Serving up some English History

This lovely pair of Spode side plates in pattern No. 3716, or ‘Tumbledown Dick’, which came into production in about 1822/3. The marks are consistent with this date.

The pattern is named for the bird, which is precariously balanced on a tree limb. The reference is to Oliver Cromwell’s son and successor, Richard (Dick), whose role as Lord Protector lasted mere months (Sept. 1658 – May 1659). He resigned, acknowledging his lack of support, and left for the Continent. He returned to his family’s English estate c. 1680, and died in 1712.

This particular version, one of at least sixteen produced by Spode, is made with two prints, the Marble sheet pattern for the background and the bird on a branch design. Both were transferred to the plates prior to colouration. Janis Rodwell, editor of the Spode Review published by the Spode Society, informed me that the colour used here is the most common, unappealingly – if rather descriptively – called Pig Muck Green! She also confirms the date for the pattern No. is about 1823.

One plate appears to have a slightly brown hue compared with the more green background of the second. The cracked ice background of the browner plate shows more detail, but the gilding on the plate’s surface has rubbed off in several areas (this is visible in the photo). This and some crazing to the rear side of the greener plate (pictured below) are the only visible defects I can see – a very nice pair for the collector of early-ish Spode, although not quite so early as a previous collector or retailer though with that c.1790 label! An example of this pattern together with a date appears in Leonard Whiter’s Spode, plate II, between pp. 22/3; also plate 117.

Set of two Tumbledown Dick (pattern No. 3716) side plates, c. 1822: No Longer Available

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