From one of Britain’s leading historians and the director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, a scintillating biography of Josiah Wedgwood, the celebrated eighteenth-century potter, entrepreneur, and abolitionist.
Wedgwood pottery, such as the celebrated blue of Jasperware, is famous worldwide. Jane Austen bought it, and wrote of it in her novels; Empress Catherine II of Russia ordered hundreds of pieces for her palace; British diplomats hauled it with them on their first-ever mission to Peking, audaciously planning to impress China with their china. But the life of Josiah Wedgwood is far richer than just his accomplishments in ceramics. He was a leader of the Industrial Revolution, a pioneering businessman, a tireless scientific experimenter, a cultural tastemaker, and an ardent abolitionist. And he did it all in the face of chronic disability and relentless pain: a childhood bout with smallpox eventually led to the amputation of his right leg. Hardcover, 352 pages.