Thomas Whieldon of Fenton Low
(or Little Fenton), Stoke-on-Trent,
was probably the leading potter of his day and he had great influence on
other famous potters.
He commenced potting in 1740.
From 1754 until 1759 Josiah Wedgwood I was a partner with him. Whieldon
built up an extensive business and made a fortune estimated at £10,000
from his trade.
He stopped manufacturing
around 1780 and became High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1786.
"In 1740, Mr. Thomas
Whieldon’s manufactory at Little Fenton, consisted of a small range of
low buildings, all thatched. His early productions, were knife hafts,
for the Sheffield Cutlers; and Snuff Boxes, for the Birmingham
Hardwaremen, to finish with hoops, hinges, and springs; which himself
usually carried in a basket to the tradesmen; and being much like agate,
they were greatly in request. He also made toys and chimney ornaments,
coloured in either the clay state, or bisquet, by zaifre, manganese,
copper, &c. and glazed with black, red, or white lead. He he also made
black glazed tea and coffee pots, Tortoiseshell and melon table plates,
(with ornamented edge, and six scallops, as in the specimens kept by
Andrew Boon, of the Honeywall, Stoke;) and other useful articles....."
Simeon Shaw: 'History of
the Staffordshire Potteries' (1829)
Potters influenced by Whieldon
Whieldon, one of the best-known of English potters had a strong and
lasting influence on the tastes of the time and on the work of the
craftsmen to follow him. He had many apprentices including Josiah
Spode, Aaron Wood the block cutter, Ralph Wood, Robert Garner,
William Greatbatch, J Barker and Uriah Sutton.
Josiah Wedgwood was from 1754 to 1759 in partnership
with Thomas Whieldon. This became a fruitful
partnership, enabling Wedgwood to become a master of current pottery techniques.
Wedgwood then began what he called his "experiment book," an invaluable
source on Staffordshire pottery. Wedgwood was responsible for many of the
developments and improvements which helped Whieldon achieve his
Josiah Spode I was an apprentice to Thomas Whieldon.
In 1730, Ralph Wood was apprenticed to John Astbury, and
he subsequently worked with Thomas Whieldon at Fenton Low, there learning the
manufacture of coloured glazes.
Whieldon produced tortoiseshell ware
which was a type of earthenware with variegated, surface colour and
also agateware-that is, ware made by
combining differently coloured clays or by combing together different colours of
slip - he greatly improved agateware in the 1740s by using white clays stained
with metallic oxides.
Astbury-Whieldon ware, was produced from about 1730 to 1745
by the two Staffordshire potters, John Astbury and Thomas Whieldon. Instead of
the more common stamped relief decoration, the ornament was achieved by applying
pre-molded relief motifs to the surface of the pottery object and connecting
them by curled stems formed of threads of thinly rolled clay. The process was
known as sprigging.
a short biography of