Ware - Etruscan or "Encaustic" Ware - Jasper Ware - Wedgwood Contest with the Duke of
Portland and How it Ended - The Beautiful Barbarini Vase - Wedgwood's Marks
In the last article (page 2505, Vol. 4) were described some of the wares made by Josiah Wedgwood in his early days. the most noted being his "Queen's Ware," so called after Queen Charlotte had expressed her admiration for it, and had appointed Wedgwood "Potter to the Queen." This ware attracted great attention upon the Continent, where it became the rage.
A glaciere of the famous Imperial Russian service ordered from Josiah Wedgwood by Catherine II. of Russia in 1770. It was completed in 1774, and consisted of 952 pieces of his celebrated cream ware, on which were painted no fewer than 1,282 views of British scenery. Above is a view of Milton Abbey, Dorsetshire By permission of Josiah Wedgwood & Sons
The Empress Catherine II. of Russia had shown herself to be a generous patron of the ceramic art, and had lavished orders upon the factories of Dresden and Sevres. This coming to the knowledge of Wedgwood and his partner, Bentley, they applied to Lord Cathcart to assist in bringing their wares to the notice of her Majesty. Services were supplied to Lord Cath-cart and other English representatives in St. Petersburg, and these soon attracted the attention of the Empress. In 1770 she asked Mr. Baxter, the British Consul, to procure for her dinner and other services. Her nobles also vied with each other in sending orders to Wedgwood.
In 1773 Lord Cathcart was commissioned to open negotiations with Wedgwood and Bentley for the manufacture of a vast cream ware service for every purpose of the table, on which should be enamelled views of British scenery, for use at the "Grenouil-liere"-now part of the great Tsarskoe Selo palace near St. Petersburg. In addition to the quaintly worded order, instructions were given that upon each piece a naked child and a frog should be painted. The child was subsequently omitted, but a frog painted in green upon a shield appeared at the back or in the decoration of each article.
A Famous Table Service
In a letter to Bentley, written by Wedgwood, and dated March 23, 1773, he says : " I have no idea of this service being got up in less than two or three years, if the land-skips and buildings are to be tolerably done, so as to do any credit to us, nor of its being afforded for less than £1,000, or £1,500. Why, all the gardens in England will scarcely furnish subjects sufficient for this sett, every piece having a different subject."
Later on Wedgwood wrote to Bentley suggesting that it would cost £2,000, and he considered that Mr. Baxter should be approached about this, and be asked "what expense he thinks it would be prudent to lay upon the service," adding that "it might run almost into any sum." In another letter the question is raised as to whether printing and painting should both be used.
An oval dish belonging to the Imperial Russian service made by Wedgwood On each piece was painted a shield with a green frog, symbolic of La
Crenouilliere Palace, for which the service was ordered
By permission of Josiah Wedgwood & Sons
And Wedgwood pointed out to his partner that if this were done each piece would have first to be sent to Liverpool to be printed, then to Chelsea to have its border painted, before it came into the hands of the artist who was to paint the view upon it. An interview took place between Bentley and Mr. Baxter, when the Consul gave it as his opinion that the service might be completed for a sum of £400 or £500. To this Wedgwood replied : " Which, indeed, it may; but not fit for an Empress's table, or to do us any credit at double that sum."
All through Wedgwood was exercised in his mind as to the price to be paid for this service. He was also not a little troubled by the fear that he might offend some possible noble patron whose home he-might be unable to portray.
In the Mayer Mss. it is asserted that the service was "ordinary cream colour, toned with a delicate sulphur." Twenty-eight enamellers were constantly employed, of whom seven were female hands receiving 12s. or 10s. weekly; men from £1 us. 6d. to 10s. weekly; and about twenty-one male artists. Bakewell and Unwin painted landscapes. George Barret, the landscape painter, painted Lord Buckingham's house. Cooper painted frogs at twopence-halfpenny and threepence each. Linley painted fruit and flower baskets, and Glover the tea ware of the service.
A magnificent piece of Wedgwood's jasper ware.