Josiah Wedgwood on the value of celebrity endorsements
In early 1765, through Lady Chetwynd, a lady in waiting with Staffordshire connections, an order came for a tea-set for Queen Charlotte ….
He (Wedgwood) followed it up by sending a box of patterns and vases to the Queen and soon won permission to style himself ‘Potter to Her Majesty’ while his creamware was granted the name of ‘Queen’s Ware’. A second service was ordered by the King, to a simpler design which became known as ‘the Royal Pattern’. Two years later he was still stunned by his success:
The demand for this said Creamcolour, Alias Queens Ware, alias, Ivory still increases. It is really amazing how rapidly the use of it has spread almost over the whole Globe, and how universally it is liked. How much of this general use and estimation is due to the mode of its introduction – and how much to its real utility and beauty? Are questions in which we may be a great deal interested for the government of our future conduct …
Wedgwood had always been concerned to find a showroom (in London) that would suit his elite customers, ‘for you well know they will not mix with the rest of the World any further than their amusements or conveniencys make it necessary to do’, he told Bentley in 1767. It had to be chic and private but also ‘Large’, as vases would decorate the walls and a full display of at least six or eight dinner services was essential ‘in order to do the needful with the ladys in the neatest, genteelest & best method’. ……
Shopping was now a fashionable diversion, and manufacturers were alert to the increasing influence of women …. In Wedgwood’s showroom the display changed constantly so that smart visitors always had something new to see. The black basalts were shown off by yellow backgrounds, the Queensware by blue or green, the rarest vases kept enticingly in a locked room for private view.
From The Lunar Men – Jenny Uglow