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This was during the 1930s when the Art Director of Spode was Thomas Hassall and he and Sydney Thompson would review the Spode pattern books in their search for antique designs which could be revitalized and introduced on current shapes. Thompson sought a design for the Christmas season and despite the many holly designs found in the pattern books none seemed appropriate. Hassall asked Harold Holdway, one of the Spode designers who was later to become Design Director, to produce a design.Soon he returned with a plate which had a central design of a Christmas tree with presents hanging from the branches.When Harold Holdway was first asked to draw a Christmas Tree he had to be rather inventive, as he had never seen one!
Harold also had no idea what they put at the top of the tree, which is why the Spode Christmas Tree has a Santa instead of a fairy!
After the revision of the design a ten inch plate was produced, with the wording 'Wishing You a Merry Christmas 1938' printed on the back of the plate. The inscription was discontinued after 1938 but over the following years the Christmas Tree pattern developed into whole table services and extra serving pieces.
Originally produced on Kailas shape with the inscription 'Wishing You a Merry Christmas 1938’, the pattern was outline printed and handcoloured.
Pattern number S2133 has a green band and pattern S2134 a crimson band, both decorated onglaze.
datemarks after 1963 until 1976 are indicated by a printed letter associated with particular backstamps and are a little complicated.
There are several series of letters and a different letter is used to indicate the year depending on whether the body is bone china, fine stone or earthenware.
by 1976 the date letters were the same for bone china, fine stone and earthenware starting at These take the form of a letter over two numbers, for example J over 33, which would give you a date of January 1933.
January J - February F - March M - April A - May Y - June U - July L - August T September S- October O - November N - December D Sydney Thompson, sole agent for Spode in the United States of America (Copeland & Thompson Inc, 205 Fifth Avenue, New York), made a practice of spending 6 - 8 weeks in Stoke-on-Trent at Spode to develop new patterns for his market.
Details of some of the variations of the patterns with their dates and pattern numbers are on the last page.