One of the oldest patterns in Wedgwood's 240-year history, Jasper was introduced by the company's founder, Josiah Wedgwood, in 1775 and continues to have a large following of collectors of both antique and newly produced pieces. A type of unglazed, fine-grained, and nonporous stoneware, Jasper was named for its resemblance in hardness to the stone jasper.
The bodies of these porcelain Wedgwood Jasperware collectible pieces are white at its beginnings and are then dipped into metallic oxide coloring agents to shade it to black or one of several light pastel colors - with periwinkle blue being the most popular and recognizable by collectors.
Jasperware is a form of pottery that is characterized by its matte appearance. Josiah Wedgwood is credited with having come up with the first Jasperware. Wedgwood was an English potter. his grandson was Charles Darwin. When Josiah was in his twenties he began to work with Thomas Whieldon and began experimenting with different pottery techniques. He soon leased a company called Ivy Works.
Josia Wedgwopd's early pottery was considered of very high quality. He was rumored to smash works that did not meet his standards. Many members of the British nobility also enjoyed his work. Wedgwood's work was beloved not only by Brits, but of Empress Catherine of Russia, too, who requested a Green Frog Service. It can still be seen in the Hermitage Museum.
Wedgwood soon upgraded his business to the new Etruria Works. The name was inspired by the Etruria District that was currently excavating black porcelain. In later years Josiah Wedgwood spent most of his time attempting to duplicate the Portland Vase. In 1789, Wedgwood finally came up with an acceptable duplicate. Wedgwood is still one of the most famous names in pottery. His Jasperware is often referred to as Wedgwood China.
If you have authentic Wedgwood Jasperware it may be marked with varying marks. If you are lucky to have a piece that dates back before 1860 it will be simply marked as Wedgwood with a single letter. An item after 1860 will be marked with a letter to represent the year, the potter and the month. In the years 1891-1908 the bottom will say Wedgwood and England. Up until 1969 the markings would say Wedgwood and Made in England or Wedgwood England if the item is small. The most recent markings will say Wedgwood Made in England.
Inspired by Neoclassical style and Greek and Roman mythology, the design work on Jasperware is hand-applied by craftspeople and features white cameo figures and ornamentation in bas-relief. These molded decorations are fired directly onto each piece for durability.
Blue Jasper is quintessential Wedgwood that is the most prized of all Josiah Wedgwood's inventions and has been produced for more than 200 years and is still made by hand. The neoclassical relief design is derived from antiquities and each ornament is carefully applied by skilled craftspeople. Many of the designs on Wedgwood Jasperware relate to stories taken from classical Greek and Roman mythology. Although delicate in appearance it has a strong body. The timeless beauty of Jasper is more sought after today than in past.