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In the 18th century, however, it was table china in the refined earthenware creamware that represented most of the sales and profits.
In the later 19th century it returned to being a leader in design and technical innovation, as well as continuing to make many of the older styles.
When it comes to antique pottery and china, few names can compete with Wedgwood.
Though the company is British, its designs and excellent craftsmanship have made it a known name around the world ñ and a popular brand for collectors. As Kovels explains, the Wedgwood company was established back in 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood.
It was rapidly successful and was soon one of the largest manufacturers of Staffordshire pottery, "a firm that has done more to spread the knowledge and enhance the reputation of British ceramic art than any other manufacturer", exporting across Europe as far as Russia, and to the Americas.
It was especially successful at producing fine earthenware and stonewares that were accepted as equivalent in quality to porcelain (which Wedgwood only made later) but were considerably cheaper.
Relatives leased him the Ivy House in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, and his marriage to Sarah Wedgwood, a distant cousin with a sizable dowry, helped him launch his new venture.Wedgwood is especially associated with the "dry-bodied" (unglazed) stoneware Jasperware in contrasting colours, and in particular that in "Wedgwood blue" and white, always much the most popular colours, though there are several others.