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Pearlware jug - 1780

Wedgwood earthenware with pearl glaze jug decorated with exotic birds and flowers., © Wedgwood Museum
    Wedgwood earthenware with pearl glaze jug decorated with exotic birds and flowers.
    © Wedgwood Museum

This jug is made from earthenware with a pearl glaze. It has been hand-painted with exotic birds on one side and on the reverse with 'Deutsche Blumen' style flowers in naturalistic enamel colours.

This jug is made from earthenware with a pearl glaze. It has been hand-painted with exotic birds on one side and on the reverse with 'Deutsche Blumen' style flowers in naturalistic enamel colours. The development of pearlware by Josiah Wedgwood was in response to his concern that the popularity of Queen's ware would reduce its cachet, and therefore would eventually be seen as vulgar and common.

  • Type of object: Useful ware/jug
  • Mark: WEDGWOOD
    o
    [Impressed on base]
    J.M.
    [Hand-enamelled inscription beneath the spout]
  • Year produced: 1780
  • Body: pearlware
  • Glaze: pearl
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: hand-enamelled
  • Accession number: 10131
  • Dimensions: 220 mm (height), 196 mm (width, handle to spout)

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Glossary

  • Pearlware

    Pearlware

     

    Essentially an earthenware body, which has had extra flint added to the initial clay-mix and cobalt to the glaze, to enhance the overall blue-white appearance of the ware. Initially perfected by Josiah Wedgwood I in around 1779, this ceramic ware was basically developed to meet the competition of imported blue-decorated Chinese porcelain. Production of this particular ceramic body continued until 1940.

    The development of pearlware by Josiah Wedgwood was a response to his fear that Queen's ware had become so popular that it was losing it's cachet amongst his clientele. For example on the 6th August 1779 Josiah wrote to Thomas Bentley "I should not hesitate a moment in prefering the creamware if I consulted my own taste and sentiments but you know what Lady Dartmouth told us , that she & her friends were tired of creamcolour & so they would of Angels if they were shown for sale in every chandlers shop throughout the time."