• Find out how the First World War had an impact on Wedgwood, both as a company and as a family.

Wedgwood and the First World War

  • by Jordan Muncaster

Hand-painted peace plaque depicting Britain

Theme

Following peace in 1919, Wedgwood produced a number of commemorative pottery, including plaques and medallions. 250 limited-edition sets of Queen's ware plaques were produced to celebrate peace at the end of the war, and were sold in Soane & Smith of Oxford Street, London. 

 

Jasper peace medallions were given to all the soldiers employed by Wedgwood who returned at the end of the First World War. Medallions were also given to the families of any soldiers who previously worked for Wedgwood who died as a result of the war. The medallion depicts the figures of France shaking the hand of Minerva before an alter, upon which the figure of faith stands. It reads "JUSTICE AND LIBERTY 1914-1919" across the bottom. The medallion's design is an adaptation of a previous design based on suggestions from Josiah II in 1789.

 

The Jasper medallion was originally handed out by Frank Wedgwood in 1919 at a special homecoming dinner to commemorate not only the returning soldiers, but also the ones who had fallen on the battlefield. As a tribute to Cecil Wedgwood, the first Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent who died at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, the medallions are to be re-created as a limited-edition piece to commemorate Cecil and the 167 Wedgwood workers who also went to war.

 

During the war, Wedgwood still continued to produce new ranges, and after the war, Fairyland Lustre was introduced which indicated the need for colour to help escape the horrors of war.

 

Catalogue

Hand-painted plaques depicting France, Britain and Bellona, goddess of war. Made exclusively for Soane and Smith Limited of London to mark the end of the 1914-18 war. Earthenware. 1919