Rumours of Wedgwood's demise have been greatly exaggerated. In early 2009, the U.K. branch of parent company Waterford Wedgwood hit a rough patch, but with a buyout and global consolidation effort, by the end of March things were looking up. During it all, the luxury tabletop manufacturer has been keeping calm and carrying on. After all, the Wedgwood family motto is Obstantia Discindo: "I overcome all obstacles." The financial uncertainty didn't hamper Wedgwood's 250th birthday celebrations this year. Festivities have included a retrospective exhibit, Wedgwood: Artistry and Innovation, at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum, which was such a success that it’s been extended to the end of 2009. But the real icing on the birthday cake is the new book At Home with Wedgwood: The Art of the Table by Tricia Foley ($40, Clarkson Potter, 2009). Tricia is an American design expert with a slew of books to her credit. As a collector herself, and having spent a year consulting on product development and branding for Wedgwood in London, followed by a stint as president of Wedgwood U.S.A., Tricia is a well-qualified champion of the brand. Senior design editor Margot Austin caught up with Tricia at her New York home to talk tabletop.
style at home: What was the inspiration for this book?
tricia foley: There have been books on Wedgwood before, but nothing like this. I saw a gap between the histories, the Josiah Wedgwood biographies and the legacy behind the products people still treasure. This book is a celebration of style.
s@h: At Home with Wedgwood features table settings from the collections of some notable design personalities like Charlotte Moss, Carolyne Roehm and Thomas O'Brien. How did that treatment for the book materialize?
TF: When I began working on the book project and I mentioned it to friends and associates, a smile would light up their faces. Every time I talked to someone about it, they would have their own Wedgwood story to share. Many of the collectors featured in the book are people I met during my time as a magazine editor [Victoria, House Beautiful, Country Home]. I remembered they had collections, so I called them. Everyone was very enthusiastic about participating. People think of Wedgwood as glamorous and elaborate, but this approach makes it personal and shows readers how many different looks you can achieve with the collection.
Image courtesy of Wedgwood.