The Beeson Collection was begun in 1946 and consists of roughly 1400 pieces, assembled through purchases at auction, from dealers and other collectors, in addition to two major collections. In 1975 the entire collection was donated to the Birmingham Museum of Art (Alabama), where it is exhibited in a special gallery. This collection concentrates mainly on the huge range of wares from the Josiah Wedgwood and Thomas Bentley partnership period (1769-80) and reveals the development of Wedgwood pottery from the red stoneware produced in the 1760s to the work of Emile-Aubert Lessore produced in the 1870s. The book itself is an exposition of the social history of the 18th century and contains detailed descriptions of the wares and manufacturing techniques at the Wedgwood works. Josiah Wedgwood is portrayed as an energetic Renaissance man who made many different types of pottery as well as many technical contributions to the pottery industry and to English society. In his numerous letters to his partner Thomas Bentley, who controlled the London end of the trade, all manner of life is revealed. Rising from modest beginnings Josiah became one of the wealthiest men in England, acquiring en route a wide knowledge of the arts, science, chemistry and physics. Always interested in new inventions, he was one of the many English artists who ushered in neoclassicism; he created Jasper ware to capture the pastel colours used by the architects Adam and James Wyatt, and instituted many innovations in the manufacture of both pottery and porcelain throughout his notable career. This volume contains virtually everything the aspiring collector needs to know about the vast range of wares and designs produced by Wedgwood.