Ebony Distinction Of Interior Style: Wedgwood’s Classic Black “Jasperware”

Designs Of Antiquity:  Wedgwood's Black Jasperware
Designs Of Antiquity: Wedgwood’s Black Jasperware

British pottery of bold distinction. Jasperware. Also known as “Wedgwood Jasper”, Wedgwood’s Black Jasperware was developed by Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) during the 1770’s. Known as the “Father of English Potters”, the pottery innovations of royal acclaim by Josiah Wedgwood still hold to past success in the present. Timeless pieces that endure in classical style and history. Described as an unglazed stoneware, it is also referred to as a type of porcelain. Noted for its matte finish, Jasperware is produced in a number of different colors. Originally, Jasperware was stained either blue, green, yellow, lilac or black. Who knew? Although the best known color is the pale blue known as “Wedgwood Blue”, it is the bold and unexpected impact of the black Jasperware that lures me. Named after the mineral “Jasper” (a colored, opaque quartz), the Wedgwood motifs that would embellish the vessels and decorative objects are detailed applications of “Bas Relief” design. These distinctive designs were influenced by the ancient cultures that experienced a renaissance “through study and discovery during the expansion of the British Empire”. The motifs are said to have been taken directly from ancient Roman, Greek and Egyptian mythologies. The British demand for replicas of ancient artifacts and representations of royalty, nobles and statesmen were met in silhouettes distinctively embellished in white, circling objects of Neoclassical shape of significance.

Of interest, Josiah Wedgwood was the 12th child of potter Thomas Wedgwood. A family history of potters linked back to Josiah’s Great Grandfather. A family trade of craftsmanship and artistry, for certain. Said to be an innovator, it was Josiah that developed “Queen’s Ware” (a cream colored, lead-glazed earthenware). Presenting a tea service with this new material of flint and white clay to Queen Charlotte (King George III), the delighted Queen permitted the name “Queen’s Ware” to be used in reference to this new pottery. Josiah would thus pronounce himself as “Potter to the Queen” following this success that spread the name of “Wedgwood” throughout Europe. British expansion, indeed.

Of note, in 1768, Wedgwood had introduced a different type of fine grained stoneware called “Black Basalt”. (Alas, I adore the depth of this solid pottery as well). Produced from copies of Etruscan pottery that had been excavated in Italy, this lustrous and smooth stoneware with a purple and black sheen produced an intense demand within the world of decoration for the interior. Developed from a reddish brown clay that burned black during firing, the bold and matte statement of black basalt stoneware endures as a statement of decorative style. Yet it is Jasperware that has been given the credit as the most important invention in the history of ceramics since the birth of porcelain. It is said that it took Wedgwood years of experimentation to perfect his design for the unglazed stoneware of durable and delicate form. Experimental success in the creation of timeless pieces of iconic style.

Beyond the objects in stoneware, the motifs of Jasperware were also set into jewelry as well as embellishing architectural features, such as fireplace mantles, mouldings and furnishings. Widespread style of stylistic display of historical and classical distinction, for certain. Enduring style that celebrates ancient history and classical shapes that endure. In fact, Jasperware itself has seemed to have become synonymous with Wedgwood. Success of distinction, indeed.

Josiah Wedgwood:  (1730-1795) Innovator Of Enduring  Style
Josiah Wedgwood: (1730-1795) Innovator Of Enduring Style
Bold Impact Within The Interior:  Black Jasperware
Bold Impact Within The Interior: Black Jasperware
Wedgwood's Black Jasperware:  Bold Statements Of Classical Antiquity
Wedgwood’s Black Jasperware: Bold Statements Of Classical Antiquity

Of course, I must give credit to most of the striking interior images presented with the contrast of black and white Jasperware. I must mention the interior design skills and incredible sense of style of iconic lifestyle expert Eddie Ross. Photographs from interior designer Celerie Kemble’s striking book “Black And White” have included the images presented here of black Jasperware within the interior and previous residence of Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar . I have had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Eddie and Jaithan in November of 2011. In fact, I have rightly given acknowledgement to both in a past post A Duo of Inspiration. Considering Eddie’s mastery of quality, design and style, it is no wonder that the images that I would find to best relay the distinction of Wedgwood’s black Jasperware within the interior would be from Eddie’s stylish perspective and flair. Style follows great taste.

Consider the bold and dramatic addition to your interiors with Wedgwood’s black Jasperware. Striking impact of classical distinction of antiquity. As one of my personal favorite color combinations, the addition of historical influences embellished upon these classic shapes continue to mesmerize. The timeless adornment within our interiors will endure in luring us to appreciate its beauty. Ebony distinction of interior style, indeed…



2 thoughts on “Ebony Distinction Of Interior Style: Wedgwood’s Classic Black “Jasperware”

  1. I just got a huge cache of Wedgwood jasperware at an auction (more than 100 pieces) and while doing some research on black jasperware, I found your site and have now bookmarked it!

    I LOVE Eddie and Jaithan and have met them numerous times, and I have the “At Home with Wedgwood” book and adore it.

    I am thinking of somehow making a collage with the pieces (they’re all small dishes) with identical motifs but different colours.

    1. Thank you for sharing! How fantastic that you would acquire a “cache” of these striking pieces! Delighted that you found my blog through your searching, too! Thanks for the “bookmark”! And of Eddie and Jaithan? Upon meeting them even one time, they are clearly an unforgettable duo. Inspiration certainly exudes from them both- and Eddie’s artistry is inspiring. Best wishes with your grouping of aesthetic style of Wedgewood Jasperware!

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