Wellington and Waterloo

IN COMMEMORATIVE CERAMICS

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The Napoleonic Wars spawned a prolific industry in commemorative ceramics and other artefacts.

While manufacturers often sought to mock Napoleon, they also afforded a special place to the Duke of Wellington, depicting him both as the hero of Waterloo and later as a distinguished politician and national leader.

The early nineteenth century saw British potters producing a wide variety of commemorative ceramics. Jugs, bowls, teapots, figures and plaques were all produced to ridicule Napoleon, mourn the death of Nelson, celebrate victories or short-lived peace treaties, and encourage patriotism in the face of threatened invasion.

By the time of Waterloo the British had been fighting the French for over twenty years, firstly in the Revolutionary Wars, and then after the failed Peace of Amiens, in the Napoleonic Wars. The successes of Wellington and his generals in the Peninsula were widely celebrated at the time, but curiously very few pottery commemoratives can be firmly shown to have been made specifically to mark this particular victory.

KEYWORDS: Napoleonic Wars, Waterloo, Potteries, Stoke, Pottery, Ceramic

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