January’s focus at The Glam Pad was anti-trends… timeless, classic elements of interior design. One question that generated a lively discussion was how can a classic become a “trend” and subsequently go “out of style?” Today let’s ponder the classic Jasperware, created by England’s Josiah Wedgwood in the 18th century.
Recently Laurie Byrne, The Preppy Paper Girl, and Cynthia Nouris of Sasha Nicholas had a discussion about “bringing Jasperware back,” which made me wonder why we really don’t see much of it these days. You can read the full Instagram commentary here and below are a few highlights…
- I can’t GIVE it away in my etsy shop!!! I don’t know why! I’m all about #bringingfancyback, including Jasperware!
- My daughters love collecting Wedgwood. We had a “designer” who told us it was old fashioned and relatively cheap to collect. Needless to say, said designer is no longer employed by me nor recommended. Collect what you love!
- I love Jasperware and think it is timeless and almost has a retro graphic quality to it that makes it modern at the same time.
- So undervalued just now and so beautiful. Lets bring Jasperware back!
So of course I decided to do a little research to more fully understand Jasperware’s rise and fall in popularity. In September 2017, The New York Times wrote…
“Referred to generically by the uninitiated as Wedgwood, it is, more precisely, Jasperware, the signature of the Staffordshire-based pottery maker founded in 1759 and now owned in greatly diminished form by Fiskars, a Finnish conglomerate. For generations a signifier of upwardly mobile gentility and often paired with the company’s devoutly traditional china settings depicting English country life, Jasperware now seems irredeemably stodgy-sweet, its appeal to all but the most rigorous collector diminished by its ubiquity: Go to the mall, and you too can pick up a brand-new picture frame decorated with a bas-relief Cupid.”
The Irish Times asks, “What is it that has made Wedgwood Jasperware so unpopular, a classic design that seems simply old-fashioned?” They made too much of it, proclaims The Guardian. It lost its cachet and became “twee.” In the late 18th century, “it would have been inconceivable that the delicate classical decoration of his [Josiah Wedgwood’s] Jasperware would ever be affordable to ordinary people, and consequently in itself ordinary and therefore unfashionable and less desirable. It can happen to the finest brand,” said The Guardian.
Yet with all things, what was once old is new again. A reporter with The Wall Street Journal professes her “fancy-old-lady” penchant for the iconic matte stoneware. She also loves “granny chic” staples chintz and toile. A Lonny reporter writes about her “new decor obsession” with Jasperware. “Whereas I used to balk at my mom’s incessant use of Toile de Jouy wallpaper and avoid flea markets like the plague, favoring clean, contemporary styles and high-gloss anything, I have to admit: change is afoot. So much so, that I’ve even started a collection. Of pottery,” she reported.
Last fall when Rizzoli publications released Wedgwood: A Story of Creation & Innovation, Vogue wrote “the time has come to reconsider your grandma’s favorite type of porcelain” as the headline of their review.
Shelved for years for being too “old fashioned,” traditional design staples such as chintz, antiques, and needlepoint are finally making their way back. Will Jasperware be next? Regardless of whether or not it is – or will be – “in,” now is the time to scoop up some beautiful pieces at low prices, and Etsy has a wonderful selection.
I will be eagerly awaiting additional inspirational images via Laurie Byrne and Sasha Nicholas, along with the chic Instagramers featured today (interestingly mostly from Japan), whose designs prove why Jasperware is indeed a timeless classic.
If you are interested in helping maintain and grow interest in Wedgwood and its heritage, please visit The Wedgwood Society of Washington D.C. This group was formed in 2000 to promote the education and enjoyment of Wedgwood collectors in the mid-Atlantic area. Wedgwood enthusiasts and collectors meet several times a year to share their research in the form of lectures, newsletters, and other educational forums. Membership is open to all who appreciate the art and timeless beauty of Wedgwood.