Thomas Whieldon


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(b nr Stoke-on-Trent, 1719; d 1786). English potter. He was presumably apprenticed near Stoke-on-Trent and by 1740 had become a master potter at Fenton Low. In 1747 he leased new premises at Fenton Vivian, bought this property in 1748 and the following year acquired Fenton Hall. By this time he is known to have had 19 employees and to have taken Josiah Spode as an apprentice (see Sporde Ceramic Works). Spode left in 1754 when Whieldon took Josiah Wedgwood as partner. Whieldon retired c. 1780, when the pottery was demolished. He is noteworthy for having launched the careers of Wedgwood, Spode, William Greatbatch (1735-1813) and Robert Garner (1733-89). He also gave his name to a type of cream-coloured earthenware sponged with such coloured oxides as copper and manganese, covered in a clear, lead glaze, called ‘Whieldon’ or ‘Tortoiseshell’ ware. The forms were sometimes modelled by such eminent contemporary blockcutters as Aaron Wood and Greatbatch. Whieldon's account and memorandum book for 1749-53 mentions ‘creamcolr’ and ‘Glazd Images’ (figures), while Wedgwood's experiment book of 1759 lists white, salt-glazed wares as ‘the principle article of our manufacture’ as well as ‘an imitation of tortoiseshell’. Production at Fenton Vivian also included solid agate wares, red and black stoneware, green-glazed creamwares in vegetable forms and scratch-blue stoneware.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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