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Biography (W) - Encylopedia Of Antiques

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WALL, DR. JOHN (1708-1776): One of the founders of the Worcester Porcelain Works in 1751, and his name is closely identified with the first and by far the most important period of the history of that factory.

WALL, WILLIAM GUY (1792-1864?): Born in Dublin, Ireland, and came to New York in 1818: He was a gifted artist and made many drawings of landscapes which were afterwards adopted by Staffordshire potters, notably Stevenson and Clews, as representative American scenes, for use on plates and other ware.

WARE, MASKELL (1776-1855): Maker of the Ware slat-back chairs, which business was continued by his sons.

WAYNE, WILLIAM (1730-?): One of a family of cabinet-makers of Wilmington, Delaware. He was a talented maker of highboys, secretaries, bureaus, etc. in the Chippendale style. Jacob Wayne (1760-?) was an interpreter of the Hepplewhite and Sheraton styles.

WEDGWOOD FAMILY: There were numerous early Wedgwood potters before the time of Josiah, the most famous of the family. Gilbert Wedgwood -was working in Burslem early in the 17th century. A puzzle jug made by John Wedgwood, great uncle of Josiah, is dated 1691. Thomas Wedg' wood who died in 1671, son of Gilbert, and Doctor Thomas, his son, died 1739, were also potters. In 1740 Thomas and John, sons of Aaron, were potters at Burslem. Thomas was Josiah's father.

WEDGWOOD, JOSIAH (1730-1795): He disputes with Palissy the title of "the world's greatest potter." ... In a word, no other potter of modern times has so successfully welded into one harmonious whole, the prose and the poetry of ceramic art." He began business in 1749 with a capital of twenty pounds; in 1754 he formed a partnership with Thomas Whieldon, which continued for five years, and in 1759 began his career alone at Burslem. In 1769 he established the village and works at Etruria, where he became wealthy and famous. With the patient industry of a practical potter, he had the foresight which enabled him to build up an important business which is still carried on by his descendants. During these years he was making white and cream (Queen's) ware, black basalt, red (rosso-antico) ware and Jasper ware. In perfection and fineness, this last led them all. Although Wedgwood was constantly contriving new and improved methods, he patented but one, that of painting in encaustic colors. As a consequence of this practice, his product was copied by nearly all other potters. See WEDGWOOD WARE PART 2.

WEDGWOOD, DR. THOMAS (?-1739): Related to Josiah Wedgwood, himself a distinguished potter. He was the principal potter in Burslem, making salt-glaze and other wares. In 1731, Aaron Wood was one of his apprentices.

WHIELDON, THOMAS (?-1798): One of the most distinguished of Staffordshire potters. He improved the older processes and wrought with them new kinds of ware. His solid agateware, his tortoise-shell and clouded wares have won him fame from both a technical and artistic standpoint. He began business as early as 1740 at Little Fenton. Josiah Spode was one of his apprentices. Josiah Wedgwood was a partner from 1754 to 1759. He was a man of mild and unassuming manners, but he left a permanent impression on the Staffordshire industry. The date of his birth is not known but he was a very aged man at the time of his death.

WHITELOCK, GEORGE (1780-1833): Cabinet-maker of Wilmington, Delaware. Labeled pieces of his work indicate that he was a skillful craftsman.

WHITNEY, ELI (1765-1825): Famous for his invention of the cotton gin in 1794. He was born at Westboro, Massachusetts, and educated at Yale College. While on a plantation in Georgia, he invented his machine for separating the cotton seed from the fiber, which proved to be one of the most important inventions connected with the manufacture of cotton cloth. See COTTON GIN, PART 4.

WILDER, JOSHUA: Hingham, Massachusetts, most prolific maker of extant Grandmother's clocks.

WILL, HENRY: Pewterer of New York after the Revolution. His work is very rare and of a high order of merit.

WILL, JOHN: Pewterer of New York, active from 1751 to 1763.

WILL, WILLIAM (1742-1798): Pewterer of Philadelphia. He made plates, basins, mugs, tea-pots, and spoons. Specimens of his work are very rare.

WILLARD, AARON (1757-1844): Clock-maker and brother of Benjamin. Jr., and Simon, both clock-makers. His shop was located in Roxbury, near that of his brother Simon, and although his clocks do not rank as high in quality as those of his famous brother, next to Simon, Aaron was the most noted of. the Willard family of clock-makers and in a business way he was the most successful. He retired from business in 1823.

WILLARD, AARON JR. (1783-1863): Son of the foregoing. In 1823, he took over his father's business and continued it until 1850, when he retired. He originated the so-called "lyre clock. "

WILLARD, ALEXANDER T. (1774-?): Clock-maker, Ashby, Massachusetts, and a distant cousin of Simon Willard. He made tall clocks, chiefly with wooden works. The cases were usually of pine, sometimes of cherry, and many of these clocks are still useful in recording the passage of time. His brother, Philander, was associated with him for a number of years. Philander made a curious gravity clock still in existence.

WILLARD, BENJAMIN JR. (1740-1803): Clock-maker born at Grafton, Massachusetts, elder brother of Simon and Aaron and the first of the family to take up clock-making. Clocks made by him are marked Grafton (1764), Lexington (1768), or Roxbury (1771). So far as is known he made tall-case clocks only. He died in Baltimore.

WILLARD, SIMON (1753-1848): Born in Grafton, Massachusetts, and the greatest clock-maker of this distinguished family. Just when he began to make clocks is not known, but he removed to Roxbury about 1788, and from that time his name led all the rest in the field of clock-making. His tall clocks were made between 1780 and 1802, and the so-called "banjo" clock was patented in 1801. It is said that he made more than five thousand clocks in his lifetime. The cases were usually made by Henry Willard of Roxbury or Charles Crehore of Dorchester, and the dials by Charles Bullard. The dials on Willard clocks were of wood or of iron painted with several coats, each rubbed down until the surface was like enamel. Willard was proud and sensitive, honest and diligent, but a poor business man. Although his improved timepiece (the banjo clock) was patented, he never protected himself against infringements, and it was not long before every clockmaker was making and selling it. Simon Willard sold his business in 1839 to Elnathan Taber (q.v.) and retired. At the time of his death he left less than five hundred dollars.

WILLARD, SIMON JR. (1795-1874): He began to make clocks with his father and in 1828 he located at 9 Congress Street, Boston, where he remained until 1870. His astronomical regulator was standard time for all railroads in New England. His specialty was watches and chronometers, and although his name appears on the dials of some clocks, he never made them.

WILSON, ROBERT (?-1802): English potter, associated at first with Humphrey Palmer. He introduced chalk into the body of cream ware. which served to whiten it. He made a copy of Wedgwood's copy of the famous Portland Vase with a gray body and cream-colored figures.

WINSLOW, EDWARD (1699-1753): One of the greatest New England silversmiths and a member of a distinguished Colonial family. His work rivals that of Paul Revere, and his activities, aside from his craft, included many civic duties, military and judicial.

WINSLOW, KENELM (1599-1672): Joiner in the Plymouth Colony, who came on the Mayflower, and one of the earliest names of furniture-workers in America.

WISTAR, CASPAR (1695-1752): Wistar was born in Germany and came to this country in 1717. He started the first successful glass-making factory in America in 1739 in New Jersey, with the help of some skillful glass-makers from Europe. The settlement and the glass itself became known as Wistarberg (q.v. PART 3). After his death, his son Richard carried on the business for a while, then turned it over to a manager under whom it was continued until 1780, when the works were closed. The glass made there is among the rarest of American glass.

WOOD, AARON (1718-1785): Staffordshire potter, brother of the elder Ralph Wood. Aaron Wood was one of the first to use cobalt blue on stoneware and he was noted as a block' cutter. This branch of the Wood family continued in the pottery business until well into the 19th century. One authority considers the Wood family to have been the most remarkable family in the history of English pottery.

WOOD, ENOCH (1759-1840): Son of Aaron Wood, and began business for himself in 1784. He took James Caldwell as a partner in 1790, which continued until 1818, at which time his three sons became partners, under the name of Enoch Wood and Sons, which continued until the time of his death, and thereafter until 1846. Enoch Wood was one of the leading potters of his period, and as a modeler he ranks nearly equal to Ralph Wood in the making of Staffordshire figures. The bulk of his work was made for and sent to America. His favorite border was a sea-shell pattern.

WOOD, RALPH (1716-1772): English potter noted for his Staffordshire figures; all known marked examples are in the under-glaze method. He produced the Toby Philpot (Fillpot) jug now in the British Museum, also the well-known "Vicar and Moses." The former was probably the original of a type that was afterwards imitated by all potters. Ralph Wood's work represents the higllest point of achievement in Staffordshire figures.

WOOD, RALPH JR. (1748-1795): He and his father were the first of the Staffordshire potters to impress their names on figure subjects. The son also adopted the practice of numbering his pieces. He was not as distinguished a figure designer as his father.

WREN, SIR CHRISTOPHER (1632-1723): England's greatest architect, whose work marks in many respects the climax of classic style development in England. His indirect influence on interior decoration and furniture design and on the elevation of the popular taste in general can scarcely be overestimated. Together with Daniel Marot he designed and supervised the work at Hampton Court Palace. The great fire of London in 1666 gave him a great opportunity for the exercise of his genius, and from that time for forty years there was hardly an important building in or near London planned without his aid. St. Paul's Cathedral is his masterpiece, and he lies buried in its crypt.