The first generation

This chapter contains biographies of Josiah Wedgwood and his wife, Sarah. Josiah's life as the 'Father of English Potters' explores his private life, his work as a potter, as a pioneer, and as a philanthropist. The section on Sally explores her integral role in the partnership that ultimately gave birth to one of the greatest family dynasties of the industrial era.

Josiah's private life explores his disability, his support for education, his religious dissent, his politics and his friends.

His work as a potter explores his systematic scientific experimentation that enabled him to perfect a range of products, and especially the Portland Vase copy and Queen's Ware.

His work as a pioneer explores his relationship with other leading scientists, entrepreneurs and industrialists in the Lunar Society, the development of the device that earned him the title Fellow of the Royal Society, his commitment to improve transport in the region, and his innovative approach to marketing and commercialisation.

His work as a philanthropist explores his role in the abolition of slavery, and his enthusiasm to improve the social conditions of his workforce.

Images

The Wedgwood family portrait by George Stubbs, 1780, Copyright Wedgwood Museum Trust, © Wedgwood Museum

The Wedgwood family portrait by George Stubbs, 1780, Copyright Wedgwood Museum Trust
© Wedgwood Museum