Darwin Descends from Wedgwood?


What do Josiah Wedgwood and Charles Darwin have in common? A daughter and a mother! Josiah Wedgwood was Charles Darwin’s grandfather! I discovered this interesting tidbit when I attended the UBS Art Gallery opening of “Josiah Wedgwood and His Circle.” The exhibit focuses on the family and friends of Wedgwood, the vertible grandfather of contemporary ceramics (and evolution, apparently). Fortunately for me, the exhibit was around the corner from my office so I spent my lunch hour leisurely strolling through the space. It was while admiring the Wedgwood founder’s incredible cream ware and jasper ware that I came across the name, Charles Darwin. I was lucky enough to spot it since there was no attempt to highlight the connection or draw attention to it. No bold, no italics, no anything … just a line or two signifying Wedgwood’s connection to the man who coined the term, “survival of the fittest”! I rushed over to the curator for confirmation. Lo and behold, the two greats were related!

(above) This Wedgwood pitcher looks like something Charles Darwin would have crafted, doesn’t it?

Grandfather Josiah Wedgwood (left); Grandson Charles Darwin (right). I am sure Grandpa would have been proud of Charles' scientific advances but livid about the unruly facial hair.

Josiah Wedgwood and His Circle on view January 24 – April 18, 2008
At the UBS Art Gallery, 1285 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY