Wedgwood serving dishes with oak leaf pattern

Object name: Wedgwood quarter circle serving dishes with oak leaf pattern.

Object number: CHWJA: JAH425.1-4

Category: Object

Description: Four quarter circle shaped Wedgwood serving dishes with oak leaf pattern.

Made: Early 19th century?

Context: On 6th June 1811, Jane Austen sent a letter from Chawton to her sister Cassandra who was visiting their brother Edward and his family in Godmersham. In the letter she wrote:

‘On Monday I had the pleasure of receiving, unpacking & approving our Wedgwood ware. It all came very safely & upon the whole is a good match, tho’ I think they might have allowed us rather larger leaves, especially in such a Year of fine foliage as this. One is apt to suppose that the Woods about Birmingham must be blighted. — There was no Bill with the Goods — but that shall not screen them from being paid. I mean to ask Martha to settle the account. It will be quite in her way, for she is just now sending my Mother a breakfast set, from the same place.’

The pieces were obviously an addition to an existing Wedgwood service ornamented with a leaf design owned by the  inhabitants of Chawton Cottage and they were also shortly to take ownership of a Wedgwood breakfast set.

Josiah Wedgwood (1730-95) came from an established family of potters in Staffordshire; through his extensive experimentation, he made many advances in the production of English pottery and counted George III’s wife, Queen Charlotte, amongst his customers.

In what must be a reference to Wedgwood in Northanger Abbey, General Tilney is delighted with Catherine Morland’s ‘approbation of his taste, confessed it to be neat and simple, thought it right to encourage the manufacture of his country; and for his part, to his uncritical palate, the tea was as well flavoured from the clay of Staffordshire, as from that of Dresden or Sèvres.’

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