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Random Acts of Art

Empress Catherine the Great of Russia comes to visit

By Bec Applebee

This Royal visitor will be taking in a view near you. Why?

In 1774 Josiah Wedgwood from Stoke on Trent made an 800 piece Green Frog dinner service for the Empress Catherine ll of Russia. Every single piece was exquisitely hand painted with great skill in mulberry- purple glaze. Each pot and plate represented an important and scenic view from Scotland, Wales, England and Cornwall. Including St Micheal’s Mount, Tintagel Castle and an unknown Cornish Burial mound. It is perhaps one of the rarest and most famous dinner service in Europe. A unique historical tour-guide.

To make this creamware service, Josiah Wedgwood needed raw materials, one being Kaolinite mined in Cornwall. What a journey! From workers hand to workers hand, both men and women. A journey by sea from Cornwall to Liverpool, a canal ride to Stoke on Trent then carried by pack horse to Chelsea in London. Crated and sailed across the sea to Europe and then sledged across the icy tundra to the Palace at St Petersburg Russia. All in time for dinner. From mine workers hands, to the hands of an Empress.

Special thanks to
Danny Callaghan from the Secret Museum Stoke on Trent
Jack Morrison
Kitto Parker for putting up with the chaos in the house