Events celebrate Wedgwood wares April 22-25

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Wedgwood International Seminar celebrates its 60th Seminar and will do so with a conference at the Birmingham (Alabama) Museum of Art which houses the largest public collection of Wedgwood wares outside of England.

For decades it has been the home of the famed Beeson Collection of 18th Century

Eighteenth century Wedgwood Jasperware chimneypiece section. (Submitted photo)

Eighteenth century Wedgwood Jasperware chimneypiece section. (Submitted photo)

Wedgwood, and in 2008, it acquired the equally distinguished Buten Collection that spans more than two centuries of Wedgwood manufacture. Wedgwood from other sources, along with the massive Elizabeth Chellis collection of Wedgwood books and manuscripts in the library, also comprise the BMA’s holdings. The event takes place April 22-25, 2015, and will draw a large number of attendees from several continents.

Featured will be 11 lectures from leading Wedgwood and ceramics scholars as well as  key collectors. BMA senior curator, Dr. Anne Forschler-Tarrasch, the conference co-chairman, will speak on The Swinging Sixties: Wedgwood Studio Potters; Margaret Carney, founder and director of the Dinnerware Museum, on Great Moments in Ceramic History: Wedgwood for Example; and curator emeritus, Lady Lever Art Gallery, England, Robin Emmerson, will present two papers, Wedgwood Jasper Chimney Pieces and Wedgwood in the Empress’s Bedroom.

Ellen Gerth, curator of collections at the Odyssey Marine Exploration, will talk on The Blue China Shipwreck: Staffordshire Ceramics for the US Market; Graham Boettcher, BMA chief curator of America Art, on China Painting on Wedgwood; and Texas A&M English professor, Susan Egenolf, on Expeditionary Wedgwood: The Aesthetic Collapse of Time and Space. Additionally, Wedgwood Society of Washington founder, Adele Barnett, will present Shell-Shock: Centuries of Wedgwood’s Shelly Fancyingj editor and writer, Harwood Johnson, on Wedgwood & Bentley Medallions: Identifying Unknown Subjects; collector Colin Jones on Wedgwood in Australian Public Collections; and collector Sandy Olubas on Wedgwood and Wine: From the Cellar to the Table.
Addressing the audience as well will be Gail Andrews, BMA director, and Anthony Jones, CFO of the Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton firm, headquartered in Barlaston, England.

Wedgwood was founded 256 years ago and is still in operation today. Its UK home is undergoing expansion that includes a new world-class Visitor Center and the renowned Wedgwood Museum.  The four-day conference will also offer a number of other onsite activities ranging from a ceramics conservation laboratory visit to hands-on sessions and soap-making, from the library resources program to access to the thousands of Wedgwood objects on display and in reserves at the BMA.

Attendees will also have the convenience of purchasing Wedgwood wares from

Creamware charger

Wedgwood Creamware portrait charger, 1879. (Submitted photo)

member dealers and the enjoyment of interacting with fellow “Wedgwoodians,” leaders in the field, and new enthusiasts. The lectures, receptions, banquets, lunches, tours, and other activities are all inclusive under the registration fee. The host hotel, the Sheraton Birmingham, is offering a special conference rate. To obtain more information on this milestone seminar, registration, and to make reservations, visit  or email

The Wedgwood International Seminar, founded in 1956, conducted its inaugural gathering in Philadelphia. Since then it has held annual events in major cities around the USA, Canada, the UK, and beyond. These conferences offer the opportunity for Wedgwood enthusiasts the world over to gain expanded insight into the related topics, visit private and public collections, and network in an informal forum.

In addition, WIS members (whether in attendance or not) receive a bound copy of the proceedings. The annual membership fee is $35 per individual or $50 per family (plus $10 for outside US). PayPal payments are accepted for both membership and seminar fees.

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