Brian Dolan combines the remarkable story of Josiah Wedgwood, the English potter whose works are among the finest examples of ceramic art, with the story of the 18th-century world of industry, fashion and connoisseurship.
Born in 1730 in Staffordshire, into a family with a long tradition as potters, Wedgwood survived childhood smallpox (and later, the loss of his leg), to become one of the most prestigious potters in England; Queen Charlotte was sufficiently impressed to name him ‘Royal Supplier of Dinnerware’. Depending on his business acumen, artistic sensibilities, and critically, his scientific innovations, he established a factory and village near Stoke-on-Trent named Etruria, where his revolutionary basalt and jasperware was developed.
Dolan weaves into this tale intriguing social detail: the lives of the workers at Etruria, England at the beginning of the industrial revolution, the Court of Queen Charlotte and the worlds of the Royal Society and the Men of Science. He paints a wonderful picture of the man and of the fascinating Enlightenment period when he flourished.
Reviews of Josiah Wedgwood
‘An exemplary biography. Dolan is an exceptionally assured guide.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘What a story it is! Brian Dolan’s account moved me. I recommend it to even the most general of readers.’ Diana Athill, Literary Review