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Josiah Wedgewood and the Birth of English Pottery

 

The elegance of the breakfast set forced itself on Catherine’s notice when they were seated at table; and, luckily, it had been the general’s choice. He was enchanted by her approbation of his taste, confessed it to be neat and simple, thought it right to encourage the manufacture of his country; and for his part, to his uncritical palate, the tea was as well flavoured from the clay of Staffordshire, as from that of Dresden or Sêvre. But this was quite an old set, purchased two years ago. The manufacture was much improved since that time; he had seen some beautiful specimens when last in town, and had he not been perfectly without vanity of that kind, might have been tempted to order a new set. He trusted, however, that an opportunity might ere long occur of selecting one — though not for himself. Catherine was probably the only one of the party who did not understand him.
Northanger Abbey

It is often remarked that Jane Austen made no reference to current events in her work; and yet, it seems that the quote above must refer to the many improvements in English pottery introduced by Josiah Wedgwood and his descendants. Let us examine the many advances Josiah Wedgwood (1730-95) brought to English pottery in Staffordshire.


Wedgwood introduced a superior inexpensive clear-glazed creamware pottery in 1764. The excellence of his product soon attracted a wide market for Wedgwood pottery. When George III’s

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