Books September 2022
Prince of the pits & pots
A review of The Radical Potter: The Life and Times of Josiah Wedgwood by Tristram Hunt.
To read Tristram Hunt’s delightful new biography of Josiah Wedgwood (1730–95) is to be beamed back to an intellectual environment that, compared with that of our dogmatic and uncompromising twenty-first century, seems a scarcely believable neverland. Imagine, if you can, a time when science and Christian revelation seemed mutually supportive, with the Newtonian universe being perceived as God’s plan. A time when “paternalism” was a positive value rather than a term of opprobrium. A time when a great capitalist could also be a great liberal and feel no conflict between the two creeds. A time when that same great liberal could simultaneously be a great patriot, with a firm belief in “the semi-divine calling of Great Britain.” A time when “mass production” and “craft” were not yet mutually exclusive terms.
It was the dawn of...
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