Gaye Blake-Roberts will be coming to speak at the Joan Stacke Graham Lecture on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. Her talk is entitled “Wedgwood Majolica - A Response to Fashion.”

Gaye Blake-Roberts is Director of the Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston, Staffordshire, where she has been Curator since 1979. Under her leadership, the new Wedgwood Museum reopened to the public in October 2008 and won the prestigious Museum of the Year Award in June 2009. Blake-Roberts holds an honorary doctorate from Keele University and is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Arts and The Museums Association. She is currently a Trustee to the Wedgwood Museum, the Spode Museum, and the Raven Mason Trust at Keele University, as well as Deputy Chair of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. Blake-Roberts has published extensively, contributing to catalogues for major exhibitions, scholarly publications, and specialist ceramic books, including Mason’s: The First Two Hundred Years (London: Merrill Holberton Pub, 1997), True Blue: Transfer Printed Earthenware (East Hagbourne: Friends of Blue, 1998), and Wedgwood Jasperware (Oxford: Shire, 2011).

This talk will examine the way in which the Wedgwood Company reacted to the changing tastes in Victorian Britain. Under the guidance of Francis and Godfrey Wedgwood, the company endeavoured to regain its former prestige against a background of increasing competition from other Staffordshire manufacturers. The Wedgwood management carefully observed their competitors best-selling lines and began to emulate some of their products. As Clement Wedgwood took greater responsibility for production, his experiments with new glazes became particularly important, which led the Wedgwood Company to embrace the manufacture of Majolica from 1860. Initially, the company produced a modest selection of pieces covered with extravagantly coloured glazes based on the Victorian love of ornament. They continually developed the range of products and, by 1878, Wedgwood was among the leaders of this taste and fashion.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm. The presentation will begin at 6:00 pm.

RSVP is required.

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early if you would like to have a seat in the main room. Registrants who arrive late will be seated in an overflow viewing area.