Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, commonly known as Wedgwood, is a fine china, porcelain and luxury accessories company founded on 1 May 1759 by English potter and entrepreneur Josiah Wedgwood. After Wedgwood's death in Etruria on January 3, 1795, his descendants carried on the business at Etruria until 1940, when the factory was relocated to Barlaston, near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. The Etruria site is still used as part of the "National Garden Festival" and Wedgwood's great house can still be seen as it has been incorporated into an hotel.
Throughout the 18th century, creamware as it was known then, became successfully more refined, technically perfect and more aesthetically excellent, until it reached its zenith with a fine form, thin body, clear and brilliant glaze which formed a perfect background for the ingenious enamellers as well as other more mechanical forms of decoration. Creamware is one of the most versatile and long-lived ceramic bodies, it was perfect for its purpose being used for everything from elaborate and ornamental vases to humble utilitarian wares.
Wedgwood's innovatory cream coloured earthenware was called Queen's Ware after the successful completion of his first commission for Queen Charlotte secured in the summer of 1765.
This mark starting in 1940, is being used today on Queen's Ware. In 1974 the circled R was added to back stamps to indicate that the name Wedgwood is a registered trade mark.
It's this mark, shown quite clearly on the back of my Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit set, which helped me to identify that the set was fine, cream-coloured pottery made from clay.
Jasper, the most famous of Josiah's inventions, first appeared in 1774 after thousands of experiments. An unglazed vitreous fine stoneware, it was made in blue, lilac, green, yellow, black or white; sometimes one piece combined three or more of these colours. Upon these delicately coloured grounds would be applied the classical and contemporary reliefs which are still made today from moulds reproduced from the originals. The iconic light blue jasper gave rise to the expression "Wedgwood Blue" and remains a recognizable Wedgwood signature worldwide.
I haven't found a Jasperware tea set at a price that I like yet, so the search for that shall continue. :)
Wedgwood had increasing success with hard paste porcelain which attempted to imitate the whiteness of tea-ware imported from China, an extremely popular product amongst high society. High transport costs and the demanding journey from the Far East meant that the supply of chinaware could not keep up with increasingly high demand.
In 1812 Wedgwood perfected and produced their own bone china which, though not a commercial success at first, eventually became an important part of an extremely profitable business due to the second son Josiah Wedgwood II (1769–1843), who had succeeded his father as proprietor in 1795.
I purchased this miniature bone china set with the Mirabelle pattern for my tiny wee dolls.
This mark (developed from mark of 1878 when the manufacture of bone china was revived) was used from 1962 and is still used today on Wedgwood's bone china. In 1974 the circled R was added to back stamps to indicate that the name Wedgwood is a registered trade mark.
This is shown on the back of my bone china set. **
When I have time, I promise to post photos of the dolls using them. :)
Do you ever enjoy adding something a little vintage to your dolly collections?
**Mirabelle by Wedgwood 1976Description: Bone, Green Dotted Edge, Floral Rim
Pattern Number: R4537
Status: Discontinued 1998