English Classic Wedgwood Celebrates its 250th Anniversary

"He was the greatest man who ever, in any age or country, applied himself to the important work of uniting art with industry."
               -- Prime Minister William Gladstone on Josiah Wedgwood, 1863

In 2009, Wedgwood will celebrate its 250th anniversary. Wedgwood's remarkable story spans two and a half centuries of discovery, vision, experimentation, industry and exquisite design. From its humble British beginnings to iconic global status, Wedgwood has a rich English classic history.

2009 will also commemorate Wedgwood's glorious history: The magnificent efforts of our intrepid founder Josiah Wedgwood; our illustrious, sometimes royal patrons; the array of designers we have collaborated with; and the craftsmen who still hand press wafer-thin slivers of bas-relief at our home in Stoke-on-Trent. To mark the anniversary Wedgwood has planned a year of exciting events and activities across the globe.

In America, one of Josiah's earliest overseas markets, Wedgwood USA will celebrate this milestone anniversary kicking off with national television exposure via a special segment launch on the Martha Stewart Show featuring the Wedgwood factory reaching 6 million viewers per week. Wedgwood will also be featuring a series of special events designed to touch every Wedgwood consumer including a 250th Anniversary exhibition titled: 250 Years of Wedgwood Innovation & Artistry at the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Museum in Washington, DC displaying keynote Prestige items from celebrities and private collectors spanning from 1759 to the present day. To celebrate the occasion, there will be a special "Gift between Nations" presentation of an exclusive prestige Wedgwood piece by the British Ambassador to a United States dignitary.

In celebration of the genius of Josiah Wedgwood and 250 years of design innovation and excellence, Wedgwood USA will host a Wedgwood Design Competition for the next generation of home designers focusing on candidates from top American design schools to conceptualize and design a tabletop collection that is relevant for today's consumer with the opportunity for the winning design to be launched in the USA.

Wedgwood will also be decorating the famous Lincoln Center Holiday Tree with exclusive Wedgwood ornaments celebrating two milestones: Wedgwood 250 years of Classic Design and Lincoln Center's 50th anniversary celebrating America's largest performing arts center. This exciting celebration of music and dance is one of New York City's favorite holiday traditions, celebrating the rich cultural and artistic diversity found at American's premier performing arts center. For the tenth consecutive year, the event will be broadcast live on WABC-TV, Channel 7, with Good Morning America's Sam Champion and WABC-TV's Sade Baderinwa as the evening's co-hosts.

And paying homage to the long history of Wedgwood, a unique 250th Anniversary Book - At Home with Wedgwood: Art of the Table - by author Tricia Foley will be published featuring nearly 200 pages of lifestyle images of the company's exemplary fashion and innovation over the past 250 years.

Lord Wedgwood will also be touring the world with his own exclusively designed Distinguished House of Wedgwood collection featuring 25 new unprecedented Prestige pieces celebrating the best of Wedgwood's classic style from the last two and a half centuries. Visitors to the events will also be able to have their own purchases signed by Lord Wedgwood for the occasion.

Josiah Wedgwood was an inventor, philanthropist, pioneer and humanitarian - a man who endeavored to change the world. For two and a half centuries the company has grown under Josiah Wedgwood's enduring philosophy. Wedgwood now employs more than 2000 people, distributes to 90 countries in the UK, North America, Western Europe and Japan, all the while holding strong their reputation as purveyors of luxury goods.

A new Wedgwood Museum will be the grand summation of Josiah's brand of vision - here at last is a fitting home for Wedgwood's extraordinary archive. The 30,000 square foot building has been built at Wedgwood's headquarters in Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent and its timely completion will play a vital part in Wedgwood's 250th anniversary.

As home to Wedgwood's extensive archive, many of the exhibits will be going on display for the first time in many years. The new galleries will exhibit 6,000 pottery artifacts, 75,000 manuscripts, 680 extraordinary pattern books along with the results of 10,000 trials conducted by Josiah, all meticulously recorded in the name of ceramic innovation.

This Year of Wedgwood will be a wonderful one and we would love to invite you to join us in celebrating it.

For further details on the 250th Anniversary of Wedgwood please visit www.wedgwoodusa.com.

Wedgwood is a subsidiary of Dublin, Ireland-based Waterford Wedgwood plc. With annual sales of nearly $1 billion, Waterford Wedgwood plc is the world's largest tabletop, gift, crystal, silver and ceramics company. In addition to Wedgwood the Waterford Wedgwood plc family of premium lifestyle brands includes Waterford, Rosenthal and Royal Doulton, Johnson Brothers, Minton, Royal Albert, W-C Designs and exclusive design partnerships with the world's leading designer and lifestyle brands including Versace, Jasper Conran, Vera Wang, Barbara Barry, John Rocha, Marc Jacobs, Robert Mondavi, Emeril and Gordon Ramsay.