Modelling and waxes

Jasper medallions or cameos were made in several stages: the original subject was first modelled and carved from beeswax onto a piece of slate or glass sheet. A negative plaster-of-Paris mould was then taken from it and a clay impression made from that. When this was fired, the biscuit version became the standard, from which all subsequent moulds for production were taken.

The last decades of the 18th century saw changes in sartorial fashion; the flounces and swags of rococo-style costume gave way to a neo-classical simplicity of line. Jewellery and accessories were used to embellish clothing for both men and women.

‘The Ladies may display their Taste in a thousand Ways, in the Application of these Cameos; and thus lead Artists to a better Stile in ornamenting their Works', from Josiah Wedgwood's Catalogue of Ornamental Wares, 1779

 

 

Images

Red waxes depicting classical subjects, probably acquired on a Grand Tour, used by Wedgwood as a sou

Red waxes depicting classical subjects, probably acquired on a Grand Tour, used by Wedgwood as a sou