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Wedgwood and Women

Guest Speaker Annette Oliver

Published 18th January 2023

We were lucky to welcome Annette Oliver this week, a recent Masters Degree graduate from Oxford University and teacher of Classics at the Read School in Drax.

Annette met with staff and Sixth Formers in Winter Garden for tea and cake, before giving a talk about her Masters research on Josiah Wedgwood.

Belle P (Year III) told us more about the visit.

This Monday we were very lucky to have Mrs Annette Oliver come in and do a talk on Josiah Wedgwood, an advanced businessman from the 18th Century whose success was based on his ability not only to market his pottery but also to seek out talented female designers and potters who knew what upper- and middle-class women wanted.

Mrs Oliver has just completed her Masters Degree and her talk focused mainly on the lives of the women who helped the Wedgwood business become prestigious enough to catch the attention of many upper-class members, including royalty across Europe such as Queen Charlotte and Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. Some of the strategies he used are still common today - such as celebrity endorsement, magazine articles and staging in stores to appeal to the popular and desirable lifestyle of the century.

One of my favourite aspects of the talk was that Mrs Oliver first narrated the lives of each woman and how they helped Josiah Wedgwood and his business and then added her own opinion to the historical facts.

I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to meet her beforehand and hear about why she chose this topic as well as the difficulties she faced during it and how much it paid off once she had completed it.

Wedgwood and Women - Guest Speaker Annette Oliver
Wedgwood and Women - Guest Speaker Annette Oliver
Wedgwood and Women - Guest Speaker Annette Oliver

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