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Josiah Wedgwood’s grandfather built the Churchyard Works, a member of the Staffordshire Potteries, during the late 1600’s.By the age of 6, Josiah Wedgwood began working as an apprentice at the Churchyard Works making pitchers, pots, bowls, and vases.Concerning North America’s insatiable demand for luxury items, Wedgwood once wrote a friend saying, “for the islands of North America we cannot make anything too rich and costly.” Wedgwood’s business continued to expand rapidly.In 1766, Wedgwood relocated his factory to the Ridge House estate located at New Castle-under-Lyme and Hanley.Up to that point, the best tableware available was made from refined earthenware.Wedgwood’s creamware was revolutionary in that it introduced true fine china into the market.Obsessed with “the new art” or, what is now called “neo-classicism,” Wedgwood set out to reproduce the piece for the British National Museum.Wedgwood’s reproduction of the vase was so successful that it was ordered to tour the European Continent by the Royal Academy.
Following his illness, Josiah Wedgwood found himself dissatisfied with the pottery business.In 1754, Wedgwood joined with the renowned Thomas Whieldon of Fenton.For a number of years, Whieldon had produced the most creative and esteemed pottery in England.Jasperware is Josiah Wedgwood’s crowning achievement. Jasper is translucent clay that marries the basalt and Queen’s Ware formulas to produce a dense, homogeneously colored stoneware.
The white body could be colored and a white porcelain relief affixed to the item.
Whieldon had been greatly impressed with Wedgwood’s drive and ingenuity.