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
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
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
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)
Here is a more recent picture of Wedgwood's house, Etruria Hall, than the one on the plate in my last post. Wedgwood called his factory estate Etruria because he was part of the late 18th century vase mania generated by the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum. He was directly influenced by Sir William Hamilton's great … Continue reading WEDGWOOD’S HOUSE (II)
László Hradszki posted a picture on Facebook of a tile by István Gádor with a leaping horse that he'd bought recently. As it happens, I'd been looking at another picture of this tile (above) (or, more likely, another cast from the same mould) in Gordon Forsyth’s book 20th Century Ceramics, published by The Studio in … Continue reading GORDON FORSYTH: "20th CENTURY CERAMICS"
This is where it all started for me: an article in Harmsworth's Universal Encyclopaedia. It was my father's, and on rainy days in the school holidays I would browse in it. The encyclopaedia was published by Lord Northcliffe, the newspaper magnate who founded the Daily Mail, and was edited by John Hammerton. It first came out as a fortnightly … Continue reading "POTTERY: FOR USE AND ORNAMENT." AN ENCYCLOPAEDIA ARTICLE FROM THE 1920s