In 1759, Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) opened a porcelain and ceramic factory in Burslem (Stattfordshire). Thanks to the unique style of his creations, the family business quickly became one of the symbols of the English Industrial Revolution. Since 1765, the manufacture proudly provides the Royal House and operate under the “Queen’s Ware” endorsement.

Pair of Jackets-Pots Lot #472. Pair of Jackets-Pots TWO JACKETS, one of green almond Wedgwood porcelain. Courtesy Artcurial

In 1769, Wegwood expanded his production plant, which he then name Etruria, expressing the taste of the founder for Etruscan antiquities and paying tribute to the Florentines of the Renaissance (such as on the pediment of villa Poggio a Caiano, 15th century).

Wedgwood Crimson Jasper Dip Portland Vase (c.1920) Lot #1562. Wedgwood Crimson Jasper Dip Portland Vase (c.1920). Courtesy Skinner

As early as the 18th century, recognised artists – such as James Tassi or John Flaxman – made the company famous across all seas. Inspired by the Portland Vase (1st century BC), they developed the iconic design that now makes the fame of the house: the jasperware, a pattern in biscuit standing on a plain background. Following the neoclassical fashion of the time, it is all about imitating Greco-Roman antiquity, purity of Chinese porcelain, but also paying tribute to the ancestral art of English potters.

Pair of Wedgwood Pale Blue Jasper Urns and Covers Lot #73. Pair of Wedgwood Pale Blue Jasper Urns and Covers. Courtesy George Kidner Auctioneers & Valuers Ltd.

The Wedgwood style crossed the Channel and got emulated in France by Charles Ouizille (Cassolette Marie-Antoinette, c.1785) and Jean-François Œben (Desk Louis XV) or in Germany by Johann Gottfried Schadow (Tomb of Count Alexander von der Mark, 1788).

Pair of Wedgwood Black Jasperware two-handled Vases and Covers Lot #64. Pair of Wedgwood Black Jasperware two-handled Vases and Covers. Courtesy Christie’s

Two and a half centuries after its founding, the Wedgwood company saga continues. The manufacture still supply prestigious clients, and the rarest pieces achieve remarkable prices at auction (such as the First Day’s Vase, 1769, £482,500, Christie’s London on 7 July 2016).

First Day’s Vase (1769) First Day’s Vase (1769). Sold for £482,500 by Christie’s London on 7 July 2016. Courtesy Christie’s

Make sure not to miss any Wedgwood porcelain with Barnebys.

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