Pot with lid, jasperware, England, 1819

 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Production Technology
Glass and Ceramics
1800 - 1849
At the moment this object is not published in the museum.
Five years of hard work and almost 10,000 experiments went into creating the most beautiful invention by ceramic pioneer Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795): coloured jasperware, predominantly blue in colour, with applied white relief decoration.

But then, what are five years compared with more than 200 years during which jasperware has lost none of its charm? So what lies behind this mysterious and mellifluous name created in 1775? A fine-grained, porcelain-like, unglazed, coloured ceramic with mostly white relief decorations, named after the many colour variations of the gemstone jasper. In its original state the jasperware clay is white by nature. The ceramic body is stained with metallic oxide colours. Initially the earliest jasper was stained throughout and was known as ‘solid’. Later on, items were coloured on the surface only, in a process known as ‘dip’. The relief decorations are produced in moulds and then applied to the ware, but left white. The items are then fired at a temperature of 1250 C, during which the clay takes on a glass-like quality, rendering glazing superfluous.

The colour of the background depends on each particular metallic oxide. The most common shades of jasper are green, yellow, lilac, black, and especially the very popular intense blue tones, created by cobalt.

Wedgwood’s epoch-making invention spurred on many imitators. In Bohemia the challenge was taken up first and foremost by the factory of Count Wrtby in Teinitz (Týnec). According to contemporary reports, while the factory’s experiments were not in vain, its endeavours fell short of the original. In a report published in 1823 it is said that the Teinitz company ‘was unable, however, fully to achieve either the beautiful colour or the delicacy of the figures which distinguish the genuine ware of this type, as two flower pots submitted by the company demonstrate’. In conclusion: Often copied, but merely imitated.

For comparison’s sake the second photograph shows both objects from the Technisches Museum Wien: the Wedgwood original (right) and its Bohemian replica (left).

Manufacturer: Wedgwood, England
Production date: 1819

Inv.Nr. 2540/1

Member of