Rigby’s Encyclopaedia of the Herring

A work in progress with no end in sight

WEDGWOOD

In which we lust after that object of desire, the Wedgwood Queen’s Ware herring dish (c 1780)

WEDGWOOD

I grew up disliking Wedgwood Blue Jasperware. Despite its C18th credentials, it was of my parents’ generation. Visiting the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston, near Stoke on Trent, was a revelation, not least for the discovery of herring plates. Serving herring to your guests? A Wedgwood Queen’s Ware herring dish is what you need. It is an object of desire.

Wedgwood Herring Dish
Wedgwood Queen’s Ware Herring Dish, c 1780

Wedgwood Queen’s Ware is a kind of creamware. Early cream earthenware was being produced by the 1740s, but Josiah Wedgwood, as well as developing Jasperware, took on the task of improving it. In 1765 Queen Charlotte commissioned a tea set. It may seem strange that it didn’t include a herring dish. They came in one and two herring versions, but didn’t come along until the 1780s. The tea set did enable him to call his creamware innovation Queen’s Ware, however.

Actually, maybe inevitably, Wedgwood didn’t make herring dishes for the United Kingdom market, but for the Dutch, whose love for herring knows no bounds. He had a retailer in Amsterdam. He apparently encouraged what he referred to as ‘shoals of ladies’ to his own shop, but he didn’t show them herring dishes.

Wedgwood Queen’s Ware is a kind of creamware. Early cream earthenware was being produced by the 1740s, but Josiah Wedgwood, as well as developing Jasperware, took on the task of improving it. In 1765 Queen Charlotte commissioned a tea set. It may seem strange that it didn’t include a herring dish. They came in one and two herring versions, but didn’t come along until the 1780s. The tea set did enable him to call his creamware innovation Queen’s Ware, however.

Actually, maybe inevitably, Wedgwood didn’t make herring dishes for the United Kingdom market, but for the Dutch, whose love for herring knows no bounds. He had a retailer in Amsterdam. He apparently encouraged what he referred to as ‘shoals of ladies’ to his own shop, but he didn’t show them herring dishes.