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Wedgwood: How Adding Blue "Broke the Mold" for this China manufacturer

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Tue, Nov 03, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

A fish plate from Theodore Roosevelt's White House china

STATELY PORCELAIN PLATE FROM THE THEODORE ROOSEVELT WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - 1903 - DISPLAYS ELEGANT WEDGWOOD HAND-CRAFTSMANSHIP - FROM THE COLLECTION OF RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX  

When it comes to companies that manufacture luxury china, Wedgwood is certainly a household name. Yet there has been just one Presidential household that ordered Official White House China from Wedgwood – that of Teddy and Edith Roosevelt.

Rather than commissioning a custom pattern or designing one themselves, Mrs. Roosevelt reportedly picked her pattern from a group of samples -- a pattern that happened to be a Wedgwood design. Of course it became a uniquely-custom pattern when the Presidential Seal was added to the decoration.

Edith Roosevelt ordered the 1,320-piece service to correspond with a major expansion of the State Dining Room. They had hoped to “buy American,” but unfortunately at the time no U.S. manufacturer could produce the quantities or match the quality of European companies.

Wedgwood China

ORNATE SAMPLES FROM THE WEDGWOOD CHINA COLLECTION OF ENGLAND'S QUEEN CHARLOTTE - 1762

Although Wedgwood has never been a popular choice among American presidents, the company has been a favorite for centuries with British and foreign leaders, dating back to England’s Queen Charlotte. She was so taken by the cream-colored earthenware Josiah Wedgwood created for her in 1762, it became known as Queen’s Ware and he started calling himself “Potter to Her Majesty.” With her royal permission, naturally.

Every British monarch since Queen Charlotte has purchased china from Wedgwood. Beyond Britain, Russian Empress Catherine the Great ordered her own service of Queen’s Ware with hand-painted English countryside and garden scenes. More recent Russians have purchased Wedgwood for the Kremlin, at least one Pope chose the company to produce china for the Vatican and, of course, the Roosevelts ordered their 120-piece set of White House China in 1903.

Wedgwood China

THIS EXQUISITE JASPERWARE PLATE EXHIBITS THE ICONIC "WEDGWOOD BLUE" - ONE OF THE MORE POPULAR COLOR CHOICES IN WEDGWOOD CERAMICS 
But Wedgwood’s biggest claim to dinnerware fame comes from the entirely unique and highly distinctive colors of the pottery. While other manufacturers have stayed with traditional white or shades of cream as background colors – the native colors of the clay used, with the occasional minor addition such as bone – Wedgwood ceramics come in colors. “Wedgwood blue” is the most famous.

Josiah Wedgwood wasn’t simply a talented potter, he was an artist who dedicated his life to innovation in functional and decorative ceramics. His original Queen’s Ware is still produced today. In 1768, he introduced Black Basalt, another ceramic body that is still well-known, and in 1774, he unveiled Jasperware, considered the company’s most iconic product.

He loved to experiment with colorizing ingredients, creating unglazed vitreous fine stoneware (not porcelain) in black, white, green, yellow, lilac and the signature shade of light blue that bears his name. Frequently his ceramics combined several colors. He used these colors as a base, over which he applied raised patterns in white.

Wedgwood China

ENGLISH AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR, BEATRIX POTTER, BROUGHT HER BELOVED PETER RABBIT TO LIFE IN THIS UNIQUE WEDGWOOD CHINA COLLECTION.

Throughout its 250-year history, the company has worked with numerous famous artists-of-the-day to create exquisite specialty designs. Wedgwood even partnered with Beatrix Potter, using her much-loved watercolors on their Peter Rabbit collection.

To this day, the company maintains its tradition of hand-craftsmanship. Although modern technology is used in the manufacturing process, an extensive apprenticeship program ensures the ages-old skills of throwing, modelling and decorating are kept alive and brought to live in their collections. Some of Wedgwood’s apprentices must work 10 years before they can be called Master Craftsmen.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House china. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China as well as Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

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