Britannia

A further, later tribute to Hackwood’s talents is the Britannia figure group. Produced under the second generation of owners, this glorious monumental piece made in jasper is seen as a shadowy representation in the February 1809 issue of Ackermann’s Repository of Arts . . . in the depiction of Wedgwood and Byerley’s showroom, which at that time was located at York Street, St. James’s Square.

The temple and the figure of Britannia were a tribute to the English naval admirals and their victories over the French in 1798. Thomas Byerley, nephew of the first Josiah and loyal servant of the second-generation Wedgwoods, wrote to Josiah Wedgwood II, “We have got together and the effects answer my expectations – The Dome, the entablature, the Columns and the Base are all to be thrown and turned – the figures Hackwood has to alter and a good deal of modelling.” In a later letter dated January 12, 1799, Byerley wrote with evident satisfaction, “Hackwood is about the Temple – it is put together and superb . . . ”

Images

Modern reproduction of Hackwood's Britannia, © Wedgwood Museum

Modern reproduction of Hackwood's Britannia
© Wedgwood Museum