A HOUSE IN FRANCE

We stayed for a few days with our friends in France, where they have an old farmhouse well away from town in a peaceful spot with roses and fruit trees. In the sweltering heat we preferred to stay indoors, protected by two-foot walls, but the evenings were pleasant in the garden under the vines. Over … Continue reading A HOUSE IN FRANCE

SOPHIE CONRAN TABLEWARE

I mentioned Sophie Conran's Pebble range of tableware in my last post and thought I'd say a bit more about it. It has been a popular range over a long period and says a lot about attitudes to handmade and factory-made pottery. It is factory-made, but with its wonky shapes and ridges it looks as … Continue reading SOPHIE CONRAN TABLEWARE

WEDGWOOD’S CREAMWARE

Much of the history of European ceramics is the attempt to imitate Chinese porcelain. The Ottoman Turks covered buff clay with white slip and a clear glaze. The Moors brought opaque white tin glaze into Spain, from where it spread to Italy, the Netherlands, central Europe and England. Meanwhile, there were experiments in porcelain, adding … Continue reading WEDGWOOD’S CREAMWARE

WEDGWOOD’S VASES

In my post on the Vase Mania that swept the country after the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum, I mentioned that, as the craze faded away, Wedgwood decided to go down market and to sell his vases more cheaply to the middle classes. "The Great People have had these Vases in their Palaces long enough … Continue reading WEDGWOOD’S VASES

WEDGWOOD’S ETRURIA

Josiah Wedgwood acquired the Ridgehouse estate in 1766 for his Etruria factory during a period of commercial expansion, when he had launched his cream-ware and was beginning to get commissions from the upper class. The company traded there until 1940, when they moved to the new factory at Barlaston, and production at Etruria finally stopped … Continue reading WEDGWOOD’S ETRURIA

WEDGWOOD’S HOUSE (III)

I've been reading Robin Reilly's biography of Wedgwood, which tells us that he must have heard the name Etruria before he read it because, in his correspondence about his new factory and house, he calls it "Hetruria". His promotion of James Brindley's Trent and Mersey Canal involved negotiations over its route, ensuring that it ran … Continue reading WEDGWOOD’S HOUSE (III)