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The Potter's Hand
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In 1774, Josiah Wedgwood, master craftsman possessed with a burning scientific vision, embarks upon the thousand piece Frog Service for Catherine the Great. Josiah's nephew Tom journeys to America to buy clay from the Cherokee for this exquisite china. Tom is caught up in the American rebellion, and falls for a Cherokee woman who will come to play a crucial role in Josiah's late, great creation: the Portland Vase. As the family fortune is made, and Josiah's entrepreneurial brilliance creates an empire that will endure for generations, it is his daughter Sukey, future mother of Charles Darwin, who bears clear-eyed witness.
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A novel of epic scope, rich in warmth, intellect and humanity, The Potter's Hand explores the lives and loves of one of Britain's greatest families, whose travails are both ordinary - births, deaths, marriages, opium addiction, depression - and utterly extraordinary.

About the Author

A. N. Wilson grew up in Staffordshire, where his father was Managing Director of Josiah Wedgwood & Sons. He was educated at Rugby and New College, Oxford. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he holds a prominent position in the world of literature and journalism. He is a prolific and award-winning biographer and celebrated novelist. His most recent novel, Winnie and Wolf, was longlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize. He lives in North London.

Reviews

Wilson offers a sweeping portrait of the European Enlightenment and the foundation of an intellectual dynasty destined to include Charles Darwin and Ralph Vaughn Williams in its ranks... All of this intellectualism is held together by a strong narrative... Behind the calm equipoise of Wedgwood's neoclassical designs, a global storm of ideas and inventions raged. It has a centre in Stoke-on-Trent and an icon in Wedgwood. Wilson brings it all to life. -- Tristram Hunt * Financial Times * The Potter's Hand is a rich and rather wonderful novel... It is one of these books which gives the impression of having matured in the imagination for years. One can't, in a short review, do justice to its abundance. It is a cornucopia of a novel... wide in scope, rich in detail, and deep in understanding. * Scotsman * Full of fascinating historical detail... [A. N. Wilson's] most obvious fictional flourish, which sees a Cherokee transported to the potteries, is as incredible as it is romantic... a rather magnificent achievement. * Daily Mail * This is a splendid story, vividly told. * Economist * A weighty, most satisfying tale * Sunday Times * A. N. Wilson bases his first novel for five years, The Potter's Hand, on the Wedgwood Dynasty, and delivers their extraordinary adventures and achievements in business with customary aplomb. * Bookseller's Choice * Excellent historic fiction based around the family of Josiah Wedgwood in the period between the US revolution and the French revolution. An interesting man in a fascinating period makes for a compelling read. * Bookbag * A generous, beautiful novel * Irish Examiner * A magnificent saga of family life in the Enlightenment * Evening Standard *

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