Wedgwood: The Ceramic Coffin

Published 12th January 2009

If I told you that Josiah Wedgwood was buried in a ceramic coffin you would probably be right to distrust me. However, whatever vessel he resides in he must surely be spinning in it now with the very sad news that his once proud ‘pottery business’ has gone the way of nearly every other domestic ceramic concern in this country.

Josiah Wedgwood the man who invented Black Basalt and every conceivable colour of Jasper Ware, the individual who improved the quality of fine bodied Cream Ware made pottery not just a poor cousin to porcelain, but a very real competitor to it in every sense.

 wedgwood blue jasperware      wedgwood keith murray 'annular' vases.    wedgwood ravilious 'garden implements' pattern.

Even better I just loved the idea that even a grand ‘art house’ concern such as Wedgwood also made toilets, sanitary wares, tiles and things of a more mundane nature, something that should have made it a resilient business.

The company continued it's enterprising spirit through the 19th and on into the 20th century with Wedgwood employing striking and radical designers such as Keith Murray and Eric Ravilious and on occasion the downright bizarre if you consider the ‘Fairyland Lustre’ of Daisy Makieg Jones!  Just where did it all go wrong?

Is the concept of a ceramic coffin equally as bizarre? Apparently not, several examples have been unearthed in the Hamadan area of Iran, most recently in 2001. 

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