A study in blue and white

Next year is the 200th anniversary of perhaps our best-loved china pattern – ‘Blue Italian’ by Spode, a range of blue-and-white earthenware that has graced dressers across Britain and America since 1816. The original transfer-print design was a blend of imagery: a romantic pastoral landscape based on a 1638 painting by the French artist Claude Lorrain, bordered by flowers and leaves copied from a Chinese  porcelain plate of 1735. ‘It’s a lovely Italian scene with oriental touches that’s proved as timeless as “Willow”,’ says specialist dealer Sue Norman, who hunts out early pieces for collectors. The famous ‘Willow’, too, was an early read more