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Jasperware is Josiah Wedgwood’s crowning achievement. Jasper is translucent clay that marries the basalt and Queen’s Ware formulas to produce a dense, homogeneously colored stoneware.The white body could be colored and a white porcelain relief affixed to the item.In 1789, Wedgwood reproduced the famous “Portland Vase.” The excavation of the vase was ordered by Pope Urban VIII during the 1630’s.The vase reflects the art of Augustan Classical era during the early 1st century.At the age of 14, Josiah Wedgwood contracted smallpox leaving his right knee severely weakened with osteomyelitis.Josiah suffered with the weakened knee through most of his young adult life.Wedgwood chose the name Jasper because he felt that his refined pieces resembled that of the cryptocrystalline quartz Jasper.The production of Jasperware in 1775 was the result of more than 10,000 experiments with various clays and glazes.
Wedgwood’s reproduction of the vase was so successful that it was ordered to tour the European Continent by the Royal Academy.
In an early letter to a friend, he described his dissatisfaction by saying he was tired of learning the “art, misery, occupation, and employment of throwing and handling.” He left the Churchyard Works and retired to his grandfather’s country estate.
For a brief period, Josiah Wedgwood was a partner with the Cliff Bank firm.
It was easy to produce, relatively inexpensive to make, easily decorated, and desired by royalty and commoner alike.
A piece of Wedgwood’s creamware sold for a just a few shillings.
In 1754, Wedgwood joined with the renowned Thomas Whieldon of Fenton.