An 18th century wine bottle honouring Thomas Wedgwood, estimate £6000-8000 at Hansons.

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The sealed bottle with a silver collar and inscription will have a guide of £6000-8000 at Hansons in Etwall as part of the October 5-6 Fine Art Auction.

Like his more famous relative Josiah, Thomas Wedgwood (1703-76) was a Potteries entrepreneur.

In 1743 he and his brother John (1705-80) took over their father’s potworks in Burslem at a time when Josiah would have been 13.

A surviving rent book shows that between 1740-67 they spent £13,000 on the acquisition of land, houses and buildings for a new factory known simply as the ‘Big House’.

In his History of the Staffordshire Potteries written in 1829, Simeon Shaw states: “The excellent productions they now sent forth were so much in demand that they erected a new manufactory, and incurred general censure because of their extravagance in erecting so large a manufactory and covering it with tiles (all others being covered with thatch) and for erecting three ovens (subsequently increased to five).”

The products created by Thomas and John Wedgwood were typical productions of the time.

“Of the White Stone ware they now made dishes, plates, and common vessels, also some elegant fruit baskets, bread trays, etc glazed with salt, and probably cast in moulds… The White Stone ware was varied into a better Tortoiseshell, by rubbing manganese upon the vessels before they were glazed; for a different kind of ground zaffres were applied with either a sponge or hair pencil; and similar application of calcined copper, iron, and other metals, produced Cauliflower, and Melon ware.”

Shaw stated that the brothers continued in business until 1763, “when they retired to enjoy a very large property, the reward of their industry and integrity”.


A detail of the 18th century wine bottle honouring Thomas Wedgwood, estimate £6000-8000 at Hansons.

The bottle, one made for Wedgwood to decant his table wine, has the seal T Wedgwood 1775. The posthumous inscription to the collar reads Thomas Wedgwood of the Big House, Burslem, Staffordshire. Born 1703. Died 1776.