- Published: May 14, 2014
- Written by Royal Copley
Copyright 2006 by Joe Devine
Mr. Devine has been very gracious in allowing us to publish the previously completed research in order to further general knowledge of Spaulding and Royal Copley to the general public
How to Identify Royal Copley and
Distinguish It from Other Wares
What a challenge identification has become with so many of the products of the Spaulding a China Company!
Although we are attempting to present the full story of all those items made at Spaulding, our main concern is Royal Copley. Although Spaulding made more than Royal Copley, it is safe to say that Spaulding's production was 85% Royal Copley.
What a simple task this book would have been had all items been marked in some way! Fortunately much Royal Copley was marked with either a gold or a green stamp or the name "Royal Copley" spelled out in raised letters. Although paper labels were attached to every item leaving the factory, few have remained for purposes of identification. All in all there are more unmarked than marked pieces of Royal Copley. However through study, familiarity and comparison the following guidelines have become helpful clues in the process of identification.
1. Most Royal Copley is characterized by brilliant color combinations and sparkling glaze.
2. If the item appears to be cheap and gaudy one can be reasonably sure it is not royal copley.
3. All color and decoration is under the glaze.
4. Never is Royal Copley more than two mold.
5. If an item for its size is thin and very light inweight, it is most likely an import.
6. If a bird is heavy, glazed inside and out and only ofone color, it is not a genuine piece of Royal Copley.
7. Most of the birds, with the exception of the ducks and chickens, seem to be associated, in some way, with a tree stump, limb or knot hole.
8. Most Royal Copley is characterized by detail and novelty of design. We are using the word most because a lot of Copley although pretty is rather common. There are some very lovely floral patterns, but most of them lack botanical exactness. Therefore the word stylized will be used to prevent any error in identification. The real style, beauty and detail of Royal Copley can be seen in the many human and animal faces that are found on figurines, planters and wall pockets. Here the designers of Royal Copley seemed to out-do themselves. The faces seem to have a personality all their own and in addition they tend to bring out certain realistic human emotions.
9. Although not a hard and fast rule,the presence of parallel runners or ridges on the bottom of many items is one of the very important clues in identifying Royal Copley. There are exceptions, but for themost part the presence of ridges strongly suggests that the item is Copley. Great care has to be exercised because similarridges can be found on many of the Shawnee and Hull items. However, the tendency toward ridges is not wide spread in these lines.
10. As a basic rule the Copley birds do not have totally and specifically painted-on toes or totally and specifically painted-on beaks. The beaks, if tinted, are mainly tinted on the upper portion with no specific application of color other than the general blending of body color. We must point out that a few Copley birds appear to have received some bit of hand decorating or brushing at the factory. This is the exception. If a bird has been "touched" at the factory, it is merely that of providing a few brush marks here and there. Please notice it is the non-Copley bird that has specifically and totally painted-on toes and beaks. Most Copley birds are consistently air brushed with no personal treatment or touch of any kind other than that provided by the one who sat at the decorating table.
11. Most Royal Copley items have glazed bottoms because the ridges or runners on the bottom of the items allowed them to go through the kiln firing without getting wiped off. The glaze on the ridges was wiped off as soon as an item was taken out of the glaze tub. The ridges or runners also provided strength for the item. However, many Copley items have unglazed bottoms such as the small banks, the full bodied birds, figurines, and the full bodied ducks and chickens. Yes. birds are animals, too, but this is for ease of understanding. If a Copley item has an unglazed bottom, it is usually hollow all theway through or has a hole or holes in the center of the base.