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When Spode employed the skilled engraver Thomas Lucas and printer James Richard, both of the Caughley factory, in 1783 he was able to introduce high quality blue printed earthenware to the market.
Thomas Minton, another Caughley-trained engraver, also supplied copper plates to Spode until he opened his own factory in Stoke-on-Trent in 1796.
Blue underglaze transfer became a standard feature of Staffordshire pottery.
Spode also used on-glaze transfers for other wares.
Spode's London retail shop in Portugal Street went by the name of Spode, Son, and Copeland.
Among the many surviving Spode documents are two shape books dated to about 1820 which contain thumbnail sketches of bone china objects with instructions to throwers and turners about size requirements.
The Plymouth and Bristol factories, and (from 1782 to 1810) the New Hall (Staffordshire) factory under Richard Champion's patent, were producing hard paste similar to Oriental porcelain.
The technique was developed by adding calcined bone to this glassy frit, for example in the productions of Bow porcelain works and Chelsea porcelain works, and this was carried on from at least the 1750s onwards.
The Worcester and Caughley factories had commenced transfer printing underglaze and over glaze on porcelain in the early 1750s, and from 1756 overglaze printing was also applied to earthenware and stoneware.The colour paste was worked into the cut areas of the copper plate and wiped from the uncut surfaces, and then printed by passing through rollers.These designs, including edge-patterns which had to be manipulated in sections, were cut out using scissors and applied to the biscuit-fired ware (using a white fabric), itself prepared with a gum solution.Although the Bow porcelain factory, Chelsea porcelain factory, Royal Worcester and Royal Crown Derby factories had, before Spode, established a proportion of about 40–45 per cent calcined bone in the formula as standard, it was Spode who first abandoned the practice of calcining or fritting the bone with some of the other ingredients, and used the simple mixture of bone ash, china stone and kaolin, which since his time set the basic recipe of bone china.The traditional bone china recipe was 6 parts bone-ash, 4 parts china stone and 3.5 parts kaolin, all finely ground together. Many fine examples of the elder Spode's productions were destroyed in a fire at Alexandra Palace, London in 1873, where they were included in an exhibition of nearly five thousand specimens of English pottery and porcelain.