Art Culture

Wedgwood Gets The Stoke 2000 Treatment

On the 1st of May 1759, Josiah Wedgwood began his pottery manufacturing journey at the Ivy House having rented the premises from his distant relatives John and Thomas Wedgwood of the Big House in Burslem. The Ivy House stood on the East side of town, which is now a communal space next to the Town Hall. He stayed there for a few years until 1762, conducting experiments to improve the quality of his ware before moving to the Brick House or Bell Works also in the Mother-Town. In 1769 he moved to his Etruia Factory on the Ridgehouse Estate which was ideally positioned next to the Trent and Mersey Canal. To celebrate the 260th anniversary, The Stoke 2000 are currently introducing a number of colours on their planters related to his timeline.

BLUE: (1759) The first of this range are our blue design, representing the famous iconic colour best associated with Wedgwood. An unglazed matte “biscuit” finish, it is also produced in a number of different colours, of which the most common and best known is a pale blue that has become known as Wedgwood Blue. We include a deep cobalt blue in this style and date. WHITE: (1765) Wedgwood’s innovatory cream coloured earthenware was called Queen’s Ware after the successful completion of his first commission for Queen Charlotte in the summer of 1765. A notice in Aris Birmingham Gazette, (a pre-eminent Midlands newspaper) announced: “Mr Josiah Wedgwood, of Burslem, has had the honour of being appointed Potter to Her Majesty.”

RED: (1765) Rosso antico, also known as ‘Old Red,’ Wedgwood refined the common red ware and started production in small quantities. At the request of his partner Thomas Bentley, production resumed in 1776. Rosso antico production continued until about 1900. After 1790 it was often combined with Black Basalt in decorative items, or covered with enamel decoration.

GREEN: (1775) Our first product associated with Jasperware is green, being one of the most popular colours and well sought after in antiques and collectables. Sage green (described as “sea-green” by Wedgwood) as with all colours he experimented with is naturally white once fired but stained with metallic oxide colours. Named after the mineral jasper for marketing reasons, the exact Wedgwood formula remains confidential. Jasperware is particularly associated with the neoclassical sculptor and designer John Flaxman Jr who supplied Wedgwood with designs. Flaxman mostly worked in wax when designing for Wedgwood. Various designs and figures were cast from 1775: some of them are still in production. Inspiration for Flaxman and Wedgwood came not only from ancient ceramics, but also from cameo glass particularly the Portland Vase.

We are currently experimenting with other colours, techniques and key dates in history that can generate discussion and educate, encourage people to share stories and commemorate local culture and national heritage. We are also open to ideas and collaborations.

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