Famous Potters of Stoke-on-Trent
250 years of Josiah Wedgwood
1st May 1759
- Ivy House Works, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent
1st May 2009 - Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent
Original Bottle Kiln Ovens, Wedgwoods, Etruria c.1952
photo: the Warrillow Collection
Founded in 1759 in Stoke-on-Trent by Josiah Wedgwood. His family remained
involved in the company for more than 150 years. Famous ware includes the
Queen’s Ware and Jasper ceramic ranges.
After he manufactured a cream-coloured tea and coffee service for Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, she allowed him to style himself "Potter to Her Majesty" and to call his new cream ware Queen's Ware.
Josiah also created Black Basalt, a fine black porcelain, which enabled him to produce copies of the newly excavated Etruscan pottery from Italy. His invention of a new stoneware called Jasper has been described as the most important development in the history of ceramics since the Chinese discovery of porcelain nearly 1,000 years earlier. He employed many notable artists including George Stubbs to design bas-reliefs, often imitating classical Greek motifs.
In 1766 he built a new factory in Staffordshire which he called Etruria, as well as a Georgian mansion, Etruria Hall, for his family. The opening of Etruria on 13 June 1769 was celebrated with the throwing of six so-called First Day's Vases.
After Josiah invented the pyrometer, a device for measuring higher degrees of heat in kilns, he was elected to the Royal Society in 1783. His last major ceramic achievement was the Portland Vase, produced in 1789 - a facsimile of a famous Roman cameo glass vase known as the Barberini.
The 19th century saw the introduction of the first coloured earthenware and the manufacture of bone china. Wedgwood provided a bone china dinner service ordered by US President Theodore Roosevelt for the White House.
Josiah Wedgwood I, Stoke
The Wedgwood Family and Enoch Wood.
Etruria in detail
Other information on Wedgwood.......
[ See: How to Date Wedgwood ]
Confused about Wedgwood?
questions/comments/contributions? email: Steve Birks
updated: May 2009