• A business is after all a business and Josiah I was a great entrepreneur. Find out about how Wedgwood both made and exploited the market.

Made to sell

  • by the Wedgwood Museum team

Shape 225 - Lunar coffeepot

Theme

In 1984 the Wedgwood Company celebrated 225 years of continuous trade. Josiah Wedgwood I FRS founded the Company on May Day 1759, at the Ivy House Works, Burslem, Staffordshire. To commemorate this historic event the Wedgwood company evolved a totally new and innovative range of forms that became known as ‘Shape 225’.

Sir Arthur Bryan in a foreword for ‘Design For Today’ said – ‘Design has always been a fundamental part of Wedgwood business, and over 225 years of continuous trading our products are, of course, bound to be considered from time-to-time as ‘traditional’ – as is the Monarchy.’ Later in his foreword Sir Arthur outlined how the company had continued to evolve and advance its wares and designs, culminating in the fact that   ‘…one of the latest developments is a computer-aided design which has led to a new decorative treatment…an exciting prospect for the future.’

The ‘…exciting prospect’ was the ‘…finely contoured and flowing line of Shape 225 in fine bone china and complemented by Black Basalt’, which was ‘…the creation of Jerome Gould of the international design studio, Gould and Associates.’. Robert Minkin of Wedgwood’s design studio headed a highly qualified and experienced team of designers and craftsmen who all worked in collaboration with ceramic technologists to bring to life Gould’s concept.

Contemporary advertising material described how – ‘To give Shape 225 its fresh modern appeal we have dramatically blended white fine bone china with glazed and matt Black Basalt. The effect is outstanding.’ This range was sold under the name ‘Lunar’ while the white bone china was also sold on its own under the name ‘Solar’.

Shape 225’s bone china pieces also received a number of surface patterns and decorations. These included such designs as ‘Serenity’ - decorated with a flowing design of golden wheat; ‘Nectar’ which featured a design of delicate violet-colour floral motifs set against the white background of the bone china body; and, ‘Clouds’ – described in contemporary advertising as – ‘A strikingly modern design of soft, blue clouds on white fine bone china.’.

The shopping and design editor of ‘The Times’, Beryl Downing, on being given a preview of the development of the new shapes and patterns which were to appear under the banner of ‘Shape 225’ reported that – ‘When a product works well and looks good, there is the basis of good design.’ Her report went on to say – ‘The new tableware shape introduced during the 225th anniversary of the company this year certainly is a tribute both to Robert Minkin’s eye and to Wedgwood’s commitment to modern design.’ She went on to say that – ‘The result is the most striking and exciting new look for quality tableware that has appeared in many years.’

Catalogue

In 1984, to celebrate the 225th anniversary of continuous trading, Wedgwood launched a new and innovative range of forms that became known as ‘Shape 225’. Available in both white bone china and black basalt, which Josiah I had perfected in 1768, this range responded to the elegance of past products while taking Wedgwood design into the future.