Dicle ONEY- Sevim CIZER
As of by the 18th century, ceramic production in England, has turned from a craftsmanship to an industry. The most important establishment among these, is the Wedgwood factory founded by the English potter Josiah Wedgwood in 1759. This article is the story of the Wedgwood company, the star of English ceramic industry, coming to the brink of bankruptcy at the beginning of the 20th century and coming to life again with the "Fairyland Lustres" series created by its' designer Daisy Makeig-Jones.
Keywords Daisy Makeig-Jones, Fairyland Lustres, Wedgwood
Lived in England in the early 20th century, Daisy Makeig-Jones was one of the few women designers who drew attention with their extraordinary designs beyond the aesthetics of the era, in Wedgewood regarded as the biggest factory of England, in order to go beyond the classic roles given to women in that era, with a combative attitude. This article is focused on describing the place of Wedgwood in English ceramic industry in the 18th century, the women designers working in the industry and particularly the short life story of Daisy Jones, the effect of her sense of art on her works and especially her Fairyland lustres.
THE PLACE OF WEDGWOOD IN ENGLISH CERAMIC INDUSTRY IN THE 18TH CENTURY
As of by the 18th century, England's ceramic production has turned from craftsmanship to an industry. The center of ceramic industry was North Staffordshire close to Wales border. The most important among these, the Wedgwood company was founded in 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood, the fifth generation of a family who has continued the traditional pottery profession for five generations.
Josiah Wedgwood has been a pioneer in many areas such as using steam power in ceramic industry, invention of engine lathe, making roads and water canals for raw material transportation and establishing systematic scientific research center to make revolutions in factory production techniques and develop new global products (Yüksel, 2011, s. 4).
Wedgwood also regarded as the inventor of modern marketing with ideas like direct posting, money-back guarantee, traveler salesmen, free delivery, buy one get one and picture catalogues.
Thank to Wedgwood's successes, the factory becomes one of the biggest manufacturing enterprises of Staffordshire in a short time. Later on, it brings in many firsts in technical means. Wedgwood often known for its' products called "jasperware" which are colored, with stiffening body and decorated with white applique on top. These products are continuously being produced in the factory since 1775.
In 1910, the city of Stoke-on-Trent comes out of the union of six potter towns located in Staffordshire, Hanley, Burslem, Fenton, Longton, Stoke and Tunstall. The great grandson of Josiah Wedgwood and the fifth managing director of Wedgwood factories, Cecil Wedgwood has been elected as the mayor of the city (Mulvey, 2010, s. 50). This way, the management of the center of ceramic industry has also been passed to Wedgwood family members.
Apart from many innovations in technics and design, it's also as remarkable as their productions that Josiah Wedgwood and the following generations, as social reformists, have led the way in subjects such as antislavery, work and labor health, worker rights, education of workers. Because, for the founder Josiah Wedgwood giving weight to the education of working women, decorator women in Wedgwood design studio were required to have art education.
WOMEN DESIGNERS IN 18TH CENTURY ENGLISH CERAMIC INDUSTRY
Following the industrial revolution happened in 18th century, women working in industry has become a current issue with the "Art and Craft" movement. But because of one of the social pressures imposed by the Victorian Era that make women to be held responsible of only housework or family works, giving work opportunities to women outside the house, has been a matter of debate in many areas.
None the less, the appeal and interest on artistic working for women from the middle class, has been actively encouraged by the foundation of the Woman Design School in London at such an early date of 1842. This school has given education on design to prepare women between 13 to 30 years old for their art and design careers. (Callen, 1984, s. 3).
But the "Art and Craft" movement was mostly overwhelmed by gender apartheid biases and the design lodges in London have excluded the women designers. So much so that; skilled women designers being present in quality and quantity in an organization, has caused them to be humiliated as "the girls of well-off families who are involved in handicrafts, see handicrafts as a side income or a leisure treat and waste valuable materials while doing so" (Shiner, 2018, s. 337).
Despite all these negative social approaches, women have begun to find a wider working area in production process since the ceramic production turned from a craftsmanship to an industry. When it came to 1870s, bigger opportunities have risen for women who seek career in this field. (Callen, 1984, s. 3)
There was a job share established between men and women in the ceramic industry of that era. Again with a gender based discrimination; the works of women have been limited with works like dipping, transfer printing, hand decoration, gilding, lithography and cleaning. Women's artistic skills and them being designers was generally accepted as late as 19th century, in Royal Doulton and Minton factories for the first time but while women were being educated on cosmetic design and decorative design in art, men were being educated on form design (Buckley, 1989, s. 257).
And between the dates of two wars, the number of woman designers has increased all at once. The leading ones are the designers of Royal Dalton factory Vera Huggins, Peggy Davies, Joan Cowper, Doris Johnson and Agnete Hoy; and the designers of Wedgwood factory Millicent Taplin, Star Wedgwood, Daisy Makeig-Jones, Grace Barnsley and Ada Ismen, and Louise Powell from the 19th century. But what's remarking here is that a man like a father, grandfather, husband etc. from the families of most of the woman designers, being involved in ceramic production. Besides, these women were the members of middle class families and most of them have had art education. The time between two world wars, was also a period where English working woman's economic and social rights and freedoms were rising.
Wedgwood company has lost energy in innovation throughout the 19th century so it needed renewal and revival with creative and fresh blood products at the beginning of the 20th century. With their classic forms and decorations and coherent mature colors, the 18th century products have kept Wedgwood up until the beginning of the 20th century. But the company began to experience financial difficulties because of the tough financial conditions arisen before the world war and came face to face with bankruptcy. And the solutions were moving away from traditional production, employing freelance designers and creating new collections with new designs on classical forms. Wedgwood headed for a luxurious and elitist production with fantastic - fabulous decorations painted with shiny and charming lustre material. To tell the truth, these products were well evaluating the mood of the society who were facing the material and nonmaterial distresses of the war.
LUSTRE WORKS OF WEDGWOOD
As of by the 19th century, Lustre works have begun to spread in Staffordshire. And Josiah Wedgwood applied these pearlescent, iridescence pink and white lustres on seashell-shaped plates and bowls. Pearl lustres were being manufactured from bismuth nitrate. In 1805, Wedgwood also began to use the silver-looking platinum gloss developed by John Hanckok in 1800's in Spode. John Hanckok (1758-1877) has begun his career in Royal Derby factory and after working in several companies become the manager of Wedgwood Erturia plant department where on-gloss dyes are manufactured and prepared many pigments and pigment blends in this department until his retirement. He also has made many lustre studies and experiments for Spode company before working in Wedgwood. Among these were the platinum gloss. Copper and silver lustres developed by John Hanckok, were manufactured in series on Wedgwood products since 1820s.
DESIGNER DAISY MAKEIG- JONES AND FAIRYLAND LUSTRES
An interesting and unusual designer with the nickname "Daisy", Susannah Margaretta Makeig-Jones has begun to work in Wedgwood factory in 1909, in the distressed and pessimistic environment of pre-1st World War period; and when her splendid imagination and innovational designs met with the technical success of Wedgwood products, the company has once again become a rising star.
Image 1: Daisy Makeig- Jones, 1913
Born in 31st December 1881, in the town of Wath-upon-Dearne close to north Rotherham in Yorkshire, Jones was coming from a rooted lineage of landlord and farmer nobles with many reverends also among them. Her father William Makeig- Jones was working as a doctor in the same town. The biggest of seven kids, Daisy had three brothers and three sisters. As a kid of a middle class family, she has begun education at home with a governess and by the school age continued in a boarding school near Rugby managed by two women. She took art lessons from Mr. Lindsay who serve in Rugby State School of Art where only male students are accepted and who would be making great contributions to the development of her artistry in the following years. Family has moved to Torquay in Devon in 1899 because of Dr. Jones's job. Daisy began going to Torquay School of Art and at the same time working in the studio environment that she set up for herself at home while Mr. Lindsay was frequently visiting her family and supporting her for her works.
That was an era in England where there were gradually paving ways to woman liberation, rising ideas of right to vote and rebellions against Victorian era prohibits which caused unjust pressure on single women. This situation was unusual for single women who were waiting to move away from family home, work and achieve economic freedom and those who were outcast from the society. With these recent developments, Daisy's parents have foreseen their young and dedicated daughter's tendency to make her own way for the sake of her artistry thus worried more. Their distant relative, father Archibald Sorby was friends with Cecil Wedgwood who was the Erturia factory manager of Wedgwood back then. Sorby suggested the family for Daisy to work as a ceramic designer in Wedgwood factory. Daisy, with great enthusiasm, wrote a letter to Cecil Wedgwood asking if she could work as a designer in the factory. When Daisy's letter was received by Cecil Wedgwood, Wedgwood, in reply, emphasized that she needs to comprehend the basic principles and process of ceramic manufacturing and master various techniques. In addition, she indicated that she must begin as an intern painter in hand decoration department, the back of house, in order to become a successful designer. Upon this reply, Daisy went to Staffordshire in 1909 to join Wedgwood as an intern designer (Fontaines, 1975, s. 22-25).
After being shortly introduced to various production processes from raw clay to finished product, she began to work together with the young coming directly from the school, in order master ceramic decoration techniques under the supervision of the art director John Goodwin and Decoration Manager Godfrey Hammersley. A good artist and designer James Hodgkiss was the head of design back then and was educating the decoration workshop employees. Daisy learned production and decoration techniques for two years together with young apprentices. In August 1911, she began to design tablewares for a few months in and under John Goodwin’s studio (Fontaines, 1975, s. 26). And in 1912, she designed the illustrations of Hans Andersen's famous fable "Thumbelina" for octagonal dessert plates and bowls. These designs have been used again in fairyland lustres six years later. In 1913, she designed far east dragons and other figures (Fontaines, 1975, s. 45).
Image 2: Octagonal Plate with Thumbelina Figure
In the private studio given to her in January 1914 near James Hodgkiss's office, she began to work as a high salary, gully entitled designer. A team comprised of best painters were working in Hodgkiss's studio. Daisy was watching closely the team drawing sketches with water color technique and these were approved by her only when the effect she desired was achieved. These works have been the basis for on-glaze decorations and Fairyland Lustres (Fontaines, 1975, s. 26).
With increasing interest to Wedgwoods colored lustres already in production, Daisy developed new designs and benefitted from this interest to lustres. Sceneries and characters in child tales has been the start of her lustre works. Early on, she worked on kindergarten tablewares made of low grade body and produced figures such as fairy godmothers, little bearded men with pointed hats, on products made of bone china, using lustre and gold bronze. So the first fairyland lustres came out towards the end of 1915.
Image 3: Kindergarten Tablewares, 1915
Apart from elves and some characters of Irish and Greek mythology, animals like butterflies, spiders, hummingbirds, magpies, pheasants, rabbits, dogs and deers have been the main subject of her designs. She also has used figures of different eras from Syrian, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Japan, China and Anatolian regions. For instance, inspired from the poem of 12th century Iranian philosopher and poet Nizami Ganjavi, she placed scenes from life at the center of her designs with an orientalist approach. Other examples respectively are the designs she made with inspiration from 11th and 12th century Fustat (old name of Cairo) lustre ceramics and motifs in the Iznik potteries.
Image 4: Bowl Designed Inspired from Nizami Ganjavi
Daisy's admiration for fables goes back to her childhood ages. Other than classic fables, the Scotch origin poet, novelist and story writer of that era, Andrew Lang's "Colored Fable Books" was a fable series she had read to her siblings (Fontaines, 1975, s. 24.). The illustrator of these series, Henry Justice Ford's drawings have gained Daisy's attention. It's seen that she has been frequently using especially the Goblins of Henry Justice Ford. Although Goblins are depicted more grotesque in general, they're like demons in terms of length. They're greedy for gold and jewelry and generally malevolent. Daisy's Goblins are winged creatures with pointy ears and yellow or orange eyes (Irvine, 2021). It's mentioned by many authors commenting the works of the artist, that all fantastic creatures like ghosts, fairies, Kewpie butterflies and demons in Daisy's designs have a dark side.
Image 5: Vase with a Depiction of Goblin Hanging on Bell Ropes and Fairy, 1917
Image 6: Bowl named “Firbolgs I&Thumbelina” and Detail, Diameter 12 cm
Her adore to the works of "Alice in Wonderland" illustrator John Tenniel, "The Legend of Croquemitaine" illustrator Gustave Doré which tells the story of "Charlemagne's daughter" and the best artists of the golden era of illustration such as Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and Danish Kay Nielsen, combined with her interest to Oriental exotic forest scenery, has enabled the "Fairyland" lustres to improve and diversify.
Image 7: Daisy Jones's work called “Ghostly Wood”, its' detail and the source of inspiration Gustave Doré's drawing called “Corpse Candles”
Image 8: Bowl called “Moorish Smoke and Ribbons”, 21,5x9,5 cm
The materials Daisy Jones used to make her decorations are on-glaze resinate lustres on top of dark glazed surfaces. Her drawings were being carved by master engravers on copper plates then on-glaze paints were applied and transfer papers were pressed on these plates to transfer them to ceramic surfaces. These prints were working as some kind of contour and patterns were colored with resinate lustres. Golden, silver and copper bronzes were also used with lustres.
When it comes to 1921, Fairyland lustres have become the best-selling products of Wedgwood. For this reason, Wedgwood has published a promoting catalogue containing the images of Daisy Jones's products and the story of each product.
Image 9: Picture catalogue published by Wedgwood in 1921 promoting the Fairyland Lustres
Having designs also in other disciplines, she has made a special design for the bicentenary celebration ceremony of Wedgwood. This design was the ceremony costumes shaped as "Portland Vase" which's a product of Wedgwood and identified with this name. These costumes have been worn by women employees during the ceremony for demonstration.
Image 10: Wedgwood bicentenary celebrations made in 1031 and Daisy with women wearing the Portland Vase costume she designed
When it comes to 1929, Wedgwood has had to cut down on lustre production using golden, silver and copper bronzes which are considered as luxury. One of the reasons of reducing this production was the stock market crisis and economic collapse known as the "Wall Street" faced in England in 1929. Other reasons were the changes in art movements in early 20th century, heading away from Art Deco and the changing fashion and likings with the influence of Cubism. Correspondingly, Daisy's "Fairyland Lustre" works has begun to lose interest. Another reason could be considered as 5th Josiah Wedgwood coming to the head of the factory in 1930. Because 5. Josiah Wedgwood has gone for a series of changes in design and production due to the changes of such likings and not supported the lustre production. At the end of this worsening period, Daisy Makeig-Jones was forced to retire by the new management in 1931.
Retired and leaving the factory although forcedly, Daisy Jones has later headed for garden landscaping works which she was interested before and passed away in 1945.
CONCLUSION AND ASSESSMENT
One of the women designers who worked between 1909-1931 in Wedgwood Ceramic Factory which took an important role in European ceramic industry's development, the designer identity of Daisy Makeig-Jones can be assessed on three significant topics according to the era of its' own. The first is the factories, particularly the Wedgwood beginning to employ woman workers to meet the labor demand increasing by the Industrial Revolution started in England. But because of the social pressure of Victorian Era and women working rights and freedoms not being attained yet, women's working area has been restricted. Design departments were open only to the employment of male individuals. Jones has broken these taboos and got her place among the limited number of woman designers. The emerging First World War while she was working in Wedgwood, has caused the whole country to face an economic crisis and the sales of the ceramic industry has been interrupted, especially the factory she was working coming at the first place. The second significant point is Wedgwood being able to overcome this depressed period with less loss thanks to Jones's designs. Besides, her production of interesting works different from the sense of design of that era, is another topic of assessment.
When we look at the long term productions of Wedgwood which have a long-established production history, we see that Jones's designs are covering a very short period of time. But when considered with the conditions of the era she lived in, it's obvious that she achieved great successes.
Years later after Daisy's decease, with the book named “Wedgwood Fairyland Luster, The Work of Daisy Makeig-Jones” written by Una Des Fontaines and published in 1975, "Fairyland Lustres" have become center of interest again. Today, many works picked up by collectors are changing owners in very-high prices in auctions. In addition, Daisy Jones's works are being exhibited in many museums with Victoria & Albert Museum, "Wedgwood Collection" and Vienne Museum of Decorative Arts being at the first place.
Buckley, C. (1989). 'The Noblesse of the Banks': Craft Hierarchies, Gender Divisions, and the Roles of Women Paintresses and Designers in the British Pottery Industry 1890-1939. Journal of Design History, Vol. 2, No. 4 . Oxford University Press on behalf of Design History Society . taken from https://www.jstor.org/stable/1315666 on June 18, 2021
Callen, A. (1984). Sexual Division Of Labor In The Arts and Crafts Movement. Autumn, Vol. 5 No. 2. Woman's Art Journal, Old City Publishing. taken from https://www.jstor.org/stable/1357958 on June 23, 2021
Fontaines, U. D. (1975). Wedgwood Fairyland Luster, The Work of Daisy Makeig-Jones. London-New York, England-USA: Sotheby Parke Bernet. doi:ISBN 0 85667 022 7
Irvine, L. (2020, Temmuz 14). Women in the Potteries – Art & Industry. Art and Crafts Tour: taken from https://artsandcraftstours.com/blog/women-in-the-potteries-art-industry
Irvine, L. (2021, Mart 25). Firing Miss Daisy. Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts WMODA: taken from https://www.wmoda.com/firing-miss-daisy/
Mulvey, P. (2010). The Political Life of Josiah C. Wedgwood, Land, Liberty and Empire, 1872-1943. Suffolk, UK.: The Royal Historical Society, The Boydell Press. doi:ISBN-978-0-86193-308-2
Shiner, L. (2018). Sanatın İcadı (5. Basım b.). (İ. Türkmen, Çev.) İstanbul: Ayrıntı Yayınları. doi:ISBN 978-975-539-366-7
Yüksel, İ. (2011). Wedgwood Seramikleri ve Üretimleri. İzmir: Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi, Güzel Sanatlar Enstitüsü, Seramik ve Cam Anasanat Dalı, Yüksek Lisans Tezi. doi:293278
Image 1: (Fontaines, 1975, s. 32)
Image 2: Madelena Antiques&Collectables. (2021). Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre Octagonal Bowl-Firbolgs. taken from Madelena Antiques&Collectables: https://madelena.com/details-antique-wedgwood-fairyland-lustre.php?item_id=20445 on June 15, 2021.
Image 3: (Irvine, Firing Miss Daisy, 2021)
Image 4: Bidsquare. (2021) Wedgwood Faıryland Lustre Nızamı Pattern Daventry Bowl. taken from Bidsquare: https://www.bidsquare.com/online-auctions/whitleys-auctioneers/wedgwood-fairyland-lustre-nizami-pattern-daventry-bowl-1609574 on September 15, 2021.
Image 5: Madelena. (no date). Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre Candlemas vase. taken from Madelena: https://madelena.com/media5/wedgwood-fairyland-lustre-20267.html on September 2, 2021.
Image 6 a: Tennansts Auctioneers. (2018) A Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre Firbolgs I and Thumbelina Motifs. taken from Tennansts Auctioneers : https://bid.tennants.co.uk/m/lot-details/index/catalog/63/lot/32088?url=%2Fm%2Fview-auctions%2Fcatalog%2Fid%2F63%3Fcat%3D186 on September 5, 2021.
Image 6 b: Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts WMODA. (2018) Daisy’s Dark Side: taken from https://www.wmoda.com/daisys-dark-side/ on September 15, 2021.
Image 7a: Kendrick, L. (no date). Fairyland Fantasy. taken from Doyle, Furniture&Dekprative Arts: https://doyle.com/specialists/leigh-kendrick/stories/fairyland-fantasy on July 1, 2021
Image 7b: Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts. (2018, October 15). Daisy’s Dark Side. taken from Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts: https://www.wmoda.com/daisys-dark-side/ on June 15, 2021.
Image 8a: Bada Collection.(no date) Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre Bowl. taken from https://www.bada.org/object/wedgwood-fairyland-lustre-bowl-1 on September, 2021.
Image 8b: (Irvine, Firing Miss Daisy, 2021)
Image 9: (Irvine, Firing Miss Daisy, 2021)
Image 10: (Fontaines, 1975, s. 31)