• Since Josiah I’s earliest fascination with nature, the natural world has proved to be a source of constant inspiration for the craftspeople and designers of Josiah Wedgwood & Sons.

Wedgwood and Nature

  • by the Wedgwood Museum team

Fish vase by Elwyn James


One of the most unusual studio pots ever produced at the Wedgwood factory was crafted by the hands of the talented and popular ceramic artist, Elwyn James. Elwyn always had an eye for the unusual, and here his observations of fish studies have been meticulously hand-carved into unfired bone china while it was still cheese-hard. Elwyn took great delight in following factory traditions of working with experimental glazes - and here these have been used to great advantage creating a life-like sheen to the scales of each individual marine subject.

James developed many new and unusual shapes and glazes and delighted in working in the notoriously-difficult bone china body. As well as his studio work Elwyn travelled as a craftsman-ambassador to many overseas Wedgwood retail outlets throughout Canada, Australia and the United States, but his untimely death in November 1979 ended a promising career that still had much to offer. This dramatic fish vase, although produced as a studio pot, was sold in limited quantities in the 1970s.


The Wedgwood factory has had a long tradition in utilising the services of studio potters. This exquisite hand crafted fish-vase ‘study’ was the work of talented potter and master craftsman Elwyn James who was talent-spotted whilst still a student at Wrexham Art College by Chairman and Managing Director of the Wedgwood company, Sir Arthur Bryan. The fish vase epitomises every potter’s skill from working in bone china, through to the eye-catching use of experimental glazes.