Wedgwood’s Polymetis


Our copy of Polymetis by the Reverend Joseph Spence was published by J. Dodsley of London in 1774. Subtitled An enquiry concerning the agreement between the works of the Roman poets, and the remains of the antient artists: being an attempt to illustrate them mutually from one another, it is beautifully bound in calfskin with red title panels and gold-tooled letters. It was originally purchased as part of the Library’s Foundation Collections in the late 1840s and appears as book no. 24 in our early accessions register (now held in Archives and Collections).

Intriguingly the record notes that “This copy was once in the possession of Josiah Wedgwood”. Wedgwood founded the pottery company that was to bear his name in 1759 and introduced a number of innovations into the ceramics industry. His most famous ranges include Queen’s Ware, Black Basalt Ware, and Jasper Ware, and he was highly influenced by neo-classical design. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1783.

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