|Antique Wedgwood is not only a delight to look at, but if you enjoy collecting high quality functional ceramics for your home, then you are going to love collecting antique Wedgwood. From the renowned tableware and the cream-colored earthenware or Queen's ware of the 1760's to the current designer series of the 21st century, there is something for every collector. If you are new to the world of collecting Wedgwood, I think you will be surprised at the extensive variety of useful as well as decorative collectible Wedgwood pieces that have been produced.
It was Josiah Wedgwood, the thirteenth child of an impoverished potter, who, two hundred fifty years ago, perfected the fabulous blue ceramic stoneware or jasperware decorated with white relief that antique Wedgwood pottery is most known for today. It is apparent that Josiah Wedgwood was very intent on fully marking his wares, since virtually all of the true Wedgwood products bear the Wedgwood trade name making it easy for identification. Although Wedgwood pottery became the ceramic market leader in the early 19th century, in 1812 a new Wedgwood line of bone china was introduced, and except for a fifty year break in production during the mid 1800's, Wedgwood bone china has continued to be successfully produced to the present day. Other antique Wedgwood wares introduced during this time include Carrara ware, creamware, inlaid ware, Rockingham ware, and majolica ware.
When John Goodwin became art director of Wedgwood in 1904, he replaced the Victorian inspired art wares, such as the antique Wedgwood Queen's ware, with more conventional patterns and adapted many of Wedgwood's original shapes to better accommodate the 20th century demands. The development of a middle-range tableware in 1934 allowed Wedgwood to survive the disastrous effects of the Depression. Many of these Wedgwood pieces include functional, glazed wares. The figure of "Taurus" with the "Zodiac" pattern was produced at this time and is still in production today. Also at this time, bass relief portraits of Churchill and Roosevelt were incorporated into designs for patriotic mugs and can be found on several of the collectible Wedgwood pieces.
In 1967, Wedgwood became a public company. Designs of this era included the striking limited edition set of silk-screen bone china plates, as well as the Wedgwood "Egyptian Collection" and "Geometric" theme. Although striking and enjoyed by many, antique Wedgwood pieces of this era carry little if any value for the collector. In 1986, Wedgwood was taken over by Waterford Glass and was renamed "Waterford Wedgwood."