The death of Wedgwood

Inkstand made for Lord Tweedmouth using old Wedgwood and a Neolithic arrow-head

Inkstand made for Lord Tweedmouth using old Wedgwood and a Neolithic arrow-head

The death of Wedgwood in 1795 deprived the factory of its great innovative dynamo. A factory which survives solely on its traditions puts its faith in a diminishing asset. Fortunately there was at least some fresh thinking.

Josiah's son John was a keen botanist and a founder of the Royal Horticultural Society. He introduced in 1807 the underglaze-printed Water Lily pattern, designed with great care following four different published botanical illustrations. It showed that printed decoration could be of the very best design. The earthenware plate below comes from a service which belonged to Josiah Wedgwood's daughter Susannah and her husband Robert Waring Darwin.

From the 1850s 'Old Wedgwood' was becoming a fashionable area for collecting. The 'candlestick' shown below was made up in Paris in the 1870s from a bell-pull and a saucer! The great collector Lord Tweedmouth had a group of little sweetmeat pots made up into an inkstand with a prehistoric flint arrowhead found near his house at Guisachan in Inverness-shire. In the 1880s he had on display there many of the finest pieces which now grace the Lady Lever Art Gallery.