Black Jasperware which Wedgwood first developed in the late 1700s as black basalt. (see below). It is 3 3/4" square.
I also have a similar black piece which is a trinket box. Make an offer for both
Basalt was described by Josiah Wedgwood as:
A fine black Porcelain, having nearly the same Properties as the Basaltes [ie the mineral rock], resisting the Attacks of Acids; being a Touch-stone to Copper, Silver and Gold, and equal in Hardness to Agate or Porphyry
It was the result of his experiments to perfect a fine-grained stoneware suitable for the production of ornamental pieces, one that would complement the Neo-classical styles then coming into vogue. It is probable that Wedgwood was experimenting with a Basalt body by September 1767. He wrote to Bentley,
I am still going on with my tryals, & want much to shew you some of them.
Certainly within 12 months Basalt was generally available. From 1773 Wedgwoods plain black body became universally known as Basaltes. Both ornamental and useful wares were produced in this versatile body and it was used to make virtually anything the public required. Wedgwood placed great confidence in his new material, predicting that Black is Sterling and will last for ever.
Black clay was derived from Carr, an oxide of iron suspended in the water which had flowed through coal seams and mines. This was drained and dried and then sold by the cartload to potters for use in the production of Basalt pottery. Wedgwood made no secret of his recipe for Basalt, which he recorded on page 236 of Common Place Book I. The entry is dated 1777, and reads:
When these ingredients were fired together at a high temperature they vitrified into a fine-textured black body. The distinctive colour of Wedgwoods Basalt, which has a deep purplish-black hue, is due to the high proportion of manganese included in the formula.
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