Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wild about Wedgwood

Often when I'm at Barnes & Noble I browse the literary and arts section of the newsstand, and recently I discovered among the arts titles a magazine billed as "an indispensable expert reference" on Wedgwood. It was marked just $6.99 so naturally I grabbed a copy, but as I carried it with me I realized it was 6.99 pounds, not dollars, and that sticker at the bottom said $18.50 in US dollars. Ridiculous! I put the magazine back, but then I kept thinking about it, and after another week of thinking about it I realized I was penalizing this publication for being a magazine and not a book. After all, it was the information that I really wanted, not a particular format, so I finally brought the magazine home with me.

As much as I love history and the study of teawares, this magazine has been a joy to read. There's a full section devoted to Wedgwood's famous Jasper wares. "The creation of Jasper was Josiah Wedgwood I's most important contribution to the ceramic world and has been in production for over 200 years," according to the magazine, whose author is Gaye Blake-Roberts, director of the Wedgwood Museum in Stoke-on-Trent.

A feature on Regency period bone china explains how Josiah Wedgwood II came to experiment with bone china and used "a smaller proportion of bone ash than other manufacturers with about 21 percent used in larger items and 25 percent for smaller pieces such as the tea wares."

And while the magazine was printed in the UK, I was happy to see a nod to American readers with a bit of info on the White House Service that Wedgwood was commissioned to create for Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 (shown at lower left in this image of the plate and dessert tureen). "The first consignment of ware," the article says, "was sent on December 15, 1902, and the service was completed by April 1903; 1,296 individual pieces were painted with the American eagle crest mostly by (John) Goodwin and Herbert A. Cholerton. In 1912 the company received an additional substantial repeat order for this service." There's much, much more fascinating stuff in this issue, including Wedgwood's history during World Wars I and II, famous pattern designers for Wedgwood, unusual Wedgwood items (some high heels with Jasper ware for the heels!), and a nice section on how Wedgwood is actually made. If you're a Wedgwood fan too, I bet you'll enjoy this issue as much as I have!


  1. Very interesting review of this magazine. I love Wedgwood!

  2. Sometimes we have to splurge! Seems like your investment was worth it.

  3. I do love the white-on-blue items, though I own none---just a few pieces of the plain old grooved beige, whatever that pattern is.

    But I did bend low and watch for a long time as the great ranks of cups rode that room-wide furnace conveyor belt through the flames at the factory---it was awesomely fascinating, as few ordinary things are.

    And the Wedgwood-heeled blue shoes were priced on Antiques Road show once---who'd ever have thought of such a thing?


  4. Yes, I agree with Steph, we do have to splurge sometimes. I admire Wedgwood and love seeing it, but not a particular fan. Thanks for your review.

  5. Sometimes you do need to buy something after thinking it over. Sounds like a nice magazine.

  6. Fascinating. My china is a Wedgewood pattern. I wonder if it is in there. You always show us interesting things. Glad you picked it up.

  7. That magazine looks beautiful, Angela - so glad you decided to get it and to share it with your readers.

    I love Wedgwood and one of my favorite patterns is Runnymeade (navy). Many years ago, I had a part time job at Dillards in their Bridal Department / Gift Registry. There was something special about that pattern and I was able to buy a few pieces. (Even with an employee discount, it was pretty pricey!)

    One Thanksgiving, when we received our extra special 'Holiday Employee Discount,' I splurged and ordered a covered vegetable tureen. It sure is beautiful.

    The best thing about bone china, besides its beauty, it has a strength to it: we actually attended classes on the benefits of bone china, how strong it is (remember the ads that had a car placed on top of four teacups and saucers, to show how strong the teacups were?)

    We did a lot of 'taste testings' at our store - we served coffee in bone china cups and side by side, in styrofoam cups - the coffee tasted so much better in the china cups!

    Also with bone china, you can mix and match patterns so easily (as they all look so pretty when on the table). I remember when our store discontinued patterns, the price went way down and you could add to your collection: I was able to get some nice pieces and though they are different patterns, they look beautiful together.

    Three cheers to collecting china!


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