Creativity Amidst Chaos

Wedgwood's Fairyland Lustreware

Daisy Makeig-Jones

First introduced in 1916, Wedgwood’s Fairyland Lustre wares were born from the fertile imagination of Daisy Makeig-Jones (1881 - 1945). Makeig-Jones, a family friend of the Wedgwoods, joined the company’s female painter training program in 1909 and became one of Wedgwood’s designers just a few years later. She created the fantastical Fairyland Lustre line against the grim backdrop of World War I. The line's rainbow hues and charming subject matter of imps, fairies, and other flora and fauna captured the hearts and minds of a war-weary public and helped lift Wedgwood out of an economic slump.

Beyond being beautiful and well-designed, the line was technically innovative thanks to the lustre glazes for which it was named. The iridescent colors were achieved by adding precious metals to the glaze formulae and each pot was fired multiple times, making it a time-consuming and expensive process. Fairyland Lustre remained popular and financially viable for about a decade but the market for it dried up around the time of the Great Depression and the burgeoning Art Deco movement. The line was retired in 1929 and Makeig-Jones followed suit in 1931. Despite a difficult exit from the company, in part due to her inability to change with the times, her legacy at Wedgwood is nevertheless one of great innovation, success, and creativity.