A vessel used in the making of gelatinous desserts. The Wedgwood factory produced functional or useful jelly and blancmange moulds, and ornamental moulds for decorative table ‘devices’. Such jelly moulds were produced in Queen’s ware and pearlware, and were made in two parts; a hollow mould to be filled with the non-edible jelly, or coloured gelatine, and a decorated inner ‘core’, which was also hollow, which was inserted into the outer mould until the jelly was set. The outer mould was then removed, leaving the decorative painting on the inner ‘core’ visible through the jelly.
These decorated moulds were purely for table decoration, and Parson Woodforde having dined with the local squire on 28 March 1782 noted in his diary – ‘…a very pretty pyramid of Jelly in the Centre [of the table], a Landscape appearing thro’ the Jelly, a new device and brought from London.’ Thomas (Tom) Byerley mentioned an order for a ‘jelly pyramid’ in March 1788, and orders for these table ‘devices’ were still being accepted by the factory as late as 1802. Certain ornamental jelly mould shapes with decorative motifs are also featured in the so-called 1802 Shape/Drawing Book.
Ornamental jelly mould shapes included a wedge form, a tall cone and a pyramid. The hand-enamelled decoration was usually floral – although rare scenic views are also known.
Wedgwood made jelly moulds in the form that we know them today as well as decorative examples such as this, which were made to decorate fashionable dining tables in the 18th century. Made in two pieces, jelly would be poured into the outer part of the mould with the decorated inner core then positioned inside. When set, and the outer part removed, a thin layer would cover the hand-painted scene creating a centre-piece which would shimmer in the candlelight of the dining room.