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Treasures: Copeland pitcher may appeal to modern tastes

Q: I would greatly appreciate any information that you can give me about this creamer. I think it was made by Copeland, but I have tried to do research online and have come up with nothing. I have had it for about 25 years and before that I believe it was my mother-in-law’s. It is about 4 inches tall.

B. D., Cutler Bay, Florida

A: We know we are going to sound like cave people, but doing research concerning antiques and collectibles online is a pain. More times than not, electronic investigations yield little or no information — or worse, incorrect information. The problem is that novices seldom know the right questions to ask and they are just probing around the Internet in the dark.

Books are often the answer, and in this case, we suggest Geoffrey Godden’s Encyclopaedia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks, a wonderful book available in many public libraries. A quick check under the name “Copeland” in this invaluable tome reveals that this charming figural creamer was indeed manufactured by W. T. Copeland & Sons Ltd., who worked at the Spode Works, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.

The company was founded in 1847, but it was preceded by Copeland and Garrett, who worked in the same location from 1833 to 1847. Before that, the famous Josiah Spode pioneered the factory and worked the site from 1784 to 1833. To confuse things further, W. T. Copeland and Garrett sometimes used the name “Spode” in their marks.

W. T. Copeland made earthenwares, porcelains and Parian, a type of white, typically unglazed ceramic body resembling Parian marble generally used to make small piece of statuary. Copeland’s wares are considered to be quite nice, and their decorative pieces, such as the Parian statuary mentioned above, are quite collectible.

The mark of two fancy intertwined “Cs” with the word “Copeland” below that is found on this particular small pitcher was used by Copeland between 1851 and 1885. It is our opinion that this representation of a Chinese man sitting on crossed legs with a faux bamboo handle coming out of his neck and back was made closer to 1885 than 1851. It was probably manufactured circa 1875.

There is no way to tell for sure, but the piece may have once been part of a larger tea service. It is also a very cute piece that could have been made to stand alone. Copeland made a lot of pitchers in various forms, but this one is a bit unusual for the company. Although English Victorian pottery and porcelain are somewhat out of fashion, this is so interesting that it might still appeal to modern tastes.

Figural pitchers, especially those made by the Royal Bayreuth Company of Tettau, Bavaria, Germany, were all the rage in the late 20th century, but now the fad has faded. This Copeland example, if it is in perfect condition (no chips, no cracks), should be valued in the range of $100 to $150.

Write to Joe Rosson, 2504 Seymour Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917, or email treasures@knology.net. Include a high-resolution, in-focus photo of the subject.