Initial Ornamental Ware work

By 1771 Wedgwood – with much trepidation – permitted Hackwood to undertake the modelling of a portrait medallion of Master Crewe, son of the redoubtable and highly fashionable beauty, Frances Anne Crewe (c. 1740-1818). In a letter to Bentley, Wedgwood noted that “… Hackwood has been three times at Crew, by Mrs Crew’s particular desire to model the head of her son and heir . . . .”

One of the earliest contributions by Hackwood to the ornamental work of the factory is of some significance. The griffin candlestick, after a design by Sir William Chambers (1723-1796), was first produced in black basalt in about late 1771 or early 1772. A letter written by Wedgwood to Bentley not only supports the attribution of the design to Chambers, but also makes clear Hackwood’s involvement in the production of this imposing piece:

“The Griffin Candlestick is alter’d sure enough, for Hackwood was oblig’d to new model it. I hope all the world will not have Mr Chamber’s Eyes.”

The quality of Hackwood’s work is often touched upon in Wedgwood’s copious correspondence. In a letter of February 1773, Josiah noted that Hackwood had been “. . . [making] stampes from many of the best small heads – his work at these things is excellent.” Just over a year later, in March 1774, Wedgwood wrote, “Hackwood is employ’d constantly in repairing Gems . . . .”


The Griffin Candlestick, after Sir William Chambers, © Wedgwood Museum

The Griffin Candlestick, after Sir William Chambers
© Wedgwood Museum