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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 22

Spode/Copeland Transfer-Printed Patterns Found at 20 Hudson's Bay Company Sites

by Lynne Sussman


In 1836 the Spode/Copeland pottery of Staffordshire began supplying transfer-printed earthenware to the Hudson's Bay Company. The 109 patterns identified and illustrated in this catalogue have been found to date at 20 Hudson's Bay Company sites in western Canada and the United States. The 20 sites were selected on the simple basis of the manufacturer of the excavated ceramics having been identified by either Lester Ross or the author. Because of the Hudson's Bay Company policy for the centralized purchase of supplies as well as its efficient system of distribution to its posts, one can expect the occurrence of some of these patterns at all of its post-1836 sites.

Ceramic artifacts, unlike written documents, seldom proclaim their ascription and date. To determine these, complex combinations of traits including fabric, glaze, decoration and shape must usually be considered; however, the Spode/Copeland patterns are now so well documented and so intensively researched that they are by themselves the most useful tool for identifying and dating Spode/Copeland ceramics.

In compiling this collection of patterns, I have had the fortunate opportunity of using prints ("pulls") from the original copper plate engravings. The Spode pottery was renowned for the excellence of its transfer-printed earthenware and Spode's successors maintained an equally high standard for the engraving and application of transfer prints. The catalogue, as a result, is more than a record of Spode/Copeland ceramic patterns. It is a superb collection of 19th-century engravings.

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Last Updated: 2006-09-15 To the top
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