The classic designs of Wedgwood ceramics have graced tabletops and adorned homes throughout the world for centuries, boasting a wealth of remarkable history and marvelous detail. Sought after for its inspired artistry and elegance, each piece of Wedgwood is unique and treasured by all who have the good fortune to delight in its beauty.
The definition of tableware was ultimately re-created when Josiah Wedgwood had a vision of perfecting the customary creamware made by potters several years prior. His creation is known today as Wedgwood. The one-of-a-kind earthenware, veiled in a rich glaze, became a magnificent masterpiece. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the pottery grew to prominence at majestic events and was a central component of newfound customs, such as afternoon tea. The creamware’s stunning design, with its delicate edges that resemble linens and lace, attracted the attention of England’s Queen Charlotte, who paid Josiah the supreme compliment of allowing him to call his new pattern “Queen’s Ware” two years after its first production. From that point on, the Wedgwood name would forever be known.
Josiah began inscribing his signature on each piece of artwork, and today is considered to be the first businessman to understand and implement the concept of brand marketing. Ornamental vases, figurines, flowerpots, and table-service pieces boasting precise detail brought beauty to the marketplace. High-society ladies dressed to the nines and distinguished gentlemen of the Romantic era gained a deep appreciation for the luxuriant offerings and gathered to admire showrooms filled with the celebrated wares. Inspired by the latest fashions of each era, Josiah was said to have had “a taste for the neoclassical,” resulting in sophisticated innovations suited for the times. Crafted in a rich shade of blue and still prized by collectors today, the “Jasper” pattern was immediately embraced by the public and became the potter’s greatest triumph after more than 10,000 trials. Elegant bone china and mythology-inspired “Majolica” patterns followed and thrived throughout the Victorian era as the demand for grandiose table settings increased. Throughout the past 250 years, Wedgwood has retained its sense of timeless charm with the contribution and influence of artists such as Walter Crane and Kate Greenaway in the 1800s, as well as modern-day designers, including Vera Wang and Jasper Conran.
Today, Wedgwood maintains its roots, with Brand Ambassador Lord Piers Wedgwood carrying forth his ancestors’ true passion and sharing it with the world. “It is a delight to realize the skills from over 250 years ago have been passed on,” says Lord Wedgwood, who remembers spending his boyhood summers at the Wedgwood factory in England. “It is incumbent that we continue.” The impeccable craftsmanship and quality inherent in the tableware ensures that it will be appreciated and treasured for years to come. “We [Wedgwood] like to be a part of creating special memories,” he explains. “Use your dinnerware on a regular basis. We believe our products can create an atmosphere that will make every occasion unique and special.”
Text Valerie Kramer Davis
“Wedgwood: Celebrating 250 Years of Timeless can be found on page 56 of the May/June 2009 issue of Victoria.