Wedgwood was founded by Josiah Wedgwood, the ‘Father of English Potters’, in 1759. His first big success - and perhaps the greatest contribution to the British pottery industry - was the production of the first cream-colored earthenware. Later called Queen’s Ware by the Royal assent of Queen Charlotte in 1765, this inexpensive earthenware put fine, beautiful tableware within reach of a much wider range of consumers. Wedgwood’s most famous commission in Queen’s Ware was a 952 piece dinner and dessert service for Empress Catherine II of Russia in 1773/74, which featured free-hand paintings of 1,244 different English Scenes.
Wedgwood is quintessentially English. It has a tradition of innovation, quality and craftsmanship and its designs are widely acknowledged as timeless, elegant, classic and understated. The design teams also work with external product designs for cross-pollination of ideas, experience and work methods. The Company philosophy is that its products are not only a pleasure to be enjoyed today, but are also a treasure for the future - many consumers buy only Wedgwood to be handed down as a family heirloom.
Wedgwood also produced a wide variety of ornamental ware and in 1768 developed Black Basalt, a fine black stoneware that has remained popular through three centuries and is used on vases, busts, cameos and teaware.
After years of searching for the right ingredients and thousands of experiments, Wedgwood perfected Jasperware - a very fine-grained stoneware, colored throughout the body. Jasper was prized by Wedgwood above all his creations and, until his death in 1795, he devoted much of his energy to producing a wide range of pieces from cameos to portrait medallions to chessmen and candlesticks in many different colors.
Jasperware is synonymous with the Wedgwood name and has been produced continually for more than 200 years. Although today it is produced using more streamlined production techniques, in essence the methods used are the same as those used by Josiah Wedgwood in the 18th century, with every bas-relief decoration applied by hand.
The company has established exciting design partnerships with fashion designers, Jasper Conran, Vera Wang and artist Robert Dawson to develop contemporary and stylish ranges that appeal to the younger consumer. Today, Wedgwood is known throughout the world for the quality of its products and its rich heritage.
"We are proud of the world-wide celebrations of Wedgwood's 250th anniversary. We need to reflect on our remarkable heritage, as well as the extraordinary legacy of our founder, Josiah Wedgwood. It is a time to focus on a new and exciting future with the many supporters of our great brand."
-Lord Piers Wedgwood, Brand Ambassador
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