David Drakard is well known for his contribution to our knowledge of British ceramics both as a longstanding member of the English Ceramic Circle and as the author of two books on blue printed wares.
In particular his Spode Transfer Printed Ware,
1784-1833, co-written with Paul Holdway, has become the
standard reference work on the subject and was reissued last year
in a new edition by the Antique Collectors' Club.
Many of the rare patterns and unusual forms appearing in that
book were taken from Mr Drakard's own collection of early
(pre-1833) Spode wares he had acquired between 1963 and 1984.
Approximately 400 pieces formed a fascinating sub-set of a larger
sale of ceramics, glass and Oriental works of art offered at
Dreweatt Neate's (15% buyer's premium) sale in Donnington
Priory on October 15.
According to sources in the trade, some of the better pieces in
the collection had been sold privately and Mr Drakard had been
reluctant to part with some spectacular meat plates but a single
factory, single period, single range sale of 262 lots is still be a
catalogue and results sheet worth acquiring for the library.
There were, moreover, prices here that would be difficult to
replicate in a retail environment. Blue and white wares are still
an area where £200 goes a long way (and this collection aimed at
representation included many common or damaged pieces in this
bracket) but rarer patterns or rarer forms set pulses racing. And
those pieces that combined the two, well they did even better.
Lots 193-196, for example, comprised the only known Spode wares
in the Shepherdess pattern - that's pattern P705
as it appears in the second revised edition of Spode Transfer
The idyllic pastoral design was produced by other Staffordshire
factories in earthenware but these five pieces - possibly made as
replacements and bought at Phillips in the 1980s - are in the bone
china patented by Josiah Spode in the closing years of the 18th
An oval shaped pierced basket and stand (P705), 11in (27cm)
wide, sold at £720 (estimate £300-500) but that price looked
relatively good value against the two Shepherdess pattern pierced
tea plates, 7.5in (19cm) diameter, sold at multi-estimate sums of
Above: a Shepherdess pattern pierced tea plate that sold for
Sold at a remarkable £1100 (estimate £200-300) was an unmarked
saucer dish or bread and butter plate, 8.25in (21cm) diameter, in a
rare pattern known as Chinese of Rank. Consultant Dick
Henrywood (who in five years has helped the Donnington Priory
auctioneers carve a deep niche in this popular collecting field)
had seen only four pieces in two decades.
Also spotted by bidders as a rare (if not particularly
inspiring) pattern was an octagonal stone china dessert plate in
the Nettle design (P826) that made an unexpected £650
(estimate £60- 80).
Sold at £550 (estimate £80-120) was a Patience or
Radiating Leaves pattern (P831) stone china dinner
plate, while a Honeysuckle and Parsley pattern
lobed diamond form dessert dish (P829), 11in (27cm) across
commanded £440 (estimate £90-120). All were sold to Spode Society
members with two UK collectors in particular looking to follow Mr
Drakard in his mission to acquire all of the known factory
Plates for Display
For display purposes plates are more desirable than other
standard teawares but here there was a punchy £650 bid for two cups
and saucers - one of Bute shape in the Vandyke pattern (P828), the
other of Pembroketype in English Sprays (P815).
The rare Musicians pattern (P706) was represented
by two pieces. An exceptional washbowl, 13in (33cm) diameter,
printed with a central circular vignette of four gentlemen smoking
long pipes around a table with violinists playing from a gallery
was sold (with minor cracks to the footrim) at £1700 (estimate
Although it was smashed and glued, a double extinguisher tray in
the same pattern, with loop handle and two conical supports for
missing extinguishers sold at £260 (estimate £150-200).
Chambersticks such as this are surprisingly rare in blue and
white and that explains the interest in a Lange
Lijsen pattern French shape chamberstick (P622) that
despite a haircrack in the stand made £500 (estimate £120-180).
Italian pattern (P710) wares are much easier to
find but the design has a wide collecting base outside the academic
collecting community. Teawares are plentiful - a range of forms are
what everyone wants.
A column candlestick of 'New' shape, 10in (25cm) high brought
£280 (estimate £150-200) even with some minor discolouration and
glaze rubbing to the sconce, while a bourdaloue (with a crack
within the base) sold at £400 (estimate £150-200), but perhaps most
unusual was a covered slop bowl that for all its condition faults
was a large piece at 12in (30cm) high.
It had a crack to the main pot, one handle glued, plus a crack
and rim repairs to the cover but was still undervalued at £340
Introduced c.1814 and still in production today, the
Tower pattern (P714) - derived from the printed
illustration in Merigot's Views of Rome and its
Vicinity published in about 1796 - is another Spode
favourite. This design (depicting the Bridge of Salaro near Porta
Salara, Rome) was applied to almost all of the factory's domestic
range including: a small spittoon or spitting pot with trumpet
mouth and strap handle, 5in (12cm) diameter, with repairs to the
footrim sold at £320 (estimate £120-180); a 3.5in (9cm) suckling
pot sold at £450; an open soap box with pierced liner, 7in (17cm)
long sold at £580 (estimate £180-220) and a dog bowl with cracks
and damage to one foot sold at £450 (estimate £250-350).
More predictable was the £1150 (estimate 600-900) paid for
a Tower pattern toy dinner service comprising a
covered soup tureen, two covered sauce tureens with stands, two
covered vegetable dishes, an oval deep dish, two sauceboats, six
graduated dishes, eight dinner plates and five soup plates.
Made in bone china, a Temple pattern beehive honey
pot with a fixed stand brought £420 (estimate £120-180) while
another of the successful Willow-type patterns (first developed by
Josiah Spode from a Chinese exemplar c.1790), was the Forest
Landscape seen here on an unmarked pattern cheese
cradle, 12.5in (31cm) long with a small repaired chip to the foot
that sold at £650 (estimate £300-500).
However the most celebrated of all Spode patterns is undoubtedly
the Indian Sporting series - the multi-scene pattern
(there are 17 in total) first introduced in about 1815 using plates
from Oriental Field Sports,Wild Sports of the East written by
Captain Thomas Williamson and illustrated by Samuel Howitt.
Indian Sporting pieces are particularly popular in
America and accordingly operate at an altogether different price
Plates run at several hundred each. Tea plates printed with
Groom Leading Out (estimate £100-150) and with
The Hog Deer at Bay (estimate £150-200) sold here at
£360 and £500 respectively - while larger serving pieces included a
small, 9.5in (24cm) meat dish printed with Battle Between a
Buffalo and a Tiger and a label for the A. Gresham
Copeland collection sold at £1500 (estimate £300-400) and a lobed
diamond shape dessert dish or comport printed with the scene titled
Hunting a Civet Cat (also ex-Gresham Copeland) at
£1400 (estimate £200-300).
Another dish of the same form titled Hunting a Hog
Deer, 11in (27cm), sold at £2000 (estimate £200-300) and
equally remarkable was the £850 (estimate £120-180) bid for a pail-
shape custard cup printed with Death of the Bear, 2.5in (6.5cm)
high and the £950 (estimate £250- 350) for a three-piece covered
soap box the cover printed with a section adapted from Common
None were perfect, the custard cup had a hair crack to the base,
the soap box, a crack in the corner of the base and a filled chip
to the cover.
Smaller-scale gems at the sale included a very fine porter mug
printed with a Colossal Sarcophagus near Castle
Rosso, 5.75in (14cm) at £750 (estimate £500-700) and a sauce
ladle printed with a design of Indian Sporting
animals knocked down at £550 (estimate £150-200).