Much like a painter’s signature upon his canvas or a hallmark impressed into silver and gold, great pieces of ceramics bear the mark of their maker. The presence of a maker’s mark is hugely important—perhaps most imperative for the collector to verify authenticity and determine the value of a piece. In addition to denoting the maker, marks, which usually appear on the base of a piece, can help to identify the body type (earthenware, china, etc.), shape, decoration, specific decorator and the age of an antique ceramic work. For collectors, these pottery marks on ornamental wares helped distinguish the value of any given piece.
Josiah Wedgwood: The Father of Wedgwood Ware
The stamped marks employed by Wedgwood, a foremost manufacturer of ceramic goods with a history spanning over two centuries, are many and varied. The Wedgwood mark was first used by Josiah Wedgwood himself in 1759—interestingly, he is the first ceramicist of note to mark his wares with his own name. Even to this day, these pottery marks help provide value to Wedgwood ceramics that have been created throughout history.
Who Was Josiah Wedgwood?
Josiah Wedgwood was one of the most well-known artisans of pottery in England during his time. Starting in the 18th century, Wedgwood transformed the ceramics industry by creating beautifully-colored, crafted, and designed pottery pieces. Surpassing all of his fellow craftsmen during this time, Wedgwood ware became a household name, which in turn made his makers mark extremely recognizable. However, in the earlier years of the 18th century, ceramics was still looked at as a peasant craft.
By combining his love for fine art and pottery, Josiah Wedgwood paved the way for a new manufacturing process that would change the ceramics ware industry as we know it today. By creating more durable pieces, highlighting inventive styles, and using a range of different materials, Wedgwood was able to create stunning ornamental wares that separated him from other artists during this time. Even to this day, some of the most famous antique ceramic pieces are Wedgwood Jasperware.
Searching for the perfect Wedgwood jasperware piece to your antique collection? Shop our collection today to find a unique Wedgewood tea set, bowls, or tableware pieces.
Wedgwood Ware Markings
Josiah Wedgwood was the first artist to mark his creations with his own name. Since 1759, the Wedgwood mark design has continuously evolved, and at times multiple markings were used simultaneously as convenience dictated. While this overlapping may cause initial confusion, through the careful observation of both the mark and object itself, correct identification is possible in almost all cases. These markings were able to tell when the pottery was made so collectors can see that they were receiving genuine Wedgwood ceramics. Today, these pottery markings don’t only add a decorative touch, but it also helps to value the original Wedgewood piece of work. Whether it's painted on a rare antique vase or printed on a porcelain plate collection, these markings add to the overall design and value of antiques.
Interested in learning more about Wedgwood ceramics? Download our printable guide to Wedgwood marks!