top range and began in 1860 and only produced earthenware and never porcelain.

The second image is from a Minton item and they made some porcelain but mainly earthenware again, which is the material that the item in your image was produced from.

I don't think your images prove anything one way or the other but it does suggest that my theory that the mark is just an internal mark for factory recognition rather than a trademark or seal could well be correct. Also looking at the pattern again, I think it could well have been produced for one specific client so I think it is just going to have to remain as "unknown".

So I'm agreeing with Denbydump.

Mysteries are OK.

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by Debbie K on August 22nd 2014, 11:10 pm

Yes, but oh so frustrating! The good news is that since I can't determine what this is and what it's likely to be worth, I get to keep it. If it were worth a lot I would try to sell it for my mom. Instead, I think will have dessert and coffee on them sometime soon.

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by denbydump on September 6th 2014, 12:00 am

Yes it looks the same, but no marks again! I wonder where the seller got the info?
"Radfordian" was indeed a trade name used by Samuel Radford, but from 1913
onwards. The pottery was in fact running from 1879-1957.
Not saying it isn't, but their pottery used a variety of clear marks.
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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by Potty on September 6th 2014, 12:49 am

The set in that link is very different from the one in this thread. Shrugs

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by Debbie K on September 6th 2014, 12:57 am

The painting is different, but the shape is identical down to the odd scale marking on the saucers and plates. This is the only china I've ever seen with this particular handle. The painting on the Ebay pieces is more ornate than what's on mine, but mine's better than the only other picture I've found (the small thumbnail), as mine has gilt and is hand painted.

I think I'll email the seller (who says they're willing to answer any questions about it) and see what makes them so sure that this is what they think it is.

Anyhow, thanks so much to all of you who tried to help me, if I get a response from the seller I'll share it here. Who knows, you guys might run into more of this someday and it's always great to know what something is.

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Re: Possible early Spode mark?

Post by Debbie K on September 7th 2014, 2:09 pm

The seller hasn't responded, but they do have another set for sale along with a larger plate, and those do have marks. http://www.ebay.com/itm/RADFORDIANS-TEA-CUP-AND-SAUCER-TRIO-CAKE-PLATE-COBALT-CREAM-LUSH-GOLD-c1891-/251619494535?pt=Antiques_Decorative_Arts&hash=item3a95b0ca87 This mark does coincide with one that Kovel's identified as early Radford's. http://www.kovels.com/mystery-marks/radford-china-plate.html

These plates and saucers seem to have been decorated by the same folks, they're signed with the double dotted j and 14, the same as what's on some of mine.

So I guess this mystery is solved. If someone hadn't put some up for sale on Ebay that happened to have a larger piece with the mark, I might not had ever known. Thanks to all for your help, and I have plenty more porcelain and pottery I need help with, so I'll be posting more soon.

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