• Well I never! Find out about some of the more unusual treasures in the Wedgwood Museum’s collections.

Fascinating Objects

  • by the Wedgwood Museum team

Battle of Alma profiling tool

Theme

Many processes are involved in the production of pottery, and often during these processes potters’ tools are used to produce specific shapes or profiles.  As each craftsperson has a unique way of working often a potter would evolve his own, specially crafted, ceramic profile.

The Wedgwood Museum is fortunate in having an excellent collection of craftsmen’s tools which had, in the past, been used in many production processes - some of the equipment is anonymous – that is to say the items do not have any identifying marks whatsoever. On occasion an individual potter may have elected to ‘identify’ his own equipment by personalising it with his initials, or even his name. It must be emphasised that production processes such as jolleying, throwing and mould-making, to name but a few, were male-dominated occupations.

Occasionally potter’s tools were further personalised by the addition of an inscription that had some significance in the life of the individual concerned. One potter’s profile in the collection is made of a coarse earthenware body which, before being fired to harden it to make it suitable for use, had been inscribed with the legend – ‘The Battle of Alma fought By the Allied Powers September 1854.’ The potter also elected to inscribe his own name on the profile – he was Robert Dobson. The battle of Alma took place on September 20 1854, and is usually considered to be the first battle of the Crimean War. This profile is quite substantial and must have been used for refining the base of a large platter or something similar.

Catalogue

Many processes are involved in the production of pottery, and often during these processes potters’ tools are used to produce specific forms or ‘profiles’. As each potter has a unique way of working often a potter would evolve his own, especially crafted, ceramic profile. One potter’s profile in the collection bears the legend - ‘The Battle of Alma fought By the Allied Powers September 1854.’ The potter also inscribed his own name - Robert Dobson.