2019 marked over two centuries since Josiah Wedgwood decided to plant our roots into the clay-rich soil of Stoke-on-Trent, inspiring generations around the world to be creative and colourful when it came to styling their tables and their homes.Steeped in this rich heritage, over 260 wonderful years later Wedgwood continues to be renowned for high-quality and innovative British design, bringing a timeless eclecticism to today’s modern home.
260 years of creation and innovation
JosiahJosiah Wedgwood, a dedicated craftsman, potter, pioneer and philanthropist, founded Wedgwood in Stoke-on-Trent, England in 1759. Josiah’s legacy lives on at our factory in Barlaston as we continue to craft the highest quality fine bone china dinnerware and teaware, re-imagining archival patterns and innovating with brand-new colourful designs. We continue to create contemporary collections that make each day that little bit more beautiful.
The wonderful Wedgwood timeline
Josiah Wedgwood (Josiah) was born at the Church Yard Pottery in Burslem, Staffordshire. Josiah was the 12th and last child of Thomas Wedgwood and Mary Wedgwood. Josiah began his ceramic innovations with the introduction of creamware tableware, made from refined earthenware with a lead glaze. Josiah opened his first London Showroom on Cateaton Street. Queen Charlotte of England requested a creamware tea and coffee service, Josiah took this opportunity to request permission to style himself “Potter to Her Majesty”, his request was granted. His creamware was subsequently referred to as “Queen’s Ware” on delivery of the set in 1766.
Josiah opened ‘Etruria Works’ and entered into a formal business partnership with the Liverpool merchant, Thomas Bentley. The First Day’s Vases were produced and known to be personally thrown by Josiah, two are available to see at the Wedgwood Museum.
The first Jasper colour trials are carried out, the beginning of a 200-year journey of Jasperware. In the meantime, Josiah invented a pyrometer to measure the temperatures inside the pottery kilns and was the first to measure temperatures above 360° Fahrenheit. The measurements are in degrees Wedgwood.
In 1783, Josiah was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in London.
Josiah Wedgwood passed away and John Wedgwood (John), Josiah’s son, founded the Royal Horticultural Society with seven of his friends. John’s son, Charles Darwin, was born and was destined for greatness. The Wedgwood brand went on to introduce translucent bone china, England’s answer to European Porcelain. The first printed back stamp appeared on Wedgwood ware.
New production techniques were tested and a three-letter code was impressed onto the base of each Wedgwood piece that denoted the month, potter and year of manufacture. A little later, 1,296 pieces of armorial bone china was ordered for the White House by the 28th US President, Theodore Roosevelt. Edme Queensware was then created for Pannier Freres in Paris and from 1910 and ‘Made in England’ was introduced on all designs.
Josiah Wedgwood Inc, New York, was founded - making the Wedgwood brand international. Wedgwood purchased land in Barlaston in Stoke-on-Trent, England, and built a new factory where the first Brown Boveri electric powered kiln fired up, superseding two centuries of coal.
Shortly after, our treasured Wild Strawberry pattern was introduced into the product portfolio, now our most iconic design.
Wedgwood was granted the Royal warrant from Her Majesty the Queen and substantial investments were made into new manufacturing equipment and increased production capacity. This period saw collaborations with artists and designers including Kit Kemp, Paul Costello, Jasper Conran, Vera Wang, Nick Monro and Kelly Hoppen.
Wedgwood continued to develop its relationships and began a three-year partnership with the RHS. Wedgwood went onto receive Gold for the first Wedgwood Show Garden at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show with Garden Designer Sam Ovens. Wedgwood then went onto win Gold at RHS Chelsea Flower Show with Garden Designer Jo Thompson in 2018.
2019 marks the 260th anniversary of Wedgwood and a commemorative £2 coin is created by the Royal Mint that features the beautiful Portland Vase.
The magical journey of Wedgwood continues...
Anniversary collectionTo celebrate this landmark year, we have taken one of our best loved and most memorable designs Wild Strawberry and re-imagined with the addition of stunning gold foliage and delicate hand painted butterflies to create a modern fresh feel. Made from fine bone china, the Wild Strawberry Gold Collection offers a beautiful translucency that showcases the quality of craftsmanship involved in making every piece and for a limited time you can purchase an expertly crafted piece of Wedgwood history.
Did you know
- Josiah Wedgwood, the most famous potter in history, couldn’t use a potter’s wheel.
- Charles Darwin, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution, was Josiah Wedgwood’s grandson.
- 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.
- From 1787 until his death in 1795, Josiah Wedgwood actively participated in the Abolition of Slavery cause.
For more articles like this, sign up to our newsletter where you will be the first to hear about our latest collections, gift ideas for all occasions, exclusive offers and expert tips from Wedgwood's designers and collaborators. Sing up at the bottom of the page.