learn more about wedgwood jasperware thimbles
Josiah Wedgwood founded Wedgwood at Burslem in 1754. Though factory records show that Wedgwood made thimbles in the late 18th century, it seems that none have survived. With the increase in popularity of thimble collecting, Wedgwood began to produce thimbles again in 1980.
Wedgwood jasperware has been produced since 1774. Jasperware is matt stoneware made from Cornish clay that is coloured throughout the body and has an applied decoration or cameo of a contrasting colour. The most famous jasperware combination is a white cameo design on what has become known as 'Wedgwood blue'. The cameos are hand applied, as they have been since jasperware was first invented.
The first new jasperware thimble produced by Wedgwood in 1980, is the Josiah Wedgwood thimble. It commemorates the 250th anniversary of the birth of Josiah Wedgwood. The thimble is not dated and the edition was limited to 10,000 worldwide - that type of figure is mind-boggling to collectors in 2007! The presentation box has the dates 1730-1980.
From the photos below the unfired cameos (of Queen Elizabeth) are laid out ready on a board for application. You can see the cameos being removed from the mould and placed ready for application on thimbles. Once fired, the cameos will be white and the thimbles blue.
Wedgwood ceased making jasperware thimbles between 1991 and 1999, reintroducing thimblemaking at the Wedgwood Visitor Centre only, from 2000, for visitors to Barlaston to purchase. By 2014 the Visitor Centre was closed altogether.
Jasperware or bisqueware thimbles made before 1990 have 'WEDGWOOD ENGLAND' stamped in two lines into the verso. From 2000 onwards, thimbles were again produced sporadically only at the Visitor Centre and have 'WEDGWOOD MADE IN ENGLAND' stamped in three lines into the verso. To add to the confusion for current Wedgwood thimble collectors, from around 2004, some thimbles are again being marked 'WEDGWOOD ENGLAND'. The thimbles made after 2000 were not official Wedgwood thimbles and were made by demonstrators at the Wedgwood factory's Visitor Centre at Barlaston and were really only samples made for demonstration purposes. They were not available commercially anywhere else and were only available for sale at the Wedgwood shop and the Wedgwood Visitor Centre, which were adjacent to each other at Barlaston.
My aim, when I began collecting Wedgwood thimbles, was to own one of each colour jasperware. I am not a collector interested in having complete sets, but there are many collectors who are and this listing is for those collectors who need to know what thimbles Wedgwood has produced. According to my calculations there are around 400 different thimbles, in all the colour combinations.
When some Wedgwood thimbles were being produced in limited numbers at the Visitor Centre, it was difficult to keep up with all the new designs and colour combinations, because they were not "official" Wedgwood thimbles, rather whatever colours and cameo combinations were being produced in other lines at the factory at the time and were then sold in the Wedgwood Barlaston Visitor Centre only. Traditionally the applied motif was always a white cameo - then any colour seemed to go. These were then finding their way onto eBay. This meant there was no consistency in naming the specific current cameos or jasperware colours. Did it make a mockery of collecting Wedgwood thimbles? New mottled or mixed colours were appearing in items from Wedgwood and thimbles of this mixed colour clay were being made at the Visitor Centre for collectors to purchase.
I have recorded the first colour jasperware thimble that came to my attention, with a new cameo rather than choosing a specific colour to display thimbles in the DEMONSTRATION PURPOSES section.
In the descriptions below, unless specified, the cameo is white.
I was truly blessed to be able to fulfil a long held ambition in July 2007. I was taken to the Wedgwood factory at Barlaston. For further description and photos see A TRIP TO BARLASTON.
It was sad news indeed to read that in this first week of 2009 of the Waterford-Wedgwood group being placed into liquidation. This group includes Royal Doulton, Royal Albert and Rosenthal. Only time will tell what will happen now - especially to the Barlaston factory. THE WEDGWOOD FACTORY IS NO MORE.
The bone china range of Wedgwood thimbles is out of the range of this study.
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For more information on Wedgwood please visit their website
Did you know?? Did you know that Charles Darwin was married to Emma Wedgwood? Do you know any other interesting facts about Wedgwood?
This listing of Wedgwood does not purport to be complete or accurate in all aspects.
Rather it invites comment and contribution to add to our knowledge of these highly desirable, collectable thimbles.
My thanks to the contributors.
Susan Jean Gowan Thimbles of Australia 1998
Marion A Nugent / Wedgwood thimbles. TCI Bulletin, April 1985
Ken Richardson / Thimbles indexed. Canadian Coin News, 21 October 1980
Linda Bennett | Jenny Scharff Bockel | Sue Burt | Sheila C | Sue Christensen | Sarah Constantine | Mary Craft | Joy Earles | Sharon Flynn | Teresa Fowler
Katherine Hannaford | Margaret Hickling | Debby Hoover | Shaun Kahn | Elaine Kingston | Margaret Jackman | Denise Jenkins | Susan John
Chris Jones | Gladys Junge | Nicola Kissane | Doreen Lilley-Pricklepin | Masanori | Karen Page | Heather Pead | Elaine Pollard | Rachel | Bruce Read | Karen Stoner
Val Torrington | Kim Trinder | Kate Twomey | Anita Ulack-Chiarizia | Marta Valencia | Francoise Vidal | Joanna Waciorski-Sew Many Bits | Ann Watson
Welsh Thimble Society | Mave Wiskin | Jenny Yuhas
© Sue Gowan
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DO YOU HAVE ANY ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS POSED?
DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THE THIMBLES NOT PHOTOGRAPHED OR BETTER PHOTOS?
DO YOU KNOW OF ANY OTHER WEGDWOOD THIMBLES?
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