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Wedgwood: True Britain

Thursday, 03 December 2009

wedgwoodOnce upon a time there lived Josiah Wedgwood in England between 1730-1795. According to Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary, he was a potter, the founder of the new English manufacture in clay. Thus, this definition was not sufficient to talk about Wedgwood.  Wedgwood opened his working day in his father's shop and then he worked for Thomas Wildon enterprise since 1754. He was especially admired in colored glaze. And in 1759 he founded his own manufacture where he produced ceramics of all Stafford types, and as such the company Wedgwood was initiated which has been the legend of china work for over 2.5 centuries. The Queen of England showed her interest to Wedgwood works which were lately added the status of «royal goods».

The absurdity by Wedgwood is that he did not create anything new, he is not the founder of any particular style, and he borrowed many ideas from competitors. Wedgwood is the real Victorian eclectics, this is the soft and flexible toys, sensitive, picturesque and of high quality.

Wedgwood vases are replicated from the Sevres Manufacture, though they are more popular than items made in Sevres. Wedgwood was in the top of first designers who initiated Egyptian patterns and motive onto his items, and nevertheless, his items were of higher demand. Later than the Italians he started to restore the red-figure patterns on vases of Italian and Roman origin (so called « Etruscan») - and the items were of higher demand than the «original copies». The ornaments and patterns were borrowed by Wedgwood from two of his brothers, another paradox phenomenon by Wedgwood brothers, who are believed to be the greatest architects and designers, who were not as popular as Wedgwood.

As Novalis said, Goethe was the same as Wedgwood for English culture, and here the minstrel wanted to sting Goethe while flattering Wedgwood. And this is interesting but Goethe is as vulnerable as every tea set, a mug, and vases.

Very typical «style of drawing» by Wedgwood, one of his most famous masterpieces is reproduction of Portland vase. Roman vase, made at the end of I century B.C., that was in the collection of Lord Hamilton, bought by the Duchess of Portland, in awe of all neoclassicists. But Wedgwood thought of the ingenious and simple solution: and exactly the same vase, but better. As a result, the reproduced masterpiece with amazing accuracy was created, and thus was able to improve in both technique and color. Moreover, it is possible to replicate vases, but it is affordable to Wedgwood only, and vases and remained works of art were valuable even when replicated.

Wedgwood produced his famous sets not only for the British crown. For the sake of Catherine II, a lover of luxury porcelain, Wedgwood ordered a big set to the species of England. The table ware was intended for suburban Palace (in Finnish - «Frog Bog»). Because of such names green frog was chosen as the emblem on each set. Dinner set is called «Green Frog». This was a sample of quiet rococo, faithful to the neo-classicism. It is said that Catherine II did not show much interest in the smooth eclecticism, and the set «Green Frog» was not to her taste. Maybe so, but the empress were well aware that such a personal image and the image of the state - to acquire the set of Wedgwood by the Russian Imperial House. Now the set «Green Frog» is stored in the Hermitage and is one of the most outstanding treasures of this museum.

After the death of Wedgwood, his work were continued by his sons, keeping the tradition, the father founded, highest quality and meticulous monitoring of fashion trends. Thus, in the XIX century Wedgwood manufactory produced dishes styled as Chinese porcelain were the most fashionable porcelain of that time.

In 1987, the Wedgwood Company teamed up with Waterford Crystal (Irish manufacturer of crystal), forming a joint company, Waterford-Wedgwood. This company continues to produce elite porcelain, which is the example of grace, elegance and quality.

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