William Copeland died in 1826 and Josiah Spode II died in 1828. Until 1833, the company was managed by one of Spode’s sons and other managers. In 1833 William Taylor Copeland, William Copeland’s son, acquired the business in partnership with a Thomas Garrett until 1847 and the factory’s productions from this period were marked ‘Copeland and Garrett’. Typical wares produced during the Copeland and Garrett period were in the rococo style, fashionable at the time, with considerably fussier shapes than previously.
In 1846, William Taylor Copeland acquired the company outright and he and four generations of his descendants controlled the company until 1966. William Taylor Copeland was a classic Victorian Gentleman Industrialist, combining ownership of the factory with a career in politics and public life – as an MP and as Lord Mayor of London.
Under the Copelands, the factory vied with Minton in making some of the most spectacular ceramics wares of the age. Gifted artists, such as C. F. Hurten, were imported from continental factories and superb pieces were exhibited at the Great Exhibition of London 1851 and International Exhibitions in London, 1862 and Paris 1878.
The range of wares made by Copelands during the Victorian period is enormous. New ceramic bodies were developed, including Parian (an unglazed form of porcelain that looked like marble) and new forms of majolica. Statues, busts, fireplace surrounds, doorknobs, wall and floortiles, figurines, spittoons, special orders for Indian princes, huge services for regimental officers’ messes, footbaths, tablewares of all types, ornamental vases, plaques, hotel wares and souvenir wares were all made. Much was exported to Europe, the Empire and also particularly to the United States.
Between 1833 and 1900, around 35,000 new patterns were introduced – an average of ten new patterns every week. Versions of many of these continued into the 20th Century.
The Nineteenth Century also saw an explosion in the manufacture of transferwares (patterns engraved on copper, from which prints were transferred onto ceramics – not just the blue printed earthenwares of Josiah Spode II’s time, but also in green, pink, black and other colours, which, while of very high quality, could also produced in large quantities and sold at affordable prices.