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Here is a great YouTube video with history and current information by our friend and Wedgwood Museum Director, Gaye Blake-Roberts. Enjoy



Opening a brand new book that still smells of ink is such a sublime experience, almost as good as that musty smell of an old book reminding us of its history!

Check out our newly listed items on the WEBSITE where things are always changing. AT ALEXIS ANTIQUES ANNEX WE'VE ADDED MORE NON-WEDGWOOD ENGLISH CERAMICS, TO INCLUDE SOME ABSOUTELY ADORABLE ADAMS Titian Ware VERNACULAR HAND PAINTED PLATES. CHECK THEM OUT! We've added lots of new jasperware too, blue and green AND some excellent black basalt wares!



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Portrait Medallions

Since I've started the Blog, I remembered a box of books, magazines and loose papers that I've been saving for writing articles - might as well get started. It seems that Portrait Medallion collectors don't have as much print material to refer to on their subject as collectors of other categories. Marvin D. Schwartz was the long time Curator of Decorative Arts at the Brooklyn Museum and as such in custody of the Emily Winthrop Miles Collection, given to the Museum in 1953. There are a number of publications about this collection, i.e., Exhibition Catalog from the Museum and auction catalogs as well as a book or two about the collection itself. The February 1968 issue of The Magazine Antiques contains a well-written article by Mr. Schwartz. The Miles Collection contained both "ordinary" and very rare examples, a good cross-section of what was listed in Wedgwood's 18th Century "The heads of Illustrious Moderns from Chaucer to the Present Time". The article points out the amount of detail found in the medallions and discusses the fact that the time was one of interest in people. The medallions illustrated in this article represent the more unusual examples. There are 12 black & white photos of larger medallions, one in basalt, the others in jasper. There is another photo of 9 medallions in a grouping, smaller photo but the figures are recognizable such as Gortius, George III, Shakespeare, Louis XVI and others, among the more "regular" figures. Each subject is discussed and the date and marking plus modeller's name are included in the discussion.

For antique creamware collectors, this issue also has a small ad for a blue feather edge covered tureen with undertray and ladle. The dealer had a set of 64 pieces and wouldn't it be interesting to know where it is now! You can't miss this cover, green with pink romantic Staffordshire figurines - very much a Valentine look for the February issue. These old issues are fun to look for in antiques shops and malls. Take your list with you when you shop!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wedgwood and Ceramic GLOSSARY

If you go here you will find a concise Wedgood and ceramic Glossary which may help you navigate websites easier. Once you click this link, click the image to make it large enough to read.

Another Elusive Wedgwood Book - a quick review

Another elusive Wedgwood fiction book came our way some time ago. This one has obviously spent time in a wet basement, the binding is falling off, and there is lots of evidence of mold on the cover. The book was bound, produced from a typescript - not hard to tell, the printing is that of a typewriter! The title of this gem is The Wedgwood Pitcher, written in 1944 by Ruby Dell Baugher, a shut-in who wrote several books (Google her name and you'll find a list). In this volume, she thanks her friend who did her library research for her. The book was published by The Hobson Book Press, Cynthiana, KY. The story is a classic one of early American pioneer migration from east across Kentucky and along the Ohio River to a new home and new life in Ohio. Conestoga wagons, trials, tribulations and a Wedgwood pitcher make the journey west with the family of a wife and mother, daughters, sons and slaves. The story is warm and exciting, the love of family stands strong. The Wedgwood pitcher means very little in the grand scheme of the rigorous trip, but everything in the minds of the family members. It represents what they left behind, it represents their status in life, their pride, their sumptuous residence abandoned to the sense of adventure. Reading this book might help understand the psychology of Wedgwood; you won't learn a thing about Wedgwood bodies, history, colors, marks or values, but you will find a sense of pride, a love of beauty, a sense of why collectors collect things - symbols in our lives that tell far more in our minds than sometimes we can express aloud. It's a bit of a laborious read, but probaby worth the trouble in the end! Especially if you are searching for the meaning of your Wedgwood life! Go to this website to find some copies in a few libraries around the country. I'd love to know what you think after you've read it! Enjoy!

Caverswall Castle in Staffordshire

What a gorgeous place to have a wedding, spend a honeymoon or make a movie! Thirteenth century Caverswall Castle in Staffordshire survived the Civil War, provided a safe haven for nuns fleeing the French Revolution and was the home of the Wedgwood family. Sir William de Caverswall founded the castle more than 700 years ago where the two tributaries of the Blythe rise, seven miles south of Stoke-on-Trent. A moat was formed from the river. Completed in 1275, the castle had fallen into disrepair by the late 1500s. Matthew Craddock, wool merchant and mayor of Stafford, began to refurbish the castle in 1625. Members of the Wedgwood family, Hope and Godfrey Wedgwood, moved in during the 1880s, and the home was the center of a great deal of family activity. In 1891 it was bought by W E Bowers, who remained there for 40 years, in which time he added a wing, now a separate residence. In the past few years it was for sale for 2 million GBP. Obviously some enterprising group has purchased it and turned it into a paradise. Go to the website at and enjoy the views. Be sure to go to their History tab and click on both photo albums. The photos are worth the time. The models are a vision themselves, to say nothing of the gorgeous gowns! Enjoy!

The Wedgwood Medallion, A Book Review


By Emily Beatrix Coursolles Jones, Published in London by Chatto & Windus, 1922
302 Pages

Scouting the internet one day, I found this little volume on eBay from a Welsh seller. He was honest that it wasn’t in the best condition, but it is hard-bound and the pages are all intact. Having no pre-conceived idea of its content or subject really, I dug right in. It takes a number of chapters to arrive at the first mention of the Wedgwood medallions collected by the father of some of the main characters. The symbolism comes out as he gives the medallions away to the fiancée of one of his nephews. The book is a love story, very Victorian in style, very much a “coming of age” story. Sweet, innocent people leading sweet, innocent lives. The main character, a young girl living a cloistered life with her mother & sisters on the Devon coast of England, discovers love when a group of young men vacation near her home one summer. She meets one of them and falls in love, but in her own way loves all of them. In the end things change, but the circle remains intact. Her maturation from child frolicking on the beach to young Englishwoman living on her own in London is traced through the adventures of her new-found friends, their loves, lives, tribulations and family ties and her own discovery of the meaning of love.

The Wedgwood medallions owned by her uncle-in-law-to-be mesmerize her and many others in the family. Her fiancée’s sister has already married into the family and has been given a doublet made from two of the small medallions, sometimes called cameos in today’s world. The owner of the medallions sees them as small works of art, not different from many Wedgwood collectors even today. The star of the story is named Sophie which will help clarify the following quote:

‘Come here, little Sophie,' said Mr. Watergate with a lightening of his solemnity, as he took out a large, flat jewel-case, 'and you shall see your prototype.’

She rose; her host’s side. He displayed his treasures-a double row of little Wedgwood medallions, some round, some square; and one blank space,in the puckered velvet of their bed. ‘Here were Euterpe and Terpsichore you see; Enid has them as a locket. And here is the lady tying her sandal, and her companion.’

Sophie, fascinated, leaning closer, saw, on the background of clear, definite, yet delicate blue, the tiny white figure of the Grecian Sophie and on the reverse of the medallion that of a young man, standing upright, with both arms raised to tie the fillet round his head.

‘Here, you see’, he pursued after a moment, 'is another pair; Hebe and Hermes, cup-bearer and messenger to the gods of Greece-and, subsequently, of Rome. That finishes the pairs; the rest are single.’

‘I think they are perfectly lovely....they are so complete. Aren’t they? That, little Sophie, is Art. Completion. You recognize, and yet you are startled...shall I give you that fillet-holding swain, and the lady whose sandal he is not worthy to unloose?’

Further along in the story we hear a commentary by one of his sons:

“Yes; those Wedgwood plaques, for instance-father admires them, of course; but half the excitement about them is because he inherited them from his father, with a lot of the Hepplewhite and Chippendale and William-and-Mary furniture. It’s not so much as works of art that he worships them as because they are heirlooms, and symbols of his solid position in society- honest back-bone of England, patron of the arts, father of a family, and so on”

There is more symbolism, but I’ll let each reader come to his or her own conclusion. Don’t expect a rousing adventure story here, if it were made into a movie, it would definitely be called a “chick flick”!

This book can presently be found in a few libraries around the country, to wit: Chicago Univ., Northwestern, Miami U, Ohio, Cincinnati Pub Library, Milwaukee Co. Library Sys., Western Mich U., Ohio State, UAB Sterne Library, Birmingham, U Michigan, Minneapolis Pub Lib, Atlanta Pub Lib, Cleveland State U Lib, Cleveland Pub Lib, Texas A & M, Smith, Cal State, Duke U, Los Angeles Public Library, Whittier College, CA.

It’s a small compact volume, of course bound in a slate blue color. Enjoy!

UK Sentinel 20 May 2009

Just a little bit of local news. In this issue of The UK Sentinel, our favorite Staffordshire newspaper, we find a great advertising scheme on the part of the paper and the new Wedgwood Museum. Check out how we could have spent our Wednesday if we lived near Stoke on Trent!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Those of you who have read my enewsletters for a long time know that when I have a hankering to clean off my desk, or organize my office, there is always going to be lots of Wedgwood information flowing! I tend to get busy and stack up things I want to share. Really, no harm is done by this, EXCEPT that when I finally get to the information it's often stale. But, great print articles about and photos of Wedgwood are never really stale in the opinion of some of us who hang on every Wedgwood shred. Back issues of magazines may not be worth the cost to buy, but if you archive your magazines, or like to find them in antiques malls or on-line, you might like to check to make sure we didn't see something you accidentally missed! We try to evaluate the issues and if we think it IS worth buying, we will say so. So let's see what today's "stack elimination exercise" produced! Maybe the BLOG will help keep the stack-building to a minimum since I can quickly write about a magazine article, happening, book, etc. right away before it gets stale!
Martha Stewart Living for December 2008 - Page 54 - gorgeous photo of two plates of different patterns beautifully blended - Queen's Shape under an antique laurel leaf pattern...much like Ceres.

Page 68 sports more similar patterns and page 72 shows off two very old Queen's Ware patterns with great recipes! The piece de resistance however, is page 98, an article entitled Cameo Appearances, where you can learn to make decorations for a cake or your tree in the Wedgwood jasper image. THIS issue would be worth the trouble to get for all you gals who love to do Martha Stewart activities for the holidays and have a passion for Wedgwood. Page 168 isn't to be missed either, with its great photos of a selection of green glazeware, a 6 page article full of photos. Many people mis-describe green glazeware as majolica, but according to the experts it's not, it's a class of its own. Whatever we call it, it's beautiful and still popular and in vogue today!

Martha Stewart Living for May 2008 - This issue which stresses color and its effect on our lives also sports a great article about tea pots (in many colors of course), to include a great photo of two Wedgwood examples, one of which we have in stock currently in two different colors.

The Magazine Antiques for December, 2008 - One of Leo Kaplan's elegant and colorful half page ads showing a pair of vases with Lady Templeton sprigging. The Kaplan ads in TMA are frequently Wedgwood items, but always gorgeous ads!

Bonham Auction House magazine Ceramics & Glass for Winter/Spring 2008 illustrates a Wedgwood portrait medallion of Captain Cook from the Lord Hirst Collection, sold on 6 Jun 2007 for 7,440 GBPs and an encaustic painted plaque, c1770, also from the Hirst Collection for a whopping 31,200 GBPs....a lot of money in any currency!

The Magazine Antiques for February, 2008 - Beautiful coverful of blue & white plates and article about American china manufacturer Bonnin & Morris. Also illustrated is my favorite black & white jasper engine-turned covered vase, in the holdings of the UBS Art Gallery, New York City. There is also a good amount of information and plenty of pix about Massachusetts samplers and a gorgeously illustrated article about one of my all-time favorite cities, Key West.

The American Heritage Society's AMERICANA Magazine is always full of interesting articles on a multitude of antiques subjects. The March 1977 issue brings news of the restoration of Gadsby's Tavern in Washington, DC, the site of a Wedgwood exhibition in 2002. Many of our Wedgwood fans in the DC area still enjoy this venue. An excellent catalog from the exhibition was prepared but is not longer available unless one were to be found through a used book dealer or such
. The Gadsby's Houdin bust of Washington by Wedgwood is pictured in the article which has other pictures of the Tavern. There is a very interesting and timely article on collecting prints of Abraham Lincoln, an article about the still interesting town of New Harmony, IN, spongeware, antique roses, harpischords, maple sugaring and several other interesting subjects.


May 19 - While doing research for an appraisal, I came upon an article inserted into an old Staffordshire pottery book which at one time belonged to Elizabeth Chellis & Elizabeth was well-known for her notes and addenda!. It's a short poem entitled "Stafford Canal":

Where lichened locks all dripping cool
So deeply store their limpid pool,
Gay-painted barges dream & drowse
In soft shadows of haymows.
And by the inn with open door
Old bargemen speak of water lores,
Crews or cargoes, miles per day,
Copper bars, and bales of hay.
While off in distant growing gloom
I see dark massive Wrekin [large hill in Shropshire] loom
Low lightning-lit in Shropshire sky,
An anchored cloud as night flows by. R. N. T.

Wonder if this is how Josiah I thought about the Canal~~it certainly caught Elizabeth's sharp eye.

May 19 - another article, dated 4 Feb 1947, from Elizabeth's book and so timely even today: "Hensley [sic] Wedgwood...arrived in this country on a business trip. He was interviewed by a group of ...writers about the manufacture & sale of Wedgwood. One interviewer noticed that in his lapel he wore a tiny pin on which was the letter "E". When asked if this was a British award, he answered, 'It's there to remind people about the correct spelling of my name - that there's only one "E" in Wedgwood.'" Hensleigh is no doubt spinning in his grave.....


Below is our running blog from our website that we have transferred here to Blogspot. We'll be putting short references to our BLOG on the website so if you are at our site and want to read further, you can just click the hotlinks there to come here! It should make it all easier to use - we welcome your comments!
May 9 - Our good friends & Wedgwood experts, leaders of the Wedgwood Society of Washington DC, Al & Adele Barnett have recently returned from a trip up to Toronto to see the Royal Ontario Museum's 250th Anniversary Exhibition.

They also paid a visit to the Corning Museum of Glass in New York and of course came away enthralled with the glass Portland Vase held there. The photo shows side by side a Wedgwood Jasper Portland Vase & the cameo glass version.

The big black plaque by which Al & Adele stand is the VERY famous black basalt plaque made for Beeshy's Department Store.

Peter Kaellgren, Ph.D., Curator of Decorative Arts at the Royal Ontario Museum, treated Al & Adele to a great day of visiting and viewing at the ROM. Thanks to A & A for sharing their adventures with us!

May 7 - Somehow we didn't get the video of the balloon ceremony and interview with Lord Wedgwood at Barlaston on May Day, but thanks to Adele Barnett of WSWDC, we have it now!
GO HERE to see the short video about the celebration of the Wedgwood Company's 250th birthday at the factory.

May 6, 2009 The Wedgwood Museum has reached the SHORT LIST of 4 MUSEUMS vying for the large monetary award and recognition should it win the ART FUND PRIZE. Please GO HERE and click Comments at the top to vote. The vote will be announced June 18th. Public opinion is one facet of the vote, there is also a panel of judges, so we need to make our opinion count!

May 1, 2009 - Today is the day! Wedgwood & Sons is 250 years old today. Take out your best Wedgwood teacup and drink a toast to Josiah and his family and friends - great talent, great business acumen, great ideas, great service to the local area in which they found themselves and great heritage! Hail to the blue & white!

25 April - a friend just brought us the March 2 issue of Antique Week which sports a gorgeous large color photo of a Water Lily pattern dinner plate in blue & white. This is a great pattern, named with Darwin in mind of course, and this particular plate recently sold for a respectable $110 at an Ohio auction of a flow blue collector who had other, non-flow, items in her collection. Speaking of Darwin, the Royal Mint has produced a 2 pound coin to celebrate this year's anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. The coin and the packaging sport a bewhiskered Darwin face to face with a chimp...the coin celebrates the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection". Of course, we Wedgwoodians care about Darwin mostly because he married his cousin Emma Wedgwood in 1839. They had 10 children and lived at Down House in Kent. He is buried in Westminster Abby. The coin and its brochure make a nice addition to a Wedgwood "ephemera" collection.

May/June 2009 issue of Victoria Magazine - one cover story is about Wedgwood, nice photos but watch out for some inaccuracies in the text, not particularly well written. There are also colorful articles about blue & white china, bridal gowns, floral china & white linens too!

24 April 2009 - after a busy 11 day trip to Washington DC and southern Virginia we're back and anticipating the college graduation season - be sure to check for the ideal gift for your graduate.

Additionally, we have learned of a new book which would probably interest many Wedgwood scholars, that being a volume about Joseph Priestley called "The Invention of Air" by Steven Johnson, published by Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. New York, 2008, It has been highly recommended to us by a UK scholar.

1 April 2009 - no April Fool's joke! Thanks to the Wedgwood Society of Washington DC (see our links for more info) here is a link to a paper we don't monitor -check it out here. It appears from commentary we have seen that many people are very concerned about Indonesian production of English bone china! In the USA Wedgwood will have to be marked with the real country of origin by law, no scraping by with bogus or incomplete backstamps! BE SURE TO READ BELOW AND GO VOTE FOR THE WEDGWOOD MUSEUM IN THE ART FUND COMPETITION - VOTING IS STILL IN PROGRESS!!!

From today's Kovels Komments, an on-line newsletter, comes this over-simplified and pithy comment: "Waterford Wedgwood Assets Sold Most Waterford Wedgwood assets have been bought out of receivership by KPS Capital Partners of New York. They are not buying the Irish production facilities, so jobs will be lost. Some manufacturing will be transferred to Indonesia, Germany, and Slovakia. But this does mean production of the famous brands will continue. And higher-end Wedgwood products will still be made in England." Wonder what the definition here of "higher-end" might be? This is definitely a short version of a much more complicated situation!

26 March 2009: Thanks to Adele Barnett I was reminded I haven't been checking the internet for the latest Wedgwood news! GO HERE to read today's update on the sale of Waterford Wedgwood right from the UK newspaper.

1 March 2009: JUST IN, the March issue of 'The Magazine ANTIQUES' arrived on our doorstep yesterday. The cover sports the W word, and inside we find a great article by Birmingham Museum of Arts Curator and Wedgwood fan, Anne Forschler-Tarrasch. The article is well-written and lavishly illustrated, making the issue well worth the price to non-subscribers. Articles about mid-century American studio artists, early Massachusetts furniture and two ads showing other Wedgwood items fill out the issue. It should be on news-stands soon, I believe subscribers receive theirs a bit early. ENJOY!

WEDGWOOD IN THE NEWS FOR AWARD CONSIDERATION - The BBC announces the Long List of entries for the Art Fund Prize and Wedgwood is among the contenders. The BBC article sports two external links of interest and a great photo. Go here to the article. Be sure to navigate to the Wedgwood Museum website via this article's link (or the link on our site). I have noticed that the new Wedgwood Museum is keeping its website well-updated, changing from time to time. Currently, the pictures and categories are very well executed. Thanks to Carol McLeod of Canada for this one and to Adele Barnett for an earlier announcement. Seems there is lots going on in the Wedgwood world these days, a good excuse for us all to keep in touch with one another. Cheers!

So perhaps a rest from the hustle and bustle of the bestirred Wedgwood world is in order. Check out the Jan/Feb issue of 'Tea Time Magazine' for some beautiful photos of a famous Wedgwood bone china pattern, NOT made in Indonesia! Also to be found are some pictures of presentations of food and dishes, AND scrumptious recipes for tea parties. 'The Magazine ANTIQUES' for January, 2009, has a great article featuring the Birmingham Museum of Art and the 19th century mantel which is now in the Museum's collection. And don't forget the Buten Collection has joined the Birmingham Museum's other extensive Wedgwood holdings to become the largest repository of Wedgwood in the USA! For my genealogy pals, be sure to see the article on the famous painting 'The Baptism of Pocahontas'; it is a well-written, well-illustrated and interesting article.

Check out our Website LINKS for the website of Wedgwood 250th Anniversary Celebration and a January Wedgwood press release on the same subject. Let's hope that the miserable economic state of Wedgwood and the world in general doesn't spoil our plans for a fun and interesting celebration of the 250th anniversary of Josiah Wedgwood & Sons! Stay tuned to our website links and blog for the latest information!

Welcome to our new BLOG site

Welcome to our new Wedgwood blog. We have moved our blog from the New and Featured Items section of our website so that the blog won't interrupt our readers' ability to read about our products. We'll be posting news and views pertinent to the world of Wedgwood here. You might find news from England, news from Wedgwood USA, perhaps information from the worldwide Wedgwood societies, and often literary contributions from our vast Wedgwood and English Ceramics library. We monitor the UK newspapers for news of the current financial situation with Wedgwood and many other interesting sites. Please feel free to comment, and tell us what YOU want to read, ask questions or just stay in touch!