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  • Published: 2 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241287903
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

The Radical Potter

Josiah Wedgwood and the Transformation of Britain




A spectacular new biography of the great designer, entrepreneur, abolitionist and beacon of the Industrial Revolution, by the Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Josiah Wedgwood, perhaps the greatest English potter who ever lived, epitomized the best of his age. From his kilns and workshops in Stoke-on-Trent, he revolutionized the production of ceramics in Georgian Britain by marrying technology with design, manufacturing efficiency and retail flair. He transformed the luxury markets not only of London, Liverpool, Bath and Dublin but of America and the world, and helping to usher in a mass consumer society. Tristram Hunt calls him 'the Steve Jobs of the eighteenth century'.

But Wedgwood was radical in his mind and politics as well as in his designs. He campaigned for free trade and religious toleration, read pioneering papers to the Royal Society and was a member of the celebrated Lunar Society of Birmingham. Most significantly, he created the ceramic 'Emancipation Badge', depicting a slave in chains and inscribed 'Am I Not a Man and a Brother?' that became the symbol of the abolitionist movement.

Tristram Hunt's hugely enjoyable new biography, strongly based on Wedgwood's notebooks, letters and the words of his contemporaries, brilliantly captures the energy and originality of Wedgwood and his extraordinary contribution to the transformation of eighteenth-century Britain.

  • Published: 2 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241287903
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

About the author

Tristram Hunt

Tristram Hunt is one of Britain's best known young historians. Since 2010 he has been the MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, and in October 2013 was made Shadow Secretary of State for Education. He is a lecturer in British history at Queen Mary, University of London, and has written numerous series for radio and television. He is also a regular contributor to the Times, Guardian and Observer. His previous books include The English Civil War at First Hand, Building Jerusalem, and The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels, which was published in more than a dozen languages.

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