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Ivory miniature of Josiah Wedgwood - 1750

Ivory miniatures of Josiah Wedgwood, © Wedgwood Museum
    Ivory miniatures of Josiah Wedgwood
    © Wedgwood Museum

This miniature of Josiah Wedgwood is painted on ivory and mounted under glass as a pendant. The artist is unknown.

This miniature of Josiah Wedgwood is painted on ivory and mounted under glass as a pendant. The artist is unknown.

  • Type of object: Wedgwood family items/paintings and portraits
  • Year produced: 1750
  • Accession number: 4546a
  • Dimensions: 50 mm (height), 35 mm (width), 3 mm (depth)

Related people

  • Josiah Wedgwood I

    Josiah Wedgwood I (1730 - 1795)

    Josiah was born in 1730, the youngest of twelve children born to Mary Wedgwood and her husband, Thomas. His father was a potter who lived and worked at the Churchyard Works, Burslem. This town was still connected by rough roads to the other five towns which made up the area of North Staffordshire known as the Potteries. By the time of his death, Josiah Wedgwood I not only improved the variety and quality of pottery produced, but he also opened up the area as an important centre of commerce with the rest of the world through his involvement in the development of canal and road networks. He went on to become one of the most influential ceramic manufacturers in the world, and earned the title 'The Father of English Potters'. His direct descendants are still involved in the factory which bears his name today.Much of Josiah's development as a successful businessman, philanthropist and potter can be accounted for by the ill fortunes he suffered. At the age of 9 when his father died and he had to abandon his formal school education in order to work in the family business. Then at around eleven years old he contracted smallpox and was left with a knee-infection which constricted his use of the kick-wheel on which the pottery shapes were formed. From that time onwards he focused on affecting the perfection and marketing of Burslem's main product.Another spur to Wedgwood’s success was his growing affection for his distant cousin, Sarah whom he had met at the home of his wealthy uncles, John and Thomas. Whereas Josiah came from a poor background, Richard, his future father-in-law, was a prosperous cheese-merchant from Cheshire who apparently insisted that the young potter achieved a certain level of wealth before he could marry his daughter. Wedgwood entered partnerships with other potters, most notably Thomas Whieldon, and established himself as an independent potter in 1759. He moved to superior premises at the Ivy House Works where he perfected his Queen’s ware body and then to the Brick House Works. His reputation was rapidly spreading farther afield and finally, Richard was convinced of his suitability as a husband for his daughter, Sarah.There is no doubt as to Josiah’s love for Sarah when, on the eve of their wedding in 1764 he wrote to his partner, Thomas Bentley: 'I yesterday prevailed upon my dear Girl to name the day, the blissful day! When she will reward all my faithfull services and take me to her Arms!'.

  • Thomas Whieldon

    Thomas Whieldon (1719 - 1795)

    Thomas Whieldon who was born in September 1719 in Stoke-on-Trent and died in March 1795 was a very well known and respected English Master potter. He was in partnership with Josiah Wedgwood from 1754 to 1759 and produced salt glazed ware, agate ware and the cream-coloured earthenware which was later perfected by Josiah Wedgwood.

Glossary

  • Lunar Society of Birmingham

    Lunar Society of Birmingham

    The Lunar Society of Birmingham was an informal learned society of intellectuals who were playing a significant role in the Midlands Enlightenment. Though opinions about the number and status of members vary, there are some that can be considered to have played an integral role in the Lunar Society of the eighteenth century regarding their participation in the Society's meetings: Matthew Boulton, Erasmus Darwin, Thomas Day, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Samuel Galton Jr., James Keir, Joseph Priestley, William Small, Jonathan Stokes, James Watt, Josiah Wedgwood, John Whitehurst and William Withering.

    The roots of the Lunar Society, or Lunar Circle as it was called first, lie in the early 1750s and it emerged from friendships between some of the mentioned scientists especially Matthew Boulton and Erasmus Darwin. The Lunar Society received its name because its members used to meet during the full moon so the extra light could provide a safe journey home late at night. In a time when communication and exchange of knowledge was limited, these meetings were used to discuss the member's latest insights and research results and to learn from and be inspired by the other members. The Society used to meet in Erasmus Darwin's house in Lichfield, Matthew Boulton's home Soho House, and Great Barr Hall.