Shell painted with a palmette border

Shell, Wedgwood, Staffordshire, England, 18th century, Black basalt ware.
Courtesy of Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

A comparison between Meissen porcelain and English porcelain reveals a fundamental turning point in the relationship between China and Europe. While Meissen bowed down to the Middle Kingdom, Wedgwood dispensed with all references to the Orient and assumed the styles of European antiquity. However, Jesiah Wedgwood copied proto-industrial mass production from the factories in Jingdezhen – the only way he managed to undermine the Chinese export monopoly.