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Latest Articles - Luxury

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Antique English Porcelain

Thursday, 11 June 2009

antique english porcelain«He has transformed a rough industry into fine art» — a strong epitaph, isn’t it? These words are inscribed on the gravestone of Josiah Wedgwood, a man whose name is emphatically repeated by professional art collectors and women of fashion dreaming to recreate in their parlors the atmosphere of pure elegance.

Indeed, possession of the most beautiful chinaware which is considered by most European distinguished families, including royal ones, to be one of the essential attributes of aristocracy and royalty, can once and forever change your self-respect and attitude to the world.

...Like many other stories of success, ours begins with the proverb «Every cloud has a silver lining". In his childhood Josiah has suffered a bout of smallpox that weakened his right knee. The leg was dismembered, and the boy, a third-generation ceramist, couldn't work with the potters' wheel. He concentrated his effort on the thing that gained him glory and worldwide recognition - new technologies and materials.

His greatest creation which gave the name to English porcelain was Jasper or basalt clay, translucent material of seven colors - white, yellow, pink, apple green, dark-green, dark-blue and black. Wedgwood admired antiquity and used Jasper clay for making «Etruscan» vases which imitated painted vases of Ancient Greece. The most famous collectors provided Wedgwood with masterpieces of the art for making casts and reproducing them in ceramics.

Another famous authorly clay - creamy earthenware - was christened 'Queen's Ware'. It was the very clay of which a complete set for Queen Charlotte was manufactured in 1765. The Queen had appointed him queen's potter. Other eminent patrons included Empress Catherine II of Russia, who ordered 952 such pieces. The Russian Empress requested to paint on them different Britain's motives: «I want all the England to be on my table!» Besides, she ordered a famous «Green Frog Set» which nowadays is exposed in the Hermitage.

And even after the irretrievable downfall of the empire, the delivery of Wedgwood porcelain to the Russian «court» didn't cease: a set ordered by B.N.Yeltsin' administration comprised 2000 pieces inwrought by coat of arms of the Russian Federation.

The unique material of Wedgwood's factory - Jasperware - a translucent clay that marries the basalt and Josiah's original formulas to produce a dense, homogeneously colored stoneware. The items could be colored in different tints - violet, light-blue, pale green.

The selected and most elegant sets as Cornucopia include candlesticks, mantel clock and photograph frame. There's no need to say that these masterpieces are considered to be Wedgwood trademark.

By the way, this porcelain can be washed in the dishwasher and used in mini oven. Next door to blasphemy, of course, but this is technologically acceptable.

Yet, Wedgwood porcelain is not only chinaware. The firm manufactures medallions for furniture or chimney décor made of the tender «wax biscuit» and even accessories - pendants and brooches. The polished steel served as a setting for such medallions, it shined like a gemstone and the contrast between the bright setting and delicate cameo was very impressive. Till now the collectors hunt these cameos of the 18th century.

A Wedgwood tea pair made of cream porcelain, even the most unpretentious, valued at $100-150, can be presented to ‘hard-to-buy-for' person. The present won't go unnoticed and would be a sound reason for the new owner's proud and for the imperishable memory of the donator. And if you're able to buy an expensive present, remember that a cost of a six person table set starts from $1500, the upper limit for Wedgwood porcelain is practically infinite.

...With this in mind, go to the scullery and try to find there several cups of bona china with a blue character W. As manufacturer assures, four Wedgwood cups can withstand another English famous brand - a Rolls-Royce. If you have one in your garage, you have a chance to check.

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