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Abstract

Close inspection of the documentary record reveals that Josiah Wedgwood's "pearlware" was no more than his own version of a ware already being produced as early as 1775 by other Staffordshire potters. Wedgwood introduced a new name, Pearl White, to distinguish his product from that of his competitors, which they called China Glaze. This is an important revision to ceramic chronology because "pearlware" has been considered by most historical archaeologists as a firm 1779 terminus post quem for archaeological deposits. This new knowledge will force a reconsideration of many of the contexts in which so-called pearlware has been found.

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