Wedgwood and the Anson Family of Shugborough

29th January 1771 : Josiah Wedgwood to Mr Stewart


‘I was not a little mortified that I could not do myself the honour of waiting upon Mr Anson and you with the good company expected at Shugborough and wrote to Dr Darwin that I had met with a slight hurt which rendered me unable to wear my artificial leg, and thereby confined me at home; but I am now got well and go abroad again though I am not fond of doing so in frosty weather, being not so expert a footman as I have been, and a slip, or accident to my better leg, might lay me up for good and all.’


26th November 1772 : Josiah Wedgwood to Thomas Bentley


‘Dr Darwin tells me that Mr Anson was quite disappointed that I have never called upon him – that his cabinet of medals was all put in due order, and he wanted much to see some of our own medallions, &c. I have therefore sent a boat from Stoke this morning freighted with antiques, and have wrote to the Dr that I will meet him at Mr Anson’s on Saturday.’


Etruria, 3rd December 1772 : Josiah Wedgwood to Thomas Bentley


‘Mr Anson behaved with great politeness to me and admired our things very much. He has given me leave to mould from any of his medals, or anything else he has. He ordered a pair of the best painted vases we have, and I intend sending a pair of 93s we have here at £10 10s – unless you have any you think will do better. The Grecian vases we have are sadly too dear – they do us hurt here whenever we tell the price, so sure as I tell them 10 guineas for a pair of small vases, with a single figure upon each, I am sure of a full stare in the face from them, and either some note of admiration, or absolute silence, and generally everything afterwards is very dear. I left the patterns at Mr Ansons and was to have gone again this week with a moulder but I cannot go ‘till after the 12th. At parting he very politely made me a present of a silver medal of the late Lord Anson and said if he lived ‘till summer he would come and spend a day with me at Etruria, and his sisters will come along with him, but his life is very precarious, I fear he will scarcely survive the winter.’


12th December 1772 : Josiah Wedgwood to Thomas Bentley


I do not yet know what I shall find at Mr Ansons I am afraid medals are the principal part of his collection. But I intend taking a moulder with me there next week when he said he would show me many more things that might suit our purpose – No93 will not do for Mr Anson as he has a pair of that sort in London  but I wish you would send him a pair of any sort you think proper without waiting ‘till I come and direct them to him to be left at the Inn at Heywood.’


26th December 1772 : Josiah Wedgwood to Thomas Bentley


‘Mr Anson is going in a day or two to die in London. He says he would rather die there that at Shugborough. His vases are come here, so he will never see them, and perhaps when he has left Shugborough his sisters may not think proper to take them in – however we will send them today.’


12th April 1773 : Josiah Wedgwood to Thomas Bentley


‘I hear Mr Anson has left Mr Stuart £5,000 – I hope it is true, and Dr James £10,000 – this I am not so much concerned about. He knows how to make money better than Mr Stuart.’




D615/P(A)14 Letters to the 3rd Earl of Lichfield re. works of art from Frank Wedgwood, 1909-1910. All letters are addressed ‘Dear Lord Lichfield’ at Shugborough. They are either signed ‘sincerely’ or ‘very sincerely.’


30th April 1909, Etruria.


Enclosed I send you a list of the pieces of ware you have so kindly lent us. I had them brought here yesterday and they are greatly appreciated. I have marked one as badly chipped, you will remember that we picked it out for this very reason. Thank you again for all your trouble.


Enclosed is a typewritten ‘List of ware loaned to Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd by the Earl of Lichfield’ dated 29th April 1909:


1 Tea saucer green and gold border, painted landscape in centre, Dresden.


2 Dinner plates painted sprays of flowers, osier shape with brown edge, Dresden.


1 Dinner plate scalloped rim with narrow gold border, Dresden (badly chipped).


1 Dinner plate narrow blue lines and painted sprays of flowers, Sevres.


1 Vegetable dish bottom earthenware with brown painted border, Wedgwood.


2nd July 1909, Abbey Lands, Stafford.


I have been away in the north of England for some weeks but getting back to work two days ago found that the bronze medallion of Admiral Anson was finished with so I told them to send it off to you together with a small black medallion and one in pale blue which will show you that we have made use of the bronze, and also how great in the case of the black is the shrinkage in the fire.


The blue shows through the Admiral’s nose when the white is so thin, so I am making another which I hope will not show you a blue-nosed Admiral; but as the rest of the work is very fair I send on the blue medallion as it is.


You asked me the other day about Blue Ferrara basins, jugs, etc. This ware may not be old as we have made it for the last 100 and odd years and as we are turning out a large quantity at present the ware you saw is probably quite cheap and modern. Messrs Heal in Tottenham Court Road show their good taste by selling great quantities of this pattern.


I am just going off to Russia to see the famous Empress Catherine dinner set, the Czar has most kindly agreed to lend us several pieces of the set , I shall hope to show you the pieces I bring back.


28th October 1909, Etruria.


I shall be delighted to come over and talk ‘pots’ with you on Monday if I may and will aim to get to Shugborough between 4 and 5 o’clock. I shall bring we me the four plates, saucer and vegetable dish which you so kindly lent to my firm and I shall be able to tell you how we have made use of the specimens.


15th November 1909, Abbey Lands, Stafford.


Here is the letter, may your efforts on our behalf be successful. The references to George II, Queen Charlotte and Frogmore are I find on pages 371 and 446 Vol I of Miss Meteyard’s Life of Wedgwood, thank you for pointing them out to me. I have you see quoted from 371 and mentioned Frogmore as on page 446, and it certainly adds point to our story: thank you for the idea.


The eminent authority on pottery, or rather 3 for he brought two other friends, could not identify the pieces of ware I brought from Shugborough but tonight old Cook sees Mr John of the Hanley Museum who may be able to tell him something. Also I may be able to quote for the old Wedgwood border in a few days now.


Mr Sidebottom (the eminent authority see supra) has 5 pieces “of the Russian service”, but each view is coloured and not in monochrome. The best one he has lent us to show at Conduit St, and I must explain to you our theory about these pieces.


20th November 1909, Abbey Lands, Stafford.


Had you been at Shugborough I should have been tempted to come over to thank you for the trouble you have taken, which has proved so successful. I return you Sir William Carrington’s letter, thank you for letting me see it, it is I think more gratifying than is his letter to me. I had had a special copy made of his letter for you as I knew it would be of interest to you, and only got your letter when I got home this afternoon.


‘Honour to whom honour is due’, methinks it was your happy idea about Frogmore which wrought upon the royal mind! I have of course written to Sir William thanking him for his letter, expressing my delight, etc, etc.


I am looking forward greatly to going over the exhibition with yourself, and I hope Lady Lichfield, will you let me know when to expect you so that I may not accidentally be away when you come.


I go up to London on Monday, Conduit St will find me for letters. We have a private view on Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th, for which days (as indeed for any other days thereafter) and invitation is even now on its way to you.


28th November 1909, 31 Stanhope Gardens.


Thank you for your letter, I hope yourself and Lady Lichfield will be able to look at the exhibition some day. It need not be on the two private view days, for we are holding the exhibition until December 23rd.


I have written to Etruria as to the sample dessert plate and its price and shall soon be able to quote you for it, and the other dinner pattern. We must not deal with you direct so I will quote you the price a dealer would probably charge. Then when you settle who the chap is to be I suggest you ask him to quote when it is possible you may get a somewhat lower quotation, as all we can do is to add the average retail percentage onto our own known price.


7th December 1909, Conduit St.


I have sent you, by messenger, (to your London address) the old plate and our sample with the pink background., which we have had for some time. We have not quite hit off the tone of colour, but I think you will agree that the imitation is at least colourable. I am able to quote also, namely ; 27/- for the dozen plates of the size sent, and this means that a dessert set of 12 plates and 6 compotiers would cost about £3.10/- through any dealer.


With regards to the other pattern (dinner) I have gone carefully into this and find that the 10” plates could not be supplied at 24/- per dozen which means that a dinner set of 100 pieces would cost between seventeen and eighteen pounds.


Thank you for your letter of December 5th; the labels shall be certainly altered to G instead of C.K. We took of course the old spelling of the catalogue.


It is most interesting that you told me about the landscape pictures, etc., especially the old bridge.


Our exhibition goes on most delightfully; it makes me wish that we had a shop of our own in London where we could adequately show things, but as I think I told you Messrs Powell are succeeding us her and promise to show us satisfactorily. Our difficulty in getting to the public through the shops is a very exasperating one, but i think this exhibition will force a change.


I have not yet heard from the princess of Wales; however her brother who was in yesterday with his wife was full of enthusiasm and has evidentially talked the question over with her.


2nd January 1910, Abbey Lands, Stafford.


Thank you for the further details as to Dall. I am posting up Dr Williamson as to all this. The [training?] out the details as to the views and their authors or authorities is fascinating work. Have you any theory to the source of the three views on the lid of the ice pail? I will have a good photograph made of this lid and send it to you. With regard to the plate of Lady [?Mount] Stephen (?) are you going to let us have that back to work to in our exact reproduction?


12th January 1910, Abbey Lands, Stafford.


Thank you for your letter as to the Dall v Dere question. I will tuen up the copies of the original letters and see if Dere or Dall is spoken if, and futher then, (if not Dall), turn up the original letter.


As to the Russian prices. No1014 was the view of Shugborough we discussed together at the exhibition in the SE corner of the case. It was a fruit dish not an oval bowl. You showed me the picture from which it came on your stairs. One original picture having done duty for three pieces of Russian ware.


The piece was illustrated in the Connoisseur of November but wrongly labelled Kew Gardens.


As to Stonier and Evans prices I have not seen the actual prices though I know all about them. Some are numbered, and in the catalogue list, some are numbered but not in the catalogue.


Clearly they never went to Russia, probably because they were not quite good, as those Mrs Godfrey Wedgwood possesses, given they must have been by Josiah II to friends or taken without his knowledge (for what did he care!!) from Etruria. They were all illustrated in the January (?) or December Connoisseur, in the advertisements, I’ve no doubt Messrs Stonier and Evans made a good thing out of our exhibition.


1st March 1910, Abbey Lands, Stafford.


Let me tell you how far I have got in the ‘Dere, Dall, Dert, Dahl question’ which interests us both. I have been working through the typewritten copies of Josiah’s letters to Bentley, extracts from which have appeared in print, and the following quotation bears upon the point. Josiah is on a journey and writes to Bentley from Sandon (the Dog and Doublet I suppose:


‘December 6th 1773.


I called upon Mr Anson this morning. He says Doll or Dert of Newport has taken all the views in that part of Staffordshire and he dares[sic] say will gladly lend us the drawings as he has made the pictures from them, but if not he will let us copy his(I) paintings in London in February.’ (I) Is this his Dahl’s or Mr Anson’s?


Now I want to turn up the original letter, a matter of some difficulty, and then we may find Dahl or Dall. It is quite clear that Miss Meteyard for Dert has read Dere. Then too I suggest that Mr Anson talked glibly about Dahl, that Josiah felt he ought to know the name but did not, and so called him Doll or Dert quite possible errors of ear. Later on, (much later) I propose if I may to send you typewritten copies of all the extracts mentioning Mr Anson or Shugborough in these letters.


PS. May I give you ‘a little thing of my own’ with extracts from JW’s letters.




D615/P(A)/23 Letters to the 3rd Earl of Lichfield re aspects of political issues of the Anson family from Josiah Clement Wedgwood (aka Josiah Wedgwood IV). Wedgwood approached the Earl in regards to consulting the family archives in connection with an intended book on Staffordshire MPs. All letters are addressed ‘Dear Lord Lichfield’ at Shugborough. They are either signed ‘sincerely’ or ‘very sincerely.’


27th January 1917, 12 Beaufort House, Beaufort Street, Chelsea.


I am sending with this that part of my book in which I have used the letters &c which you so kindly lent me. You might glance at it so as to be sure that I have put in nothing that you would rather I omitted. Your material has made the real value of the book. In a separate parcel I am sending back the originals.


I hope you are as pleased with Wilson’s speech as I am. If we do not get them in B[efore] the war we shall get them as allies after, and knock this isolation nonsense out of them.


2nd February 1917.


Many thanks for your letter. I am so glad you liked my Mss [manuscript] and that you can give me more information about the association of George Anson and Fox about the 1780 election – both most important to me. In the introduction I am doing I hope more justice to the family as the parents of Staffordshire liberalism. There is no hurry for the new material, but send back the Mss rather earlier as I have to consult it occasionally. It was for that reason that I did not send you the latter part (which deals with Ansons but does not use your letters). When I get a chance you shall have it. I am now down to 1865 but I do not somehow feel that it as new and interesting as the misty 18th and 17th centuries.


I will look up my authorities for the prize money; but I suspect my sense of thoro’ dramatic fitness of the start. But how did Thomas Anson get his wide estates and money. I am almost suspecting that I invented that he bought and built Shugboro.’


4th February 1917.


Many thanks for both the new material you offer and for the corrections. The point about the earldom is most interesting, and you are right about the first Lord – a first who could manage to down the enemy deserves special mention just now. I didn’t remember that I had snapped at him; I didn’t mean to. But Lichfield, I think, was always [ileg.] by the minority – so far as one can assume that the freeman really represented the inhabitants. There is no harm in that; the most were partly fools and partly [?knaves] wanting to be bribed. Still the evidence is that they were pro-Anson and anti-Vernon and Gower. All the rest of the information you give me will be embodied – and any more you send along to the next 45 years that I now send. It shall be Shugborough, but as you may have observed my spelling is almost unique. The Sheridan and [?Derby] letters must be found as I have much too little about the VC and your father. However this letter of yours will fill it out. [illeg.] too I have not got enough material for, but of course I spend less research on DNB men.


12th February 1917


I really am absurdly grateful to you for taking so [?live] an interest in this child of mine. If i can only make it as good for the 19th as it is for the 17th and 18th centuries, it will be entirely due to you. One gets tired of being entirely in a world of your own writing. Something that no one will ever read.


I must come and see you sometime to get all the right particulars about the politics of your father. There is something peculiarly glorious about the Anson tradition – Whigs to the end – storm or shine – against their own interests and alone in Staffordshire until they were finally ‘outed’ by that bounder Dyott. I am sorry to use that term of him, but if you had just been reading the account of the 1868 election you would agree. He ended up by thanking the electors in the name of the Queen – a Tory with all the officiousness of his party, to paraphrase Dr Johnson.


28th February [1917], 12 Beaufort House, Beaufort Street, Chelsea (Helen Wedgwood to the 3rd Earl).


My father is laid up with a touch of malaria. He had been hoping every day to feel fit enough to fix up a meeting to go through the papers you have so kindly brought from Shugborough. He will write you himself in a day or two.


13th March 1917


I am more in my right mind and body; so will it suit if I come to look at those documents on Saturday or Sunday. Don’t trouble to write as unless I hear to the contrary I will call at no.38 at 6pm on Saturday.


24th March 1917 (Post Office Telegram to Lichfield, 38 Great Cumberland Place).


Supposed caught German measles, regret cannot come.



7th April 1917, Barlaston Lea.


Yes I am all right again and down here for the [illeg.]. If you find it convenient I will call at 38 Great Cumberland Place about tea time on Tuesday 17th when I shall be back in town.


Do not America and Russia make a difference? I want to talk about many things.


I am afraid that I saw that your brother or uncle died recently. Please accept my sympathy. My youngest brother [Cecil] has just been killed also – leading his Company of the 5th North Staffords in an attack north of Bapaume.


2nd May 1917


I shall look forward to coming round and going thro’ the papers with you. I must get the first earl in somehow, though it is most inconsiderate both of him and you that you never sat in the junior house!


16th May 1917


Ought I to understand that I can keep the papers you so kindly copied out? I return originals herewith. It was awfully good of you to copy them as it has (or may) saved me a great deal of trouble.


I sent some to Mr Beaven to date and he has returned them with notes which you may like to see sometime. He is particularly interested in the list of coalition peers, but the date on the list puzzles him, being Feb 1784, whereas the coalition went out in Dec 1783. It looks as though Fox and North still expected to be soon back in office. Thereof those given as Fox supporters were in reality followers of North.


At present I have to finish off my 1916 William Salt vol on pre-Conquest Staffordshire and cannot get back to my papers.


15th June 1917


I am so penitent and return the documents with 1,000 apologies. I made quite sure I had acknowledged them before, but with 50 letters a day one’s memory now plays false. I am just off to Staffordshire for the weekend and hope you too get away occasionally from this heat.


16th June 1917, Moddershall.


I foolishly left those valuable letters of yours addressed to you in an unregistered envelope. Let me know at once if they have not arrived all right.


I am putting in a special notice of the 2nd Lord and have re-written fully the first Thomas Anson. The others will follow.


12th December 1917, 12 Beaufort House, Beaufort Street, Chelsea, SW3.


Very many thanks for this additional material. At present I am concentrating on 1290-1603 for the Mss and it will be sometime before I will get to the main of the later part.


5th January 1918, Moddershall.


Many thanks for this first information. I shall keep it – well not by me because I shall be out of England for the next six months on adventure – but ready to use when the time comes. Meanwhile the Rev. A.B. Beaven, Greyfriars, Lemington promises to see my first vol thro’ the press. I leave England on Wednesday.


Papers sent to Commander Wedgwood April 30th 1917


1.    Origin of the names “Whig” & “Tory.” Titus Oates Plot, 1678.


2.    T. Hinton to Admiral Lord Anson, Sept 1747 (copy).


3&4.Two sheets of extracts from letters Lady Anson & Thomas Anson, circa 1747-1760.


5.    Earl Ferres to George Anson, MP, Sept 1780 (copy).


6.    C J Fox to George Anson, MP, Dec 1783 (copy).


7.    List of coalition peers, Feb 1784 (copy).


8.    R B Sheridan, MP, to Thomas Anson, MP, July 1797 (copy).


9.    Requisition to Sir R R Lawley, High Sherriff of Staffs, 1797 (this draft is in the handwriting of Thomas Anson, MP).


10.   C J Fox to Thomas Anson, MP, date? (copy).


11.   Papers relating to the ‘Lichfield House Compact’, March 1835.


12.   Extracts Lord Melbourne to Earl of Lichfield, 1835.


13.   Mr T Bass, esq, MP, to Earl of Lichfield, 1840.


14.   Earl of Derby to 2nd Earl of Lichfield and the Earl’s answer to Derby, Jan 1867.


15.   Meeting at Stafford to protest against Mr Gladstone’s House Rule Policy


       2nd Earl of Lichfield on the chair


         Copy of letter from Lord Hartington, May 1886.


Also a large bundle of letters re calling a public meeting in Staffs in 1820. Handed to Commander Wedgwood, April 17th 1917. Returned 2nd May 1917.