EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 242 - July 12, 2009 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 7

Collector's Corner: Wedgwood/Jasperware

By Michele Alice

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This year marks the 250th anniversary of Wedgwood, one of the most recognizable names in tableware and gifts today - and one of the most collectible.

Founded in 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood, the youngest of 13 children born into a family of potters, the Wedgwood Company has been noted for a number of product lines, from the early cream-colored Queen's Ware to Black Basalt ware, but its greatest claim to fame rests on Josiah's development in 1775 of Jasper Ware.

A "fine-grained, unglazed stoneware" (link), Jasper Ware (aka Jasperware) immediately caught the public's attention with its white medallions attached to a colored ground, giving each piece the appearance of a cameo.

"Wedgwood blue" Jasperware is universally recognizable, but many people don't know that Jasperware was also produced in a variety of other colors, from dark blues and lilacs to greens, yellows, and more.

Jasper starts out white, and then color is added. Older pieces were "solid" - the color permeated the stoneware - while most pieces today are "dipped," colored only on the surface.

Of course, the earlier specimens are the most valuable, and for the purposes of dating, the collector is fortunate that Wedgwood has been fairly consistent throughout its history in marking its products.

Reference can be made to several books and websites (see below) that chart the changes in marks over time, and are most useful in determining the period in which a particular piece was likely to have been made.

One final word: there is no second "E" in Wedgwood. There is also no "& Co." And no "J."

These were all marks used by various manufacturers that had no connection to the company founded by Josiah Wedgwood. For example, "J. Wedgwood" was actually John Wedge Wood, who worked between 1841 and 1860.

Interested in learning more about Wedgwood? Check out the resources listed below, and

Happy Collecting!

Books

"Wedgwood Ceramics," by Daniel J. Keefe III
Link to book

"Wedgwood Jasper: Classics, Rarities & Oddities from Four Centuries," by Michael Herman
Link to book

"Wedgwood Jasper Ware: A Shape Book and Collector's Guide," by Michael Herman
Link to book

"Wedgwood: The New Illustrated Dictionary," by Robin Reilly and George Savage
Link to book
Considered by many to be the "bible" for Wedgwood collectors.

"Wedgwood Ware," by Robert Copeland
Link to book

Websites

thepotteries.org
Excellent site covers the pottery and ceramic makers of the Stoke-on-Trent, England, area. Check out the Wedgwood pages describing the different types of wares, marks, etc.

Confused About Wedgwood
Chart helps to clarify which names on wares were truly Wedgwood's and which belonged to other companies.

Wedgwood
Official company site. Current patterns, history, timeline, more.

Wedgwood Buying Guide
This eBay guide (by restore-restyle) is an informative introduction to the subject.

The Wedgwood Museum
Housed in a brand-new facility located in Barlaston, England, the museum offers a host of activities. Check out this website for information about their history, collections, more.

The Wedgwood Society of Boston
Check out the Gallery and Links pages


About the author:

Michele Alice is EcommerceBytes Update Contributing Editor. Michele is a freelance writer in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. She collects books, science fiction memorabilia and more! Email her at makalice @ adelphia.net eBay ID: Malice9


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