Saturday, February 21, 2009

More About Wedgwood, Part VIII, Author Unknown

While less remarkable than the basalt or the jasper, the variegated ware manufactured by Wedgwood & Bentley is not without interest for the collector. Agate effects were produced by differentcolored clays, and cream-colored earthenware was colored on the surface and glazed to represent porphyry, granite, Egyptian pebble, etc.

A number of vases and bulb and flower-pots were made in these effects and in terra-cotta, likewise a few lamps and candelabra. A white porcelain biscuit, with smooth and wax-like surface, was also made, but only a few pieces of it are in existence. Some enameled ware was also turned out, but this is neither as distinctive nor as beautiful as the painted basalt.

The subject of cameos, medallions, etc., deserves a paragraph to itself. Some of Wedgwood's most decorative and most minutely perfect work was done in this class of pottery.

At first these were in cream colored relief, with the ground stained. Then medallions, miniature portraits, intaglios, medals, etc., were made in black basalt. A few of these were flat, with a Classic figure painted in encaustic, but most of them were in black bas-relief.

The invention of the jasper body enabled Wedgwood to produce white cameo reliefs on a colored ground in beautiful combinations. The relief was molded separately and so carefully applied that these cameos are often flawless under a magnify inb glass. Classic figures were used, and also portraits of royalties and other personages. There were several classes of these portrait cameos, some in basalt and others in jasper-chiefly blue and white. Medallion portraits were often set in silver and ranged from ring size to three inches in diameter. The commonest size was 2 x 1 1/4 inches, in oval form. The Classic medallions were also made in small sizes for jewels, and in larger sizes for framing or for mounting on furniture or mantels. Plaques were made for this purpose in sizes ranging from 9 x 6 inches to 27 1/2, x 81/2 inches.

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See our variety of Wedgwood Jewelry available at our Mall Store at:

Pictured above is a sample of the Wedgwood "Egyptian Jewelry" produced to commemorate the King Tut Tour of the United States in 1976.


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