Wedgwood Queen's Ware
Wedgwood's cream coloured table ware was not an original invention but a
refinement and development growing out of the cream coloured earthenware
works produced in several potteries in Staffordshire. It was Josiah's
refinement and introduction of Cornish clay and stone to provide a more
white body coupled with his sophistication of shape and glaze set his
cream coloured product apart from that produced in rival potteries.
Perhaps its popularity owed more to Josiah's skill as a businessman than as a potter. A gift of a tea set to Queen Charlotte, consort of George III, produced a appointment of Wedgwood as Potter to Her Majesty in 1765.
Wedgwood immediately named his range of cream
coloured tableware Queen's Ware. Wedgwood instinctively knew the demand
for the ware that graced the Queen's table would establish his already
successful factory at the top of the market.
EMPRESS CATHERINE II
Perhaps as important to the development of Wedgwood's business, if not his art, was the 1770 commission to produce a dinner and dessert service for Russian Empress Catherine II.
The Husk service was a success and was followed by a commission to produce a set of 952 pieces decorated with 1244 separate views of Great Britain scenes. The borders were a running oakleaf and acorn for the dinners service and ivy for the dessert, both broken for the insertion of the green enamel frog emblem that gave the service its name.
The Frog service was produced in 1773-74. It was ready for delivery in June of 1774 but in a master stroke of marketing Josiah exhibited the set at his London Greek Street showroom, admission by ticket only.
The success of these commissions
along with the Queen's appointment made Wedgwood the premier seller of
fine tableware in Europe.
IMITATION OF QUEEN'S WARE
By 1775 Wedgwood's Queen's ware was being imitated all over Europe as the Continental potteries reacted to his virtual monopoly in high quality earthenware.
In France the imitative wares were known as faience anglaise and this superior product replaced the traditional tin-glazed eathernware in the European potteries and by the end of the century the traditional wares were only produced at Delft and in small provincial French potteries.
The Queen's ware body was used primarily for tableware but was occasionally employed in the production of decorative works as well. In about 1850 Wedgwood introduces a range of Embossed Queen's ware. Similar in design and decoration to the Jasper ware range with raised designs in contrasting colours, it became quite popular for ornamental vases, candlesticks and dresser pieces as well as tableware.
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