About the brand Wedgwood
The Wedgwood brand has established an international reputation for top-quality porcelain. It was founded by the “Father of English Potters” Josiah Wedgwood in 1759. Now – over 250 years later – Wedgwood employs over 2,000 staff worldwide and the company’s Fine Bone China and famous Wedgwood Earthenware (a special clay-based ceramic) is available in over 90 countries. Wedgwood China has graced the dining tables of the Empress Catherine of Russia, the American President Theodore Roosevelt and also the Queen of England, Elisabeth II.
Josiah Wedgwood was a great visionary and, within the space of only ten years of starting the company, managed to position Wedgwood as a popular luxury brand and secure a leading market position. During his lifetime, he developed and manufactured three of the company’s most famous chinaware: Queen’s Ware (1762), Black Basalt (1768) and Jasperware (1774).
His aim was always to produce top-quality porcelain with a special English flair – products that set new trends and do not just blindly follow existing fashion.
As of 1812, besides its earthenware products, Wedgwood started producing fine bone china – a translucent porcelain made of kaolin, china clay, quartz sand and bone ash – that was soon to be found decorating the dining table of the American President in the White House. This was the same time that painted porcelain made its debut at Wedgwood. The first fine bone china collection was the famous design of the Chinese dragon.
Top Designers at Wedgwood
These days it is not only fully employed designers and ceramic artists that work for Wedgwood, but also well-known fashion designers, such as the award-winning designer Jasper Conran. Conran’s sophisticated designs with their delicate décor are simply captivating. Like the “little black number” or other indispensable items in the wardrobe, porcelain like Jasper Conran’s creations for Wedgwood is equally indispensable when arranging a nice dinner party. Despite all his creations, Jasper Conran remains loyal to his design credo: “form and function come first, decoration later.”
Like Jasper Conran, Vera Wang – who took the fashion world by storm with her exclusive and ground-breaking wedding dress creations – has developed exciting design collections for Wedgwood. Sometimes her designs have a puristic touch, on other occasions they are bright and lively.
Jasperware is probably Josiah Wedgwood’s most innovative porcelain discovery since the development of Chinese porcelain over 100 years ago. Some sources claim that it took five years to develop this producing technique and entailed more than 10,000 experiments until the optimal composition of firing time, firing temperature and earthenware led to the revolutionary result – Jasperware. What makes Jasperware so special is that because it is so fine, the white porcelain seems almost translucent.
In 1790, Josiah Wedgwood was given permission to recreate the famous Portland vase in earthenware and to use it as the trademark for Wedgwood. The original Portland vase uses a traditional overlay technique. The dark-blue glass is covered with a layer of white glass from which bas-relief figures from Ancient Greece are cut with a so-called cameo technique. It is probably the most famous Roman cameo glass vase in existence. It dates back to a time shortly after Christ’s birth and was found in 1642 during archaeological digs near Rome. The name dates back to the Duchess of Portland, the owner of the vase until she died in 1785.
Josiah Wedgwood’s reproduction of the blue Portland vase in Jasperware with the white cameo ornamentation is still regarded as the most famous ceramic product to leave the company and, like the “Pegasus Vase” as one of Wedgwood’s greatest masterpieces.
Did you know?
In order to increase general awareness of the superior quality of Wedgwood products, the company continually thinks up new high profile tests. This has also included balancing a Rolls Royce or even a bus with 40 people on top of Wedgwood porcelain cups.