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Wedgwood Auctions and Collections are Alive and Well

 Wedgwood Caneware Canopic Jar and Cover

Wedgwood Caneware Canopic Jar and Cover, England, early 19th century, Auctioned for $10,073 in the January 7, 2011 Fine Ceramics auction

Wedgwood comes in a variety of designs, colors, and bodies and has been produced over a span of 250 years. I have specialized in the sale of Wedgwood for a small portion of that time, “only” four decades. And for the past 22 years, I have sold more Wedgwood at auction than every other auctioneer combined. I belong to and have lectured on Wedgwood at many of the Wedgwood Societies throughout the US and the UK, as well as numerous other ceramic study groups. So I have a pretty good overview on what’s hot and what not in Wedgwood collecting.

The 18th century wares including jasperware, black basalt, caneware, rosso antico and creamware have always been the mainstay of the earlier collectors of Wedgwood wares. Many of these wares are the more expensive items preferred by more advanced collectors.  Some even draw the line at collecting the 18th century only.

Unfortunately for Wedgwood, not much happened creatively in the first half of the 19th century, but by the end of the century, Wedgwood wares got much more interesting. A new generation of collectors began to take notice in the 1980s of what I call the second half of Wedgwood’s production, post 1850.

At this time, Wedgwood introduced factory wares “out of the box” and brought on numerous freelance artists and designers with new ideas. Emile Lessore, Thomas Allen, Alfred Powell, Arnold Machin, John Skeaping, Keith Murray, Eric Ravilious and Norman Wilson are some of the big names that come to mind. Wares like majolica and fairyland lustre introduced bold colors and fanciful designs.

The newer collectors not only collect the brand name “Wedgwood” but also many of these specific artists. Wedgwood, unlike many manufactured wares, wasn’t simply produced at the factory but now had a personality attached to it that the earlier wares did not have. Collectors today use the artist in the first tense, not the Wedgwood name: “That’s a great piece of Lessore” or “I love the color of that Keith Murray vase.”

The personality of many Wedgwood collectors has changed, and although the 18th century is still much revered, it appears that much respect is now given to these “later” wares, all very competitive in the marketplace. Wedgwood has come a long way from classical figures.

41 thoughts on “Wedgwood Auctions and Collections are Alive and Well

  1. Good morning Mr. Slavid,

    I earned my BA in Art History a little over a year ago and I distinctly remember when a professor of ancient art made a comment about Wedgwood having a connection dating back to antiquity. It wasn’t pertinent to the class lecture so I didn’t inquire.

    You wrote that Wedgwood has come along way from classical figures. In my seminar I took my professor’s brief comment to mean that ancient pottery actually evolved into the Wedgwood business. However, I don’t see how a direct link to antiquity is possible.

    Or is it just that Wedgwood incorporated classical figures into their earliest designs?

    If you have a minute to write a word or two, the clarification would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much.

    Ken Hall, Providence RI

    • Basically Wedgwood incorporated classical figures in most all of it’s early designs, and continued using these figures throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in what I call their more traditional wares.

      There is no link to antiquity other than Wedgwood’s use for sources in their designs.

      Stuart

  2. I have unique (13; one broke) of porcelain plates made for my aunt in Germany before WW!. They are embossed with silver and platinum work. I would like more information as they were gifted to me in 1960. They are stamped on the back.
    Thank you.
    I also have an incredible Queensware of Wedgewood blue with White vine that I saw actually made for me at their studio outside of London in 1965.
    I have both the luncheon and the dinner set (for 12) including service platters that are very unique.

  3. HAVE A LARGE NUMBER OF PIECES OF WEDGEWOOD ETRURIA PATTERN
    CAN SEND SOME EMAIL PHOTOS FOR IDENTIFICATION
    HAVE NO IDEA OF THEIR VALUE OR COLLECTIBILITY…
    DO YOU?

  4. l have just purchased a peice of studio pottery by Norman wilson It has a glitter to the dark glaze, and the shape is like a vase with a sloping down rim it reminds me of shapes made by poole. ( IT HAS WEDGWOOD N.W. ON IT) could this be valuable…..thanks jr.

  5. l have just purchased a peice of studio pottery by Norman wilson It has a glitter to the dark glaze, and the shape is like a vase with a sloping down rim it reminds me of shapes made by poole. ( IT HAS WEDGWOOD N.W. ON IT) could this be valuable…..thanks jr.

  6. I have a Wedgewood ashtray from the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. (I actually have two, but unfortunately one is slightly damaged). My grandmother attended the coronation. Is this worth anything? Thanks for your attention to this matter.
    Carole Snow Keyes

  7. I have a Wedgewood ashtray from the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. (I actually have two, but unfortunately one is slightly damaged). My grandmother attended the coronation. Is this worth anything? Thanks for your attention to this matter.
    Carole Snow Keyes

  8. Dear Mr. Slavid,
    Thank you so much for the information and the timely response. It was greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Carole Snow Keyes

  9. Dear Mr. Slavid,
    Thank you so much for the information and the timely response. It was greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Carole Snow Keyes

  10. I have a complete set of the M.I.T 1930 Wedgwood plates in Maroon/Red. I’ve heard they are rare and wanted to sell them at auction with a couple of other Wedgwood pieces but my husband says I’m wasting my time. What do you say? 🙂

  11. I have a complete set of the M.I.T 1930 Wedgwood plates in Maroon/Red. I’ve heard they are rare and wanted to sell them at auction with a couple of other Wedgwood pieces but my husband says I’m wasting my time. What do you say? 🙂

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  14. Good Day, Mr. Slavid,

    Naive question for you: What, if any, distinguishing marks does Wedgwood have? The distinctly unique art does set it apart from other wares, but is there a specific mark or markings particular to Wedgwood?

    Thanks.
    All the best from clearly a novice,
    M

    • Thank you for your comment. A wealth of information is available online about Wedgwood marks. I also recommend the book: Encyclopedia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks by Geoffrey A. Godden, if you’re interested in learning more.

      • Thanks so very much for taking the time to steer me in the right direction. While I noticed that there are a lot of Wedgwood-devoted websites, I, being a novice (and therefore vulnerable to possibility of believing erroneous or misguided information,) thought it best to seek solid direction from an expert (that would be YOU!)
        Again, many thanks for the information I will surely put to good use. I’ve already ordered the book!

        Best to you,
        MS

  15. Good Day, Mr. Slavid,

    Naive question for you: What, if any, distinguishing marks does Wedgwood have? The distinctly unique art does set it apart from other wares, but is there a specific mark or markings particular to Wedgwood?

    Thanks.
    All the best from clearly a novice,
    M

    • Thank you for your comment. A wealth of information is available online about Wedgwood marks. I also recommend the book: Encyclopedia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks by Geoffrey A. Godden, if you’re interested in learning more.

  16. Pingback: Wedgwood and Antiquities | How ancient Greek vases inspired Wedgwood artists

  17. Pingback: Wedgwood and Antiquities | How ancient Greek vases inspired Wedgwood artists

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  20. Have one dozen gold rimmed Wedgewood demitasse coffee cups and saucers. Florentine Pattern, Have pictures but have to find someone to send them. Also matching cake plate. Can you advise me on how I should go about selling them?
    Thelma J. Henner

  21. Have one dozen gold rimmed Wedgewood demitasse coffee cups and saucers. Florentine Pattern, Have pictures but have to find someone to send them. Also matching cake plate. Can you advise me on how I should go about selling them?
    Thelma J. Henner

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