Skip to main content

The Staffordshire Pottery Manufacturing company 'Wood and Caldwell' 1791-1818

Wood and Caldwell impressed pottery mark 1791-1818
Wood & Caldwell impressed pottery mark 1791-1818

James Caldwell (1759-1838) and Enoch Wood (1759-1840) probably first met, as teenagers, in the mid 1770s when indications are they both worked for Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) and Thomas Bentley (1731-1780).  The young boys, James and Enoch, were the same age and presumably they struck up a good friendship.

Wood and Caldwell impressed pottery mark 1791-1818
Thomas Bentley (1731-1780) and Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795).

Enoch’s father, Aaron Wood (1717–1785), was a potter who was well known for modelling Staffordshire figures in clay, and we can assume that Enoch was happy to follow in his father’s footsteps.

James Caldwell’s father, James Caldwell (1721-1791), was a businessman based in Nantwich where he was referred to as a “draper” buying and selling cloth.

The younger James Caldwell got on well with Josiah Wedgwood and became his protégé.  We can assume that Josiah provided a lot of very helpful guidance to James and became very much his mentor helping him to develop his keen business orientated mind. 

Wood and Caldwell impressed pottery mark 1791-1818
James Caldwell's notebook

James’s notebook from this period records a wide range of topics of learning in addition to copious notes on pottery experiments where James is writing down the results of firing clay with different glazes and different temperatures. 

While James obviously built up a detailed knowledge of making pottery, this was not to be his main career.  In 1777, at the age of 18, James started a new job, working as a clerk for the lawyer John Sparrow (of Bishton Hall), in Newcastle under Lyme.  It should be noted that John Sparrow was also a close associate of Josiah Wedgwood.

Again, James appears to have struck up a good relationship and got on well with John Sparrow such that when his five years of training was completed (1782) he became an attorney and went into partnership with John Sparrow (Sparrow and Caldwell).

In 1784 James married Elizabeth Stamford (1754-1830).  This marriage was an excellent match as James’ diaries, and their letters to each other, indicate a very close loving relationship and one that was to result in seven children.  Elizabeth also brought with her a large fortune. 

Elizabeth Stamford, James Caldwell, Hannah Stamford.
Elizabeth Stamford, James Caldwell, Hannah Stamford.

We can assume that James and Elizabeth met through Josiah Wedgwood.  Elizabeth’s father Thomas Stamford (1712-1787) was an engineer businessman who supplied tools and equipment to Josiah.  Elizabeth was also the niece of Thomas Bentley (1731-1780), who had been Josiah’s business partner.

Josiah Wedgwood died in 1795 and James Caldwell was his executer.  Over the next few years James was involved in helping Josiah’s sons to run the Wedgwood Pottery business.

In 1791 James Caldwell’s father died leaving him a considerable amount of money.  Using his inheritance, and money brought to him in his marriage, James went into a partnership with Enoch Wood (Wood and Caldwell).  In addition to being the same age, James and Enoch also had similar religious beliefs as they were both sympathetic to, if not complete followers of, the Unitarian ideals of the time.

James and Enoch immediately set about building a large factory in Burslem.  This was called the Fountain Place Works and it was here that a wide range of pottery products were produced, including dinner services, jugs and ornamental 'Staffordshire Figures' of various kinds.  Although it was a major enterprise at the time, the firm itself is not so well known amongst modern day collectors of china.  Most of the items produced by the company were not marked, however, jugs and Staffordshire Figures with the impressed mark of 'Wood & Caldwell' do turn up at auctions from time to time. 

Elizabeth Stamford, James Caldwell, Hannah Stamford.

Many people assume that James was not very active in the company however this was not the case.  Without a doubt Enoch Wood ran the day-to-day business but James was certainly involved bringing to the partnership his knowledge of pottery manufacture, his contacts within the pottery industry and also his legal brain. 

James also maintained business relationships with many of the movers and shakers in the local area.  His diaries are full of visits to and from many of the leading families of the time, including the Wedgwoods, Spodes and Davenports.

James is recorded as making occasional visits to London to lobby the government of the day directly in support of the interests of the Staffordshire pottery industry.  In particular, in 1811, James Caldwell and Josiah Spode both spent time in London successfully lobbying the government of Spencer Perceval to stop a proposed tax being placed on the potter manufactures. 

The Staffordshire pottery manufactures were all grateful and the local newspaper reported that, "At a meeting of the manufacturers of earthenware … at the Swan Inn, Hanley, two pieces of plate, of the value of 100 guineas each were unanimously voted to J. Caldwell and J. Spode Esqrs. for their exertions with the minister in procuring an abandonment of the intended tax on earthenware."

Elizabeth Stamford, James Caldwell, Hannah Stamford.
Silver Epergne made in 1799 by the company Matthew Boulton

James was presented with a silver epergne inscribed “James Caldwell of Linley Wood, Esquire from the Potters of Staffordshire, in grateful commemoration of his prompt, zealous, and sincereful service in opposing the Taxation of their manufactures. 1811.” 

 

In 1818, Enoch bought James's share for £27,000 which was a considerable amount of money for the time.  After this Enoch went into business with his sons (Enoch Wood and Sons).  James’ sister-in-law Hannah Stamford also had an interest in the business and she sold out a short while later.

Much information is contained in the book "Wood Family of Burslem" by Frank Falkner" 1912, which also includes some lists of some of the wide range of figures that were produced by the firm, most of them unmarked.

Catchepot

Pot with a hole in the bottom.  Made to take a plant pot.  Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  Weight 392gm and 372gm, 125mm diameter, 100mm high.

Catche pot and saucer

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL.   

Large bust of Tsar Alexander of Russia

On the back is a plaque with an impressed note: ALEXANDER AEt. 35, MOSCOW BURNT EUROPE PRESERVED 1812.  Impressed Wood & Caldwell.  Weight 1258gm, 305mm high.  Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'. 

Large bust of the Duke of Wellington

Impressed on the back with the mark WOOD & CALDWELL. 

botanical dish from a larger service

Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  Weight 306gm, length 315mm. 

Botanical dessert service

This is part of a large service once owned by James Caldwell and passed down in the Caldwell family.  There are no impressed marks on the bottom but it is assumed to have been made by Wood and Caldwell.

Botanical dessert dish set

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL. 

Young boy figure (puti)

Young boy is holding what looks like a cup but it does not have a bottom.  Presumably it had something in it like a small bunch of flowers?  20cm high, 13cm deep, 9cm wide.  Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.

Falstaff figure

The figure of Falstaff is impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  The orginal sword was a short length of china but it was very fragile.  Most of these figures have a replacement sword.  220mm high.

Lion

Impressed WOOD & CALDWELL.  Weight 546gm, 124mm long, 72mm wide, 100mm high.  It should be noted that James Caldwell's crest was a similar lion and this can also be found on his Wedgwood dinner service. 

Lion pair

Both lions impressed WOOD & CALDWELL.  It should be noted that these lions are not a mirror refexion of each other.  James Caldwell's crest was a similar lion and this can also be found on his Wedgwood dinner service. 

Britannia figure

Impressed on the back with the mark WOOD & CALDWELL. 

St George attacking the dragon

Impressed on the back with the mark WOOD & CALDWELL. 

Figure of Peace

This figure was passed down in the Caldwell family and is assumed to have been made by Wood & Caldwell but there is no mark on the bottom.  21cm high, base 7x7cm, weight 450gm.  

Figure of a Triton as a candle stick

Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  23.5cm high.  This example is missing a small metal candle holder that would have sat in the top of the trumpet.

Woman and child (Mary and baby Jesus)

This figure is not marked but is listed in the book on Staffordshire Figures.  Pearlware model of the Virgin and Child c.1800, after the late 17th century model by Lucas Faydherbe, the Madonna seated with the infant Jesus reaching up towards her face, raised on a square faux marble base, 34cm.

Dessert dish with silver under glaze

This dish was part of a dessert service owned by James Caldwell and handed down in the family.  There is no mark but it is assumed to have been made by Wood & Caldwell.  James Caldwell notes in his diary that the company had spent some time developing a silver under glaze.

Large Vase

Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  21cm high, 16cm diameter across the top. 

Vase

Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'. 

Large figure of Sir Anthony Van Dyke

Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.   Figure is missing one arm. Height 55cm.

Large figure of Fortitude

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL.

Blue Candle Stick

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL.   Height 158mm, base diameter 106mm

Large bowl

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL. 

Large bowl

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL. 

Plate

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL. 

Brown mug

Karki brown sort of colour on the outside, cream on the inside.  Various scenes on the side with cherubs playing.  Height 9.6cm, diameter 10.2cm.  Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL.  Also known to exist in blue.

Tankard jug

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL. 

Small jug

This small jug was passed down in the Caldwell family and has a small note underneath saying that it was dug up in the garden at Linley Wood October 1923.  It is quite unusual in that the surface is not shiny and I think is referred to as ‘blue jasper’.  Impressed mark 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  The jug is very small and may have been a toy made for a child.

Small jug underside

Wash bowl and large jug

This large water jug together with a matching washing bowl are both  Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  

Wash bowl and large jug

This large water jug together with a matching washing bowl are both  Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  The bowl is larger than shown in the photo.  The jug sits in the bowl. 

Large water jug

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL. 

Large water jug and bowl

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL.   Image from John Howard Antiques.

Tea pot or coffee pot

Impressed mark ‘WOOD & CALDWELL’.  Height 14cm. 

Jug

Impressed mark 'WOOD & CALDWELL' just visible on the bottom.  Weight 220gm, height 103mm at the handle, width from handle to spout 130mm.

Jug

12cm high, 300gm. Design incorporates 12 putti.  Impressed mark ‘WOOD & CALDWELL’.

Jug

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL. 

Jug

Grape vine around the top. Impressed mark 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  Height approx 11cm, weight approx 280gm.

Jug

Impressed mark 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  Height approx 9cm, weight approx 200gm.

Jug

Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  Weight 200gm, 130mm wide, 95mm high. 

Jug

Impressed 'WOOD & CALDWELL'.  Weight 200gm, 132mm wide, 94mm high. 

Jug

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL.

Jug

Impressed mark WOOD & CALDWELL.