The Wedgwood story

Our story began in 1759 when our founder, Josiah Wedgwood I (aged just twenty-nine) started as an independent potter in Burslem, England. Fast forward over 260 years and we’re still producing many of the materials he invented, such as Jasper, Queen’s Ware and Black Basalt. Discover the full story of Wedgwood and our unique history on this page or visit us at the World of Wedgwood at our home in Barlaston for an interesting day out.

Wedgwood, timeless eclecticism since 1759.

Mr. Wedgwood

The Wedgwood story began in 1759, when Josiah Wedgwood, aged just twenty-nine, started as an independent potter in Burslem, Staffordshire, England. He began to experiment avidly with clay, exploring its many possibilities.

He is today remembered as the “Father of English Potters”. His pioneer spirit, his vigorous design policy, his commitment to exacting standards of quality and his efforts to create affordable luxury products remain the values at the heart of the brand today.

Did you know?

1. From 1787 until his death in 1795, Josiah Wedgwood actively participated in the Abolition of Slavery cause.
2. Many common sales techniques such as direct mail, money-back guarantees, free delivery, celebrity endorsement, illustrated catalogues and buy one get one free came from Josiah Wedgwood.
3. Charles Darwin, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution, was Josiah Wedgwood’s grandson.

Jasperware

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, green, lilac, 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.

Royal Connection

Wedgwood's enduring appeal among the world's Royal Families and Heads of State began with Queen Charlotte, who ordered a set of cream-colored earthernware that pleased her so much that Josiah Wedgwood was granted permission to style himself 'Potter to Her Majesty' and call his innovative cream ware 'Queen's Ware'.

Since the time of Queen Charlotte, Wedgwood collections were to grace the tables of British monarchs and many other illustrious Heads of State, such as in the Vatican, the Kremlin and the White House. It was also the brand of choice for some of the world's most prestigious hotels.

In 1995, Wedgwood was granted the Royal Warrant, a mark of recognition of those who have supplied goods or services to the Royal Households for at least five years, from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Wedgwood craftmanship

Since 1940, at the Wedgwood factory at Barlaston, England, modern technology combines with the ancient skills of throwing, modelling and decorating. These precious skills are preserved through a solid apprenticeship program, reintroduced to meet the growing global demand for some of Wedgwood's most exclusive signature pieces. Apprentices train for up to 10 years to become Master Craftspeople.

Wedgwood 260 years

2019 marked over two centuries since Josiah Wedgwood began to inspire people all over the world to decorate and dress their tables with creativity and style. Steeped in a rich heritage, 260 wonderful years later Wedgwood continues to be renowned for quality and innovative British design, bringing a timeless elegance to today’s modern home.

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