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The Chinamen in London needed stock to supply the ever-growing demand for blue and white Chinese landscape patterns.
Spode wares could be sold much cheaper than the costly imported Chinese porcelains and Caughley porcelains, making the products available to the middle classes.
It was in this climate that the standard willow pattern was first produced on pearlware at the Spode factory c.1790.
The willow pattern is an oriental pattern, most often seen in blue and white, that features common elements from manufacturer to manufacturer.
These elements are a willow tree, an orange or apple tree, two birds, people on a bridge, a fence, a boat and a teahouse, which some collectors call a pagoda.
Churchill of England also produces a nice line that most often is available in supermarkets as a special promotion. In recent years we have seen willow made by Regal of England, as well as a new line of Spode items that range from miniature to actual size. First get an idea of what’s out there and see if something grabs your attention. You can spend thousands or you can spend a few dollars. There is some willow that is new and you’ll feel comfortable using it.
Some collectors specialize in one certain type of willow, say cups and saucers; some people collect the newer China pieces, some collect anything and everything. There might be some willow that is older and rarer and maybe you want to just display it.Some collectors even specialize in one particular manufacturer. Buy here and there until you begin to feel more comfortable with what you’re collecting and spending. But because there was so much willow made, there are still older pieces you can buy and use every day. It is always hard to determine future value and any dealer who tells you a certain piece will be worth twice as much in X number of years from now should be avoided.Ask yourself if you are collecting for an investment..you collecting to display and fill your kitchen with willow on the shelves..do you maybe want pieces to serve with and use. If the dealer knows that with such certainty, they will hold onto the piece instead of trying to sell it.The willow pattern has been made by hundreds of companies in dozens of countries, and in colors from the most-seen blue, to red, green, gold, yellow, purple, black, brown, multicolored and the list goes on with combinations.Did you know the willow pattern has earned a rather unique distinction?While the willow pattern has steadily increased in value, it has in some ways become more affordable, due largely to the Internet. is the whole handle missing or does it have a small nick? But you have to think of a few things..will the piece cost in very good, undamaged condition?