Private life

Josiah Wedgwood was born into a family of potters, and he and his wife Sarah established a dynasty. Every generation since Josiah's death in 1795 has yielded family members who have, in one way or another, been involved in the factory and its business, or have made outstanding achievements in public life.

Josiah always found time for his family despite his busy working life, and showed great interest in their health and education. He had suffered from the effects of smallpox as a child and was determined to protect his own children from the scaring and debilitating disease. Although inoculation was in its infancy as a medical procedure, Josiah and Sarah, probably advised by the family doctor, Erasmus Darwin, chose to have them inoculated.

In his painting of the Wedgwood family, Josiah is portrayed by George Stubbs as a successful entrepreneur surrounded by his wife and children. Stubbs painted the family portrait whilst staying at Etruria Hall in 1780.

Images

Extract from a play Josiah wrote for his children, © Wedgwood Museum

Extract from a play Josiah wrote for his children
© Wedgwood Museum