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Why is Wedgwood Jasperware so popular?

Debbie Porter

Lot 1046 – £400.00 – Wedgwood dark blue Jasperware Panel: Wedgwood dark blue Jasperware framed panel, 14cm x 44cm long, excluding frame & slip.

The work of Josiah Wedgwood to refine his stoneware to produce the unique Jasperware style helped the pottery to become a household name, and the work produced by Wedgwood in modern times is just as recognisable as it was over two centuries ago when Josiah Wedgwood first devised this technique.

Wedgwood and the Jasperware style are very well recognised across the globe. Wedgwood continued to make Jasperware into the 21st century and the style was much admired – and copied -by many other potters who devised their own versions.  Initially designed to follow a Neoclassical style like the examples you will see in this article, you are most likely to come across this style at auction, and it is certainly the most collectable.

The style is typified by either a blue or a green ground (although there are several other colours) with designs picked out in relief in pure white that are inspired by classical art.  The pieces are ‘dry bodied’ and unglazed and Wedgwood continued to sell replicas of the original designs in the Wedgwood Prestige collection until recently. The most famous design is Wedgwood’s copy of the Portland Vase, a famous Roman vase held by the British Museum that he was loaned in order to make the copy.

Lot 1030 – £320.00 – Wedgwood porcelain Sage Green Jasperware Lidded Urn with Dancing Hours Decoration: Height 28cm; Lot 1045 – £460.00 – Wedgwood Sage Green Jasperware two handled Urn and cover: Height of urn 32cm.

The Jasperware pieces in this article are all from our November 2019 fine art auction and the captions show the prices we attained at this sale. However, we also had a few other interesting Wedgwood piece that we sold in November we’d like to show you too.

Pictured below is a Wedgwood “The Green Man” plate that sold for £320.  This piece was designed by artist John Piper and features an image that recurs in Piper’s work, that of the head of pagan symbol, The Green Man. The plate’s design has bold brushwork that translates to ceramic as an artistic medium really well.  This design was one of six commissioned by the National Art Collections Fund in the late 80s/early 90s and it’s selling price proved there was a passion for this piece on sale day.

Lot 1032 – Wedgwood The Green Man plate: Black Basalt with printed decoration, from the set of six Art Plates commissioned by the National Art Collections Fund and Wedgwood designed by John Piper, limited edition of 500, diameter 31cm

We also had this large Wedgwood fruit bowl in the November sale, which was produced in 1975 based on an original design by Ravilious that was first released in 1938.  Eric Ravilious was an artist who worked predominantly in printmaking and book illustrating, though in 1936 he was commissioned by Wedgwood to produce a series of designs for ceramics, of which this was one. 

The piece (pictured below) sold for £550 on the day, a great price to have achieved for a beautiful piece.

Lot 1080 – Nov fine art –  Wedgwood large “The Boat Race” fruit bowl: Wedgwood large fruit bowl “The Boat Race bowl” by Eric Ravilious, produced in 1975 from the original design by Ravilious in 1938, no 52 of a limited edition of 200 copies. Diameter 31cm. Sold for £550.00

Selling Wedgwood at Auction

If you have Wedgwood pieces you’re looking to sell, their pieces consistently perform well at auction and our staff is well-placed to provide valuations and advice on selling your items. Call 01782 638100 or to book a valuation appointment to attend one of our Tuesday valuation days. We also provide valuations via WhatsApp, simply send some clear photographs of your items via the app to 07864 667940. Additionally, we can send you links to our catalogues via WhatsApp–message the above number via the app and ask to receive our catalogues. Make sure you are subscribed to our email newsletters, too!