Wedgwood is the iconic 'English' china brand that is recognised around the world. Since its founding on May Day 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood, it has excelled in combining excellence of design with superlative quality. Today the Wedgwood portfolio contains a mix of traditional, classic and contemporary designs, equally at home in the dining room or the kitchen to reflect today's diverse lifestyle choices. Wedgwood's designer ranges, created in partnerships with Jasper Conran and Vera Wang, are amongst the world's most exciting and desirable tableware and giftware collections.
All Wedgwood Patterns
Born and brought up in the heart of the ceramic industry, Josiah Wedgwood began as an apprentice at the tender age of 6! Immersed in the industry he continued working for a number of renown potters, including Whieldon where he experimented with clay formulas and glaze techniques. Whieldon was so impressed with the work accomplished that when Josiah desired to open his own factory, he was allowed to take the formulae created with him.
Experimentation was key to the early success of the new venture, with two of Wedgwood’s most important creations launched within the first ten years. Black Basalt, a beautiful, fine-grained stoneware and creamware. Creamware was easy to produce, relatively inexpensive to make and desired by all. In 1765 Queen Charlotte solicited Wedgwood to be "Potter to His and Her Majesty" and as a result Josiah renamed creamware as "Queen's Ware".
With the expansion of the business, a new factory and village was built, and named Etruria, after the early potters of central Italy. It was here that Josiah Wedgwood created his greatest achievement, Jasperware. Production began in 1775 and was the result of over 10,000 experiments. It was a masterful stroke of genius to invent a body material that could be coloured and a white porcelain relief that could be adhered to it. The famous Portland Vase was reproduced in 1789 and has become the iconic emblem of Wedgwood ever since.
Josiah Wedgwood died in 1795, and the factory struggled to maintain the drive and creative edge, and was often beset by economic difficulties; despite this it continued to invest in new machinery and making methods that allowed greater consistency of quality and the manufacture of the finest bone china.
It became apparent in the 1930's that a new streamline factory was necessary to generate greater capacity; but due to World War II the doors of the new factory weren’t opened until 1949, in Barlaston, south of Stoke on Trent. It charmed the world with patterns like Charnwood, Kutani Crane and Runnymede Blue. It has been actively involved in the acquisition of many of the famous ceramic names like Susie Cooper, Adams, Franciscan and joining forces with Waterford in 1986. With the more recent acquisition of Royal Doulton, Minton and Royal Albert, it has established a prestigious and dynamic family of brands.