WIS - Wedgwood International Seminar

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Home Articles 2009 Seminar

2009 Seminar

The 54th annual meeting of the Wedgwood International Seminar will take place in Staffordshire, England, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Wedgwood Company. For two years, Mrs. Lynn Miller of the Wedgwood Museum Staff has been planning an exciting program of speakers and events at the new Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston. Mr. Mickey Hightower (our WIS Seminar Director) and Lynn have planned what should be a most memorable event. WIS participants will be staying at the Moat House Hotel (Best Western) – which adjoins Etruria Hall, the historic former home of the founder of the Wedgwood Company, Josiah Wedgwood I (1730-95).


The actual lectures will take place in the Education Department at the brand-new Wedgwood Museum.  The museum is a result of a £10 million project to erect a building worthy of housing the historic treasures which the Wedgwood Museum Trust administers. This exciting new venue was opened to the public on October 24, 2008, and the museum staff are looking forward to welcoming the Wedgwood International Seminar participants 8-14 June, 2009 - an historic year celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Wedgwood Company on May Day, 1759 at the Ivy House Works, Burslem (Stoke-on-Trent), the so-called 'Mother Town' of the Potteries. To see a video tour of the new museum click here.

We are happy and honored to celebrate this very special anniversary Seminar by presenting lectures from the following guest speakers:

Jenny Uglow has cancelled - Speaker/Subject TBA

Jenny Uglow - Grew up in Cumbria, and worked in publishing since leaving Oxford. She is Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Warwick, and has written widely on 18th and 19th century literary and culture, including her acclaimed work The Lunar Men. The Friends Who Made the Future. She will be speaking on Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles Darwin), and other associated and friends of the great Josiah I.

Kathy Niblett - Former senior curatorial member of staff at the world famous Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent (Staffordshire) - Kathy will be talking about studio potters past and present. Kathy is well known to former WIS participants as a guest lecturer.

David Puxley - The first ever Wedgwood resident studio potter in the 1960s - David will talk on his reminiscences of his time at Wedgwood, and his later experiences as a renowned studio potter.

Lord Queensberry - For the last 5 years Lord Queensberry has reigned supreme in the design world, and formed, with Martin Hunt, the world-famous Queensberrry Hunt Design Association. Lord Queensberry will give his own individual thoughts on past and present design, and design philosophy.

Alan Wedgwood - Direct descendent of the great Josiah Wedgwood, Alan (as a toddler) laid the foundation stone for the new Barlaston factory in 1936, 'assisted' by Production Director Norman Wilson. Alan will talk on 'his family'.

Julie McKeown - Well known lecturer and author, Julie will be talking on the history of 'Rode Hall' - and its long-lasting associations with the Wedgwood family, including Richard Wedgwood, father-in-law of Josiah I, and the celebrated artist Walter Crane. Her book English Ceramics, Two Hundred and Fifty Years of Collecting at Rode.  Her lecture will prelude a visit to Rode Hall itself

Wedgwood Museum Curatorial Staff:

Gaye Blake Roberts - Museum Director - Trained at the world-renowned Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Miss Gaye Blake Roberts is well-known to ceramic experts worldwide. She has traveled widely lecturing on Wedgwood and other ceramic subjects, and is well-published on numerous topics/titles. The title of her talk is to be announced.

Sharon Gater - Senior curatorial member of the Wedgwood Museum Trusts staff, expert on 19th and 20th century Wedgwood production, and pioneering researcher into the life and achievements of Charles Darwin. She is to give a paper on the third generation of the Darwin/Wedgwood family - the renowned Charles Darwin himself, whose 200th anniversary of his birth we are also celebrating in 2009.

Kevin Salt - Archivist at the Wedgwood Museum Trust, and author on the history of 'Etruria' - will talk on Richard Wedgwood, Wedgwood's father-in-law, and also on 18th century 'Wedgwood's Burslem'.

Day-to-day activities/visits will include the church of St. Peter ad Vincula, Stoke-on-Trent, the burial site of the founder of the Wedgwood Company, Josiah Wedgwood I and his beloved wife Sarah. At this church, participants can view the Wedgwood memorial - sculpted by the world-famous John Flaxman Junior, and view Wedgwood's grave in the cemetery, as well as that of Josiah Spode.

We will pay a visit to Rode Hall and Gardens near Astbury Church – where Josiah and his wife Sarah were married in 1764. At Rode Hall, Sir Richard Baker Wilbraham and his wife will "meet and greet" their guests prior to an official tour of the noted residence and gardens.

There will be an opportunity to view selected pieces of Wedgwood studio pots with Kathy Niblett, David Puxley and Lord Queensberry providing further insight into the design concepts of the pieces. Members of the Wedgwood Museum curatorial staff will also be on hand for this experience.

For light entertainment, one evening we will be showing early 20th century films of 'The Potteries.’ Ray Johnson, senior academic lecturer at Staffordshire University, will provide a commentary and answer any questions. Ray has dedicated several decades of his life to the location and restoration of Potteries' archive film - the evening will include films of the famous and often hilarious 1930 week-long pageant which was held in Hanley Park to celebrate the bicentenary of Wedgwood's birth in 1730.

Also there will be opportunities to visit other famous collections of Wedgwood:

1. The Lady Lever Art Gallery, outside Liverpool in the architecturally-interesting little factory village of Port Sunlight, houses one of the world’s largest collections of Wedgwood jasperware, creamware plaques painted by George Stubbs, chimneypieces, etc. Also on view is a renowned collection of paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites, Lord Leighton and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, as well as great of English furniture and classical antiquities.

2. The Felix Joseph Collection of 18th Century Wedgwood at Nottingham Castle. Many will remember a fascinating lecture on this collection by curator Pamela Wood at our 2008 Seminar.

3. Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, which houses one of the finest collections of Staffordshire ceramics in the world.

These lectures and events will hopefully both intrigue and entice you to join the Wedgwood International Seminar for our visit to The Wedgwood Museum in "Merrie England" – where the members of the Wedgwood Museum Trust Staff look forward to welcoming their guests from overseas.

Remember: 8-14 June, 2009.