Portrait medallion of Lord Buckingham - George Grenville - no date
George Grenville, First Marquess of Buckingham
A solid blue jasper portrait medallion with a white relief of George Grenville, first Marquess of Buckingham. He assumed the name of George Nugent-Temple Grenville in 1779, when he succeeded as the second Earl Temple, having married in 1775 Mary Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Robert Nugent, Viscount Clare. George Grenville was a high profile 18th century statesman and politician during the reign of George III. He was also the son of George Grenville, Prime Minister of Great Britain. He lived from 1753 to 1813 and during his time he was appointed Teller of the Exchequer, became an MP for Buckinghamshire, achieved the title of Earl Temple, moved to the House of Lords, became Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, was placed on the Privy Council, became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, created the order of St Patrick with himself as Grand Master and was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He was a fierce critic of Lord North's American policy and Fox's East India bill at different points in his career and spoke out in favour of the 1801 Act of Union between Britain and Ireland. Grenville was a highly influential figure throughout his life time and and is shown on the medallion to commemorate his achievement and actions during his time at the heart of the government. The medallion itself is purposed to serve as decorative piece that recognises a political figure of the time or recent past.
- Type of object: Plaques and medallions/portrait medallion
- Mark: WEDGWOOD
MARQUIS. OF BUCKINGHAM
[IMP on obverse]
- Year produced: no date
- Body: Jasper
- Material: ceramic
- Decoration: ornamented
- Accession number: 5075
- Dimensions: 90 mm (height of Lord's medallion), 72 mm (width of Lord's medallion), 15 mm (depth of Lord's medallion)
George Grenville (1712 - 1770)
Born in Westminster, London in 1712, George Grenville was a British Whig statesman being MP for Buckingham. He held numerous posts including Treasurer to the Navy, Leader of the House of Commons and First Lord of the Admiralty prior to becoming Prime Minister in 1763. His premiership is best known for the Stamp Act - an exclusive tax on the American colonies. This was later repealed in the wake of massive opposition. He was subsequently sacked by King George III in 1765. He was Leader of the Opposition until his death in 1770
A fine-grained stoneware body developed by Josiah Wedgwood I in the mid 1770s, and the ceramic ware most associated with the name. The most famous colour combination known today is the traditional blue and white, which is usually decorated with classical bas reliefs.
With changes in architectural styles and the rise in popularity of neo-classical styles of interior decoration Josiah Wedgwood began a series of experiments to create a new ceramic material that would complement the new fashions. Thousands of meticulously recorded experiments were carried out to make a stoneware body that was capable of taking a mineral oxide stain throughout. The search for the jasper body absorbed much of Wedgwood's energy and time, the result being his most important contribution to ceramic history.
The majority of the actual trials were carried out between December 1772 and December 1774, Josiah writing on the 17 March of the latter year: ‘have for some time past been reviewing my experiments, & I find such Roots, such Seeds as would open & branch out wonderfully if I could nail myself down to the cultivation of them for a year or two'.
By January 1775 he was ‘absolute' in the production of jasper with coloured grounds. He was also in a position to advertise that he could manufacture bas reliefs, ranging from large plaques to small cameos for mounting as jewellery. The range of colours steadily increased, and by March 1776 Josiah was sending his first specimens of yellow to London. By September experiments were in hand for black jasper. Certainly by Spring of 1777 he was carrying out further experiments to perfect a surface ‘dip' to provide deeper coloured grounds for his cameos; and by the middle of December 1777, he was able to offer Bentley a choice of ‘Green - yellow - lalock [lilac] etc. to the colour of the rooms', referring to the tones favoured by their mutual acquaintance the architect Robert Adam.