A look at the design, market and legacy of Victorian pottery

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wedgwood Ocean

Where Minton and George Jones ruled the majolica market in England, Wedgwood dominated the export market.

Wedgwood's largest buyer was the Victorian American consumer and the American consumer loved Ocean. Though it wasn't the largest series the company produced, that distinction goes to Fan, it was by far the most popular pattern in the American market. Sometimes referred to as Shell & Seaweed, it is one of many gorgeous majolica patterns made by various companies inspired by sea life.

There are two patterns made by Wedgwood that carry the Ocean name. The first one is the earliest and most commonly found. The plates feature a large shell surrounded by waves, with a sprig of seaweed draped across it. The pattern was one of the earliest specialty patterns made by the company in Argenta starting in 1870 but of course it was also made in conventional glaze. Hollowware pieces usually had a ground color of ivory, turquoise or cobalt, but sometimes can be found in gray or brown.


 Some wonderfully whimsical serving pieces were also created as go-alongs.

The second Ocean pattern made it's debut in the late 1880's and is very different in look and feel. It is not easily found today.

Wedgwood Ocean is one of the most easily found Wedgwood patterns in the United States. As such the prices have stayed reasonable and within the range of most majolica collectors.

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