We are delighted to announce an evening with Tristram Hunt, Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum and one of Britain’s best-known historians.
He joins us to discuss his new book The Radical Potter: Josiah Wedgwood and the Transformation of Britain, a spectacular new biography of Josiah Wedgwood, the pioneering English potter, entrepreneur, and beacon of the early Industrial Revolution – who was also an influential radical campaigner.
There was a period in the late 18th and early 19th century when Wedgwood ware was served on the tables of every inn from Paris to St Petersburg, and every table from Spain to Brazil. From his kilns and workshops in Stoke-on-Trent, he not only revolutionized the production of ceramics in Georgian Britain, marrying technology with design, manufacturing efficiency and retail flair, but also transformed the luxury markets not only of London, Liverpool, Bath and Dublin but of America and the world, helping to usher in a mass consumer society. Tristram Hunt calls him ‘the Steve Jobs of the eighteenth century’.
For the first time, Hunt defines the political radicalism of Wedgwood’s thinking, politics and social innovation. He pioneered new social care and practices for his own factory workers and methods of production, and later in his life campaigned for free trade, religious toleration and the movement to abolish slavery. Famously, Wedgwood created the ceramic ’emancipation badge’, depicting a kneeling slave in chains inscribed with the words ‘Am I Not a Man and a Brother?’ that became the symbol of the movement that was carried in pockets and worn on lapels of abolitionists worldwide.
Join us for a brilliant evening as Tristram guides us through the lesser-known story of Wedgwood’s politics and the transformative impact they had on eighteenth-century Britain.