Gallery Floorplan: 19th Century
After the death of Josiah Wedgwood I the firm was managed by Josiah Wedgwood II in partnership with Tom Byerley. Josiah II's brothers, John and Tom had chosen to pursue other careers; John founding the Royal Horticultural Society and Tom to explore his scientific interests in the development of photography. The French Revolution and Napoleonic wars had significantly damaged the continental trade leading to a decline within the pottery industry in the early years of the century.
At Wedgwood, the 19th century saw the development of the bone china body in 1812, and stone china at about 1821. The era also saw a variety of new styles, particularly Egyptian and Oriental, being particularly popular. During this period the company tended to follow rather than initiate fashion.
By the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851 the company's displays of ‘beautiful works' received very favourable comments and the workers enjoyed their expedition to London to see the rich variety of artefacts from around the world on display, together with their own work.
The fourth generation of Wedgwoods - Godfrey, Clement and Lawrence - became partners in 1868 and commenced on a programme of changing and improving factory production. This included the re-introduction of bone china, the employment of eminent ceramic artists such as Emile Lessore and Thomas Allen and regaining their position of dominance in the ceramic industry.