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Creamware Chestnut or Orange Basket - 1774

Chestnut or Orange Basket, © Wedgwood Museum
    Chestnut or Orange Basket
    © Wedgwood Museum

Pierced Chestnut or Orange Basket. A domed basket with pierced lid. Originally appeared in the Wedgwood Queen's ware catalogue of 179. Prior to this it was issued with a solid base with only the cover pierced & known as a Chestnut Bowl (Shape No.32 in the first catalogue of 1774).

Favourite items for adorning the dessert were whole oranges and lemons, whose peel had been carved with intricate designs in the form of flowers, stars, borders, ‘or any other financial ornament’. All sorts of citrus fruits were decorated in this way including Seville and china oranges, citrons, bergamots and green ‘baby’ oranges and lemons, though these were apparently difficult to obtain in England other than on estates with orangeries. With the great popularity of oranges as a delicacy for dessert it was not surprising that one of Josiah Wedgwood I’s (1730-1795), most intricate items of Queen’s ware were the ‘Orange Bowl’, pierced to reveal the prepared oranges, peeping through the lattice work of the bowl and lid. The shape appears in his notable catalogue of ‘useful wares’ produced in 1774. The so-called Wedgwood ‘Orange Bowl’ sometimes known as an ‘Orange Basket’, has certainly been in production since the 1770s, and is produced and prestige item at interval even today. Comprising a circular footed basket with domed pierced cover, the item is crowned by a typical rose knop, and the items appear in the first (1774) Wedgwood Queen’s ware Catalogue as design number 32, plate 9.

  • Type of object: Ornamental ware/bowl
  • Mark: 2 twice
  • Year produced: 1774
  • Body: Queen's ware, cream-coloured earthenware
  • Glaze: lead glaze
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: pierced
  • Accession number: 1056, 1056a
  • Dimensions: 200mm (h); 250mm (width); 205mm (d)