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What is Jasperware and how to date it?
Jasperware is the form of pottery devised by Josiah Wedgwood which has a stoneware body and can either be white or coloured and comes in a matte finish. As said it was first developed by Josiah Wedgwood and is most famously known in the popular blue and white versions, but it does come in many other colours. The term ‘jasper’ came from the Greek word ‘iaspis’ which itself has oriental origins and is related to the Hebrew word ‘yaspeh’ which stands for an opaque variety of quartz which is usually coloured red, yellow or brown.
It is very difficult in some cases to date Jasperware and the rules below should help you when considering the age on any item of Jasperware that you are considering purchasing.
Firstly, most modern/vintage pieces, those that date from 1908 to the present date are usually marked with Wedgwood, Made in England. But if you find that the marks are separated (Wedgwood Made in England) then the piece has probably made prior to 1970 and if the stamp is altogether then it is post 1970. However, there are some exceptions to this rule for example smaller pieces such as thimbles or miniatures, often these pieces will only carry the stamp Wedgwood England because of their size in comparison to the stamp being used.
Items of Wedgwood which are pre 1908 will be marked Wedgwood England and although it will be separated the stamp will not be uniformed in shape. There will also be letters accompanying the Wedgwood England which will help you to date items produced between 1891 and 1908.
Any items that were produced before 1891 will have a three letter dating code on them and this type of marking ran from about 1860 until 1891. The letters used would represent the month in which the piece was produced, the potter who produced it and the year of its production in this order. For example O stands for 1860, P for 1861 and so on. Although this was not a fool proof system for dating purposes, because sometimes they overlapped and in some cases certain letters may provide you with possible dates for its production.
However, anything that was produced before 1860 will only be marked with Wedgwood and is normally accompanied by the potters marking and a single letter.
About the Author: Allison Thompson a work from home mum now living in Spain who has become interested in Wedgwood China for her home and has produced a site called http://www.wedgwood.householdfacts.info providing information on this subject.