I didn’t know a great deal about pottery, but I DO know that one develops an aesthetic over time that seems to permeate all aspects of life. I thought that this small tureen was a lovely piece, with a strong profile and so I picked it up for $7.99. Once a person investigates the history of such pieces, an entirely foreign, but interesting world opens up. I know that a few shards of Copeland pottery of the Ilium pattern were excavated on Cougar Street in Banff Townsite at one time, as recorded in The Cougar Street Midden: The role of archaeology in contaminated site clean-up by Gwyn Langemann and Rena Varsakis
“Two blue transfer-printed tableware sherds (Figure 2) are the Ilium pattern, dated the 1882 W. T. Copeland and Sons catalogue. According to the Spode Museum in England, this variation of the Ilium pattern dates to c. 1894.” I have no idea how to date the piece that I now have in my collection. Looking at the variety of Pottery Marks on manufactured earthenware credited to W. T. Copeland (c.1847-1970) there are a number of possibilities.
I’ve also learned that there are many Spode/Copeland collectors/archivists who have a vast knowledge about pottery in general. I think that my interest comes from having built a nice collection of porcelain creamers over the years. Now I just keep my eye out for interesting pieces.
This particular piece has the impressed word ‘Copeland’, curved above a crown. There are also impressed letters and numbers and I have learned in my research that these signify the month/year during which the piece was created.
The following date marks guide was borrowed from the Heirloom’s Antique Center.
If “England” is on the mark then it was manufactured after 1890.
These were introduced in 1870 and continued to 1957 for earthenware and 1963 for bone china. A letter indicated the month of manufacture and two numbers underneath indicated the year. The month letters are:
January J July L
February F August T
March M September S
April A October O
May Y November N
June U December D
Thus T over 96 would date the piece to August 1896.
More recent marks are complicated.
Pattern Number Datemarks
Spode period – 0001-5350
Copeland and Garrett period – 5351-7747
Copeland period 1847 – 7748 to 9999 then D0001 to D9999
Copeland period 1874 – 1/, R or Y numbers
Copeland period 1939 – 2/, W, S or O numbers
For full details, refer to ‘Spode and Copeland Marks and Other Relevant Intelligence’ by Robert Copeland.
Given that I have a clear impression on the bottom of my tureen, an L over a 07, I would suppose that it was made in July of 1907. I’m really pleased at what is possible to learn with a wee bit of research. I will treasure this lovely piece.