botanic garden History plants everywhere Plants in art Uncategorized

A garden story with frog service and botanic garden poem

Image Taking a train ride for Stoke on Trent I was observing Potteries landscape running by, all green and smooth.It made me happy to recognize English countryside  just as sculptured in Wallace &Gromit our kids liked that much .Yet my thoughts at that moment  were: “If I survive this I shall reward myself  with one Wedgwood cup!”-sorry my friends in Stoke, but at that moment I couldn’t know that all the clay and coal from these green paysage helped writing a garden story I would listen with open mouth… 2012-10-28 08.50.41

I met a young man by the name of J. Wedgwood  who had planted a flower garden adjacent to his pottery.He also had his men wash their hands and faces and change their clothes after working in the clay.(attributed to John Wesley).

I was  happy indeed, when I found this sentence, visiting Wedgwood museum.There were so many potters there around, for centuries, but just one of them, Josiah Wedgwood, succeeded to become the one and only one.  How he did it?  The mentioned sentence explains it all.  I am not saying each gardener will become best potter ever. Yet to make porcelain that different from average, so beautiful, with fantastic patterns, one has to be a good observer,and one has to dare. Young Joshua dared to plant a garden behind his factory, there he could observe the beauty of nature, and to transpose it into porcelain.I state this shows nature is the best teacher keen observer  can have.





Garden themes Joshua Wedgwood revived in porcelain brought his name far away.

One of Wedgwood porcelain masterpieces-Frog service- was commissioned by Empress Catherine in 1773 .Incredible number of 952 pieces of the service were all painted with 1,244 realistic scenes with buildings ,gardens and landscapes from England.As the service was intended for the palace built on a frog marsh a green frog emblem was painted on each piece of the service.

Frog Service Dessert Plate View 947. A View taken near Mr Smith’s House at Battersea looking up The Thames. Designed & engraved by Boydell, 1752. (Possibly a duplicate that was not sent to Russia due to an imperfection).from:

Nature and gardens didn’t bring Joshua Wedgwood only to the queens of England and Russia, there arouse even more important friendship.In 1780 Wedgwood turned to Erasmus Darwin,English physician, natural philosopher, physiologist, inventor and poet, to help him running the business after Wedgwood business partner died.It is no surprise the two became close friends.Why? They both admired botany! While in Etruria Works  fantastic porcelain with scenery from nature, gardens, botany was produced Darwin worked for seven years on  Carolus Linnaeus  latin text coining many English botanic terms in use up to today.

Erasmus Darwin, from:

Erasmus Darwin was not only a scientist and inventor, he was also a poet.His two poems; The Economy of Vegetation and The Loves of the Plants,were published together as The Botanic Garden (1791).The book was an expensive one, but it became a best-seller  It was educating broader public, making botany interesting ,speaking about evolution in nature.

Title page from The Botanic Garden(1791), from:

But the story does not end yet! Joshuas daughter married Erasmus son.Their son was Charles Darwin, father of the evolution theory! Could you believe what arouse from the love of nature , gardens, botany?

Three quarter length portrait of seated boy smiling and looking at the viewer. He has straight mid brown hair, and wears dark clothes with a large frilly white collar. In his lap he holds a pot of flowering plants

The seven-year-old Charles Darwin in 1816.from:

This post was written as a guest post for The Beagle Project, a blog  about Charles Darwin journey ,so inspiring even today.



By Tamara Jare

contemporary figurative painter

12 replies on “A garden story with frog service and botanic garden poem”

A very interesting post. I knew some of these details but it is lovely to have the whole story brought together. I wish factories today would return to the idea of gardens all about them. I feel so sad at the dreariness and bland landscapes of the industrial areas of our city.


Reblogged this on The Beagle Project and commented:
Rounding out the cross-pollination between blogs on opposite sides of the word (how cool is that), I’m excited to share today’s guest post from Tamara in Solvenia who writes My Botanical Garden. She explains how a love of botany brought Darwin’s grandfathers (Josiah Wedgwood and Erasmus Darwin) together and may have led to the meeting of his parents. Botany is just that awesome … Enjoy!


Thanks for the guest blog Tamara – I just reblogged it. I love the connection you found – especially that it seems to have been a love of botany that brought together the scientist and the businessman and led to one of the greatest scientists of all time. Botany is just that great :). – Rob


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