Spode was established in 1776 in Stoke-on-Trent by Josiah Spode who wanted to set up on his own after years of working for other ceramic manufacturers. Spode is generally acknowledged as developing the first recipe for bone china. Experiments were taking place in the Spode factory from around 1796 to create fine white porcelain with a recipe containing high quantities of calcined ox-bone alongside china clay and stone; originally known as ‘Stoke China’ it was later renamed ‘Bone China’.

Josiah died suddenly in 1797 and his son, Josiah II continued his work, establishing the factory as the largest and one of the best porcelain manufacturers of the early 19th century ‘Golden Age’ of British ceramics. This included being appointed ‘Potter to the Prince of Wales’ in 1806.

As well as being recognized as creating the original bone china recipe, Spode is also highly acclaimed for the part they played in the development of transfer printing in its early days. Josiah II perfected the process of transfer printing onto earthenware, producing some of the finest blue-and-white designs ever made. Their most famous pattern is probably ‘Italian’, also known as ‘Blue Italian’ or ‘Spode’s Italian’.

The Italian pattern was first introduced in 1816 and is still produced today; it is believed to have appeared on as many as 700 different shapes across the Spode range. The origins of the classical scenes of the pattern are, unfortunately for collectors, unknown. Although many of Spode’s designs can be sourced back to pictorial scenes or prints of the time, the origins of the Italian pattern remain a mystery and despite research by many interested parties, no single Italian scene has ever been found that encompasses all the features of the pattern.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

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Because of the name’s similarity to the Brothers Grimm, Grimwades Ltd. always makes me think of children’s fairytales, but it is in fact the trade name for Royal Winton, which was based at the Winton Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent and was established in 1885.

The company manufactured a diverse range of tableware and decorative designs in moulded earthenware, including lamp bases, candlesticks and dressing table sets. However it was their Chintzware range of the 1930’s that caught the imagination of the collector and that is what Royal Winton is renowned for today. The pretty, affordable tableware was decorated with all-over floral patterns and produced in large quantities. Chintzware is desirable worldwide with breakfast sets and stacking tea sets being particularly popular with collectors.

There were a multitude of different designs within the Chintzware range, but “Hazel”, “Julia” and “Sweet Pea” are among the most collectable with teapots, biscuit barrels and hot water jugs being popular shapes. Restoration is unacceptable in Chintzware so it is vital to check for damage, cracks and fading as this significantly affects the price. The base of Royal Winton features an impressed mark (for shape), the company mark and a transfer printed mark of the pattern.

The “Sweet Pea” pattern, introduced in 1936, is highly sought after today. It was designed with a pale yellow or chrome tallow ground and a gold or deep blue trim enclosing pink and blue flowers. The flowers are particularly prone to fading and can appear greyish in colour.

Always remember that the value of Chintzware lies in the crisp, clear pattern, the irregular shapes and most importantly the condition.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Goss China

William Henry Goss was chief designer at the Spode works in Stoke-on-Trent by the time he was twenty-five, but he was not happy and decided to branch out on his own.

In the 1880’s, Williams son, Adolphus, joined the company. He was no potter, but he was an ideas man with a flare for marketing. His father had been producing specially commissioned
commemorative pieces bearing heraldic emblems and he saw an opportunity to expand.

Adolphus realised that such wares would make great souvenirs for the mass market who, taking advantage of increased wages, were taking more holidays and day tripping on the growing railway
network. He worked his way round the country over the next 20 years making contacts until he had a network of more than 1000 local agents. Each agent was responsible for promoting their local
coats of arms which could be put on up to 600 small, mass produced named models. The local agents could ask for their symbols to be placed on just about anything.

Goss also produced a popular series of hand painted buildings, known as the Goss Cottages; examples included Shakespeare’s House and Robert Burns’ birthplace. However the heraldic crested wares still made up the bulk of the company’s sales. These wares became less popular after the First World War and in 1929 the Goss family sold out to a competitor Arcadian China.

Standards slowly fell and eventually the factory closed in 1944.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

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Midwinter Pottery

Midwinter was established by William Robinson Midwinter in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent in 1910 but is probably most famous for its commercial pottery from the 1950s which was the work of his son, Roy who wanted to revolutionise British tableware. Midwinter from this period is a favourite amongst collectors.

Roy Midwinter launched two new ranges in the 1950s inspired by American ceramics styles; Stylecraft in 1953 and later Fashion in 1954, believed to be particularly inspired by Eva Zeisel’s work which Roy Midwinter viewed while visiting America. Zeisel’s ceramics caught the eye of Roy Midwinter as they followed the same stylistic choices that he wanted to bring to his work; she was famous for her sensuous forms often with shapes based around the curves of the human body. The new Midwinter ranges focused on more organic shapes, removing rims from dinner plates for example and experimenting with very curvy teapots resembling pregnant women. The collections were more affordable and aimed at a younger market, marking a move away from the soberness of the post-war period.

The more modern shapes were accompanied by contemporary patterns and Midwinter looked especially to younger designers to complete the transformation of their domestic wares. Jessie Tait was their resident designer producing her best work during this period and being generally regarded as their most talented and prolific designer. However, Midwinter also commissioned other artists to work on his new ranges such as furniture designer Sir Terence Conran, well known for his ‘Vegetable’ pattern and architect Sir Hugh Casson, well known for his ‘Riviera’ pattern, both of whom are very popular amongst collectors. Midwinter backstamps often carry the name of both the pattern and the designer.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

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