Wedgwood is a famous British pottery company with a long and storied history. It was founded by Josiah Wedgwood in 1759 in Staffordshire, England. Josiah Wedgwood came from a family of potters and started his own pottery business after apprenticing in London. He gained recognition for his innovative techniques and designs, and soon his pottery became highly sought after.
One of Wedgwood's most significant contributions to the pottery industry was the development of a fine, cream-colored earthenware known as Queen's Ware. This ceramic material was more affordable than porcelain and quickly gained popularity. Wedgwood expanded his business rapidly, opening multiple factories in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. He introduced various production improvements, including the use of molds and the adoption of steam-powered machinery.
The Wedgwood company became renowned for its fine craftsmanship and high-quality products. Josiah Wedgwood aimed to elevate pottery to the status of fine art, and he collaborated with renowned artists of the time, including the sculptor John Flaxman and the painter George Stubbs. In the late 18th century, Wedgwood also became closely associated with the neoclassical style. His designs often featured Greek and Roman inspired motifs, such as ancient myths and scenes from antiquity.
Wedgwood's creations enjoyed immense popularity and were sought after by the British royal family and other elite customers. The company even received a royal appointment as "Potter to Her Majesty." Josiah Wedgwood passed away in 1795, but his heritage continued through generations. His sons and grandsons carried on the family business, expanding the product range to include porcelain, jasperware, and other decorative pieces.
Over the years, Wedgwood adapted to changing consumer tastes and market demands. The company has collaborated with various designers and artists, including the famous fashion designer Vera Wang. In the mid-20th century, Wedgwood merged with its competitor, Waterford Crystal, forming the Waterford Wedgwood plc. However, the company faced financial difficulties and underwent various ownership changes.
Today, Wedgwood is owned by the Finnish company Fiskars Group. It continues to produce high-quality pottery and porcelain, staying true to its heritage while also embracing modern designs and techniques. Wedgwood creations are still highly regarded and collected by enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.